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Kowloon Walled City , by Hawke Productions Ltd.

Until 1994, Hong Kong hosted what was until then the most densely populated enclave in the world: the Walled City of Kowloon. With a total population of 50,000, the place piled its inhabitants in such a small area (6.5 hectares) that its density of population amounted to 1.92 million inhabitants per km2.

"It was a huge monstrosity of buildings", words of Greg Girard, a photographer who spent years documenting Kowloon. Small houses stacked on top of each other, connected by winding stairs hung from cables, with dark corridors where the police did not dare enter. Many homes had no access to open spaces or ventilation, as they were locked in the center of the structure.

In the areas further inland, small businesses emerged, especially food shops, lacking the minimum hygienic conditions, which served restaurants in Hong Kong at very low prices.

The architect Aaron Tan wrote his thesis on Wallet City while it was being demolished. According to Tan, the social machinery of the city worked perfectly. The community faced the adversity and problems generated by agglomeration as one, such as water distribution, carried out through thousands of pipes that writhed around the building. The large amount of energy needed for the pumps to supply the entire circuit was solved by everyone taking turns saving water so it could be shared successfully.

The origin of the city was, in fact, a political anomaly of Hong Kong's colonial history. For decades it was a small Chinese enclave located in British Hong Kong. It was characterized by its uniqueness until its demolition in 1993. In 1994, a park was built on its old location.

More information in   The Wall Street Journal.  

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