There is only one city
July 1, 2024 11:43 AM   Subscribe

[Image] In a chost on cohost Belarius links us to a high resolution scan he produced of a cross section of Kowloon Walled City from a 1997 book produced by japanese researchers.
posted by signsofrain (15 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
Architect damilee has a video.
posted by poe at 12:32 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Oh very cool, I had literally been wanting to zoom in on this illustration before.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:42 PM on July 1

Glad to see people are enjoying this! I feel the need to emphasize again that this is not a perfect facsimile of the original illustration (for one thing, the binding and page folds introduce imperfections that I have tried my best to repair digitally, and I was only able to do so much to color-correct the raw images). But at least this allows the individual human silhouettes and the captions to be seen clearly.
posted by belarius at 1:42 PM on July 1 [14 favorites]

Thank you! I have always been fascinated by the place.

I love how even though it was demolished 30 years ago, the idea of it seems to just keep coming back, both through people learning about and sharing pictures of the original place, and through its aesthetic being constantly recreated in fiction.

Despite all its practical problems, there's just something about it that people are inherently drawn to; something more organic, more social, more human, than the sterility and order of modern city architecture. There has to be some kind of lesson to be learned there.

I really enjoyed playing Stray (mefi previously), the setting of which draws heavily on Kowloon Walled City, and where you get to explore the place as a cat, which is just a magical combination.
posted by automatronic at 1:43 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]

Unfortunately Japan’s tribute to Kowloon Walled City, Warehouse Kawasaki arcade, closed in 2019.
posted by larrybob at 1:45 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]

In fiction, Shadowrun: Hong Kong features Kowloon as part of the setting. Not demolished in the 90s and persisting into the 2050s.
posted by howbigisthistextfield at 2:41 PM on July 1

Those new to this location be advised it's almost a character in William Gibson's Bridge Trilogy.

Thanks so much for this! Best of the Web!
posted by Rash at 4:18 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

There is a lovely photo book taken just before the walled city was cleared out. It used to be very expensive as it was so rare, but the authors put it back into print and now you can get it direct from them
posted by netd at 4:57 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]

Some of KWC is now a public park (and museum) a pleasant walk down the hill from the Lok Fu subway station
posted by mbo at 7:46 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

In fiction, Shadowrun: Hong Kong features Kowloon as part of the setting. Not demolished in the 90s and persisting into the 2050s.

Not true! "The original Walled City began over 120 years ago, though there was a substantial gap from roughly 2000 to 2040 when the Walled City was torn down." [source]

(Also Kowloon/Kowloon City is just an area of Hong Kong which is very much still there, Kowloon Walled City is the name of the now-torn-down enclave!)
posted by Dysk at 9:10 PM on July 1

Establishing shots of KWC in the 1988 van Damme film "Bloodsport."
posted by Rash at 3:33 PM on July 2

There's a (pretty good) manga called Kowloon Generic Romance set in an alternate world's KWC.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]

There's an epic English language graphic novel as baroque and detailed as its setting: acrobats, murder, kidnapping, BDSM, flipping through time. Writer Anne Opotowsky and a gaggle of artists have created the Walled City Trilogy, comprising
  • volume 1: HIS DREAM OF THE SKYLAND. Illustrators Amber Ma and Aya Morton, letterer Nathan Morton
  • volume 2: NOCTURNE. Illustrator Angie Hoffmeister, letterer Oswin Tickler
  • volume 3: LISTENING TO THE HUNDRED FOLD NOTES OF THE AVOWED NIGHTINGALES. Illustrator Amber Ma, letterer Oswin Tickle
The first two are available for purchase in very large format paperbacks (and French translations). I’m impatiently awaiting the third.On-screen captioned video trailers for all three on their site
posted by Jesse the K at 2:59 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]

Mod note: This post has been added to the sidebar and Best Of blog!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 5:18 AM on July 5

I wonder, has anyone made a digital version, from Minecraft or some other engine?
posted by rebent at 9:01 AM on July 5

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