Answers a question I'd had for a while: what was special about this piece of land that made it effectively lawless?
If Hong Kong was British under treaty then this area is not covered by British control. If the British exercise control then they are saying the treaty is invalid.
The Chinese didn't exercise control because to do so would validate a treaty that they objected to after the fact; that the original colony was seeded in perpertuity . They didn't want to fully disown it because they claimed the whole colony back, not just New Territories.
It was clear by the 1970s that since the Chinese could just cut the water supply off to Hong Kong if they wanted to, that the compromise solution was to pretend that the 99 years New Territories lease treaty had always covered the whole colony and just agree to handover with a two systems one state solution.
Later I learnt that she lived inside the Walled City and her father was an unlicensed dentist. Drug addicts and dealers were so natural to her as she walked pass them everyday on the way back home after school.
20+ years later her dream come true and now she is a specialist. I wonder if the poor living standard inside Walled City somehow has a positive impact on her personality. Anyway, she told me that it was a truely amazing experience to have lived in the City, but she would rather not to if given the choice.
You generally do yes
Oh well, at least we saw it while it was still operational.
I found that extremely high in 1987-89 dollars, but then realised this must be Hong Kong dollars. https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/bank-of-england-spot/histo... gave me an exchange rate of somewhere between 7 and 8 Hong Kong dollars to a US dollar.
I think that still was a considerable sum, around 1990 in China.
If I calculate that correctly, that’s ballpark 100 square feet per inhabitant, and that area included shared space. I would guess the average ‘apartment’ would have about half that, and only the better ones would have windows facing outside.
The story takes place in 1986; you play a young Japanese man in search for the killer of his father. The whole Hong Kong experience especially, still feels very much like (time) travel.
The game is also available on steam (and on console marketplaces AFAIK):
The reason I say I believe the person had to be Chinese is that the city, from what I know, is well known to be hostile to people who don't live in the city, and especially to people who look western and aren't with an escort. It was a very insular place, where even that person doing the runthru was taking a big change being stopped by someone, but probably would've had less hassle than someone who definitely didn't look like they belonged there.
Anyhow - it was a kind of "urbex" video of a place that - at the time - was still a vibrant, if mostly lawless - place of people going about their lives. Quite amazing to watch and see, honestly.
In any case, the closest thing today in Hong Kong to the Walled City is probably Chungking Mansions. Not quite as anarchic or run down, but it does have a family resemblance. I recommend the book Ghetto at the Center of the World: Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong for more about the interesting global mix of people and economics that goes on there.
I think it and the Japanese footage is the only known film from inside?
A good excuse as any to re/watch a classic movie.
He actually refers to an older documentary he made where his team were basically run out of the city by some local triads.
Also IIRC there's a settlement in Alaska or Canada that's just one apartment building, population of 200-something. Personally I wouldn't be able to live there, with everyone knowing who's sleeping with whom.
Secondly, I don't know how enclosed you want the space, but in many European cities, you get everything you need and most of what you want in a rather short walking distance―instead of having to drive. Plus you get sun and fresh air, as opposed to what was there in Kowloon.
I agree with the 200 person complex, that’s too small. It needs to be something big enough and containing enough people that it feels like a small city, not a small school.
I take it you never lived in a large college dorm?
I live in one, it's very convenient, and I could probably avoid ever leaving if I wanted to,* but I don't think it bears much similarity to a leaking, lightless slum. And it couldn't while being managed by laws (specifically, building codes).
* I work from home, but there's plenty of employment to be found within the complex too, including a few office buildings.
I guess I had something like that in mind but minus the subway so things are in a smaller radius.
Remember those weird giant buildings from Sim City 2000? Those were arcologies.
Other examples would be Peach Trees, the mega-skyscraper setting of Judge Dredd, and the Cairo arcology from Deus Ex 2
The OG Kowloon Walled City became itself because of lawlessness and self-sustaining. With law and regulation in place it’s hard to build anything close to it.
Bonus points if they built in a pneumatic delivery tube system for getting food from the restaurants to any of the homes/offices quickly.
Some of these might need to be ground floor so that they can leverage the foot traffic in the neighborhood, but it might be possible to build the lowest few floors in a mall style around a 3-4 story central atrium so that the retail locations can be visible to anyone who walks in, sort of similar to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof that has pharmacies, food, retail, grocery, et c: all visible when you walk inside.
You'll know you've got it when a particularly indoorsy type could live inside the single structure for months to a year without leaving the building.
The big difference between urban villages in the mainland top-tier cities and Kowloon Walled City is exactly that they are managed with laws. Although these villages are considered by middle class people as sketchy areas full of black society (mainland version of triads), in reality it's mostly just migrant workers trying to make a living. Plus, because mainland China, police (and informants) are everywhere, so it's relatively safe compared to the actual sketchy areas in low-tier cities.
The good things about living in an urban village are that there is very cheap food, the people are very friendly and you can walk downstairs to get everything that you need without having to visit a chain store.
The bad thing is that these areas are seen by the government as a necessary evil, and as soon as the surrounding areas get rich enough, they just clear the whole place out. Like, full on demolition bye bye. Because the vast majority of people living in urban villages are migrant workers, they have very few rights in the city (public schooling, healthcare, housing etc), so evicting them is easy.
If you're interested in this kind of living a great blog to follow is Shenzhen Noted: https://shenzhennoted.com/
Of course, you can also find a similar lifestyle in European cities, where most buildings are walking distance from a fruit shop, a kebab joint, a bakery and a pub. North American condo living is a totally different thing because it's dominated by shopping malls and chain stores. Even the working class towers in North America have fast food chains downstairs. The kind of local/community lifestyle we have here is something i really wish i could transport to the North American cities. It's so much better, imo.
It's a silly click/wait game with no substance to it, but it's sort of fascinating to imagine a real building like that.
interesting...i wonder if it could be considered one of the only known “libertarian” type of cities/places?
are there any other known places like this?
did they fair any better?
His piece on the Amish
Somali Customary Law
See also Neutral Moresnet