Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City remained one of the strangest places on Earth. Demolished twenty-one years ago (March 1993 – April 1994) city was empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires, through corridors so dark even police were rumored to be afraid of them. A virtually lawless labyrinth of crime, grime, commerce and hope. After all, the Walled City was a kind of historical accident. A former Qing dynasty fortress, it never fully came under the regulation of the British colonial government in Hong Kong. As a result, its residents were free to build their dwellings as they wished, ignoring safety codes.
Photographer Greg Girard spent years with collaborator Ian Lambot documenting this unique Hong Kong phenomenon.
The area where the Walled City once stood is now Kowloon Walled City Park, adjacent to Carpenter Road Park. The 31,000 m2 (330,000 sq ft) park was completed in August 1995 and handed over to the Urban Council. It was opened officially by Governor Chris Patten a few months later on 22 December.
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