City of Darkness

Claimed by both China and Britain but administered by neither, Kowloon Walled City survived as a legal no-man’s-land for nearly 100 years. Through a continual process of demolition and rebuilding – with never an architect in sight – individual buildings gradually homogenized into a single city block. Only at street level did the old grid of public alleyways still exist, but hemmed in and built over: dark, dirty and squalid. Refuse was rarely collected and safe drinking water was supplied by just eight standpipes, only one of which lay within the City’s boundaries. And yet, despite these severe limitations, the City became home to some 35,000 inhabitants, a thriving community complete with its own shops, schools, factories and even clinics. City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City explains how the City came about and how, under the most extraordinary of circumstances, it thrived and endured.

This edition is currently out of print. Please visit for information of the all-new edition, due for publication in September 2014.

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