From “Den of Iniquity” to “The Internet’s Favourite Cyberpunk Slum”: The Kowloon Walled City 20 Years On

The Kowloon Walled City, before its demolition in 1993, is widely acknowledged to have been the most densely populated place on earth: over 35,000 people living in 300 interconnected high-rise buildings crammed into a single Hong Kong city block. Built without con- tributions from architects or engineers – and without government oversight – the Walled City was dismissed as a “den of iniquity” where drugs, prostitution, and other vices circulated. However since its demolition the Walled City is better known now than when it existed, having influenced a generation of architects, designers, writers, artists and others, prompting the website Motherboard to christen it “the Internet’s favorite cyber- punk slum”. Greg Girard and Ian Lambot’s new book, City of Darkness Revisited, updates the story of the Walled City, as first revealed in photographs and text in their 1993 book City of Darkness, and examines its unexpected influence in the 20 years since its demolition.

Reception follows to launch the Constructing Asian Infrastructures: Politics, Poetics, Plans Series.

Please RSVP here:

Greg Girard is a Canadian photographer currently living in Vancouver, Canada whose work has examined the social and physical transformations in Asia’s largest cities for more than three decades.

Tong Lam (PhD, University of Chicago) is a professor of history at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on empire, nation, and urban space. He is also a multimedia visual artist with ongoing photographic and documentary film projects.


Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library


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