Kowloon Walled City
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Basic Information

The Kowloon Walled City was, essentially, a modern, Chinese version of a rookery - a high rise slum on the outskirts of Hong Kong, composed both of planned buildings and additional, illicit construction.

Built on the footprint of an abandoned Chinese fort on the Kowloon Peninsula, the area was lightly regulated - if at all - by the British colonial government and moved swiftly from squatter camp to slum. Limited policing lead to a great deal of unplanned construction work, which lead to legitimately constructed tower blocks being essentially joined together by a mass of jerry-built additions to form a sort of accidental megastructure. Amenities were frequently installed in a sub-standard manner (where they existed at all) and infilling caused problems with heating, ventilation and even daylight - to the extent that some "streets" were more like corridors at ground level and required electric lighting at all times because sunlight never reached the ground. During the demolition of the area in 1993 it was estimated that 33,000 residents were evicted from its 2.6 hectare footprint. The site of the walled city is now a public park.

With government essentially absent, the walled city was a haven for all forms of black and grey market activity, from unlicenced medical practices to drug dealing and prostitution. Unsurprisingly the place was also a stronghold for the triads.

For reference the "walled" part of the name referred to the walls of the original fort, which continued to define the boundaries of the area long after they had been demolished.



Game and Story Use

  • Given that the walled city was demolished and turned into a public park in 1993-1994, it's no longer available as a setting (unless you like a historic game), but similar (albiet usually less impressive) structures tend to crop up anywhere than planning laws aren't viguorously enforced and it could easily rise from the dead.
    • It's very Cyberpunk for example.
    • A game set during the demolition - perhaps trying to dig out the last inhabitants or capture arms and drugs from the triads to stop them being evacuated to other parts of the city.
    • In some genres, it might still exist in some form. Perhaps as a literal "ghost town", or as a larger and more sessile mythago.
  • The city, or its expys, do seem like an ideal gaming environment - huge, lawless and labyrinthine.
    • PCs might engage in commando raids against the resident factions, or hide from police in the labyrinth.
    • This would be the obvious place to buy - or sell - illegal goods.
    • Hunting monsters in such a crowded environment might be … interesting.
    • And it would also make a useful refuge for "monsters" - such as escaped transgenics in the right sort of campaign.
    • The genius loci of a place like this could be complicated to work with, especially if it takes a dislike to you.
      • Equally, the genius of Hong-Kong itself could regard something like the walled city as a cancer… which could lead to all kinds of complications.
        • And cancers have this nasty habit of returning…
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