At one time, one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, Kowloon, was a walled city within Hong Kong. It was unregulated by the then-ruling British authorities, who reluctantly allowed it as the only Chinese settlement. It was a no man’s land because of this; run by the Chinese mafia and filled with brothels, sweat shops, illegal hospitals, and trashy eateries.
Originally, Kowloon was built as a watchpost for guards who would protect the area from pirates. But as the population grew–from 10,000 in 1971 to a staggering 50,000 in 1990–attempts were made by the government to evict the squatters living in the city. In 1992, the governent succeded in evicting the population and, in 1993, the 15 story tall block of buildings was torn down. Today, a park with tennis courts covers the area.
To see a detailed timeline of the population explosion in Kowloon, see archidose.org
Below you will find a highly detailed cross section of the city, drawn by a Japanese team, just before it was torn down. They were obviously having fun drawing and added many hidden gems of city life. See the image full size by clicking the image or clicking here.
Here is a 4 part German series about the city, filmed in 1990.