Kowloon Walled City (no more existing today) has been the higher population density’s city of history.
Situated in the Chinese region of Hong Kong, its story connects it initially with the Song dynasty, which used it in the XI Century as an outpost for the control of salt trade, and then with the Qing dynasty, which since 1842, when Hong Kong island was ceded to UK, decided to improve the pre-existing fortification in order to deprive it from a total control by the British.
After the surrender of Japan in 2nd World War, the walled city (Chinese area enclosed by British areas) hosted several refugee from continental China, on the run from Chinese civil war and in search of British protection. Because of the lack of any government institution and an army corps that safeguarded order and respect of laws, the walled city became a paradise for crime and for drug consumption from the ‘50s to the ‘70s.
Furthermore, during the ‘60s, the population increased considerably because of a building speculation, which lead the constructors to build new overlapping structures. Even though the limitations imposed by the proximity of Kai Tak airport, which forced the buildings not to exceed the 14 floors high, in this period residents reach the figure of 30.000 in just 300 buildings.
Demolished between 1993 and 1994, there is not an official documentation attesting the real number of inhabitants of the city. It’s estimated that in 1990 Kowloon hosted about 50.000 people within an area of two and a half hectares: it means that the density of the city exceeded one million and a half residents per km².