Saturday, September 4, 2010

Abandoned cities of the world

 Kowloon Walled City was a loophole, a glitch never meant to exist. It grew organically devoid of building codes and largely absent of legal oversight, a kind of organic tent city times one thousand. As it grew without rules some areas were cut off entirely from natural light and air, crime ebbed and flowed and everything grew densely packed until the government finally intervened – evacuating the city and demolishing what remained.

 Centralia. This once-thriving town had a mine fire decades ago … but it never went out. Warning signs that something was still wrong included: smoking highways, heated underwater gas tanks and person-swallowing sinkholes. Over time most of the town’s residents have moved on though a few insist on staying despite the slowly-spreading and still-burning fire that creeps below.

 Hashima is one of the most remarkable of a series of hundreds of deserted Japanese islands. Once a thriving coal-mining city its population density grew to be the highest on the planet, with workers crammed vertically in ever-growing buildings and walked daily through ever-narrowing streets. Following a drop in coal production the entirely island amazingly shut down though most of its structures still stand. Currently the island is being renovated to create safe tourist paths through the rubble and tilting buildings but for now daring (and illegal) exploration is possible only by hiring a willing private boat driver to take a look.
The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island's most notable features are the abandoned concrete buildings and the sea wall surrounding it. It has been administered as part of Nagasaki, Nagasaki since 2005; it had previously been administered by the former town of Takashima.
more to come

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