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Kickstarter campaign for walled city book

I always vaguely thought that Kickstarter was a good idea but the sort of good idea that other people would take up.

I always vaguely thought that Kickstarter was a good idea but the sort of good idea that other people would take up. I thought of people pledging the odd thousand pounds for a playground somewhere. But then the Kickstarter campaign was launched for an architecture book that I know will be fabulous – and of course I signed up. And along the way realised how Kickstarter really works.

The book is City of Darkness Revisited by Greg Girard and Ian Lambot. The pair photographed the walled city in Kowloon, Hong Kong a few years before it was demolished two decades ago, and published a really good book called – big surprise – City of Darkness. This looked at the city of 14-storey buildings, the densest place on earth, designed entirely without architects. Despite all this, it functioned and every type of activity went on there, from commercial food preparation to dentistry.

It was an insight into a way of living that few could imagine, that was dirty and crowded and dark but that somehow worked – and that was, by the time the pair visited, far less dangerous than popularly imagined.

Now they have gone back to their original photographs and are, of course, printing them with improved techniques. But they also have new interviews with people who lived there, a more in-depth exploration of the legal framework that allowed it to happen, and a look at the sometimes surprising legacy – would you believe, a video arcade?

And Kickstarter? Well, it’s just really easy and sensible. There are a range of options, of which the most popular involves simply buying a copy of the book. You don’t even pay for it until it is published so you are just pre-ordering. It’s just like pre-ordering on (oh, the dreaded word) Amazon. Why not give it a go?

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