Cramped Apartments in Hong Kong Shot From Directly Above

“In the middle of last year, The Economist released rankings for the world’s most livable cities, and Hong Kong was found at the top. What many people don’t know, however, is that there is a percentage of Hong Kong residents living in rather horrid conditions.

In an attempt to draw attention to the issue, human rights organization Society for Community Organization recently commissioned a series of photographs showing what a number of unacceptable living spaces look like when viewed from directly overhead.

   According to the SoCO, over 100,000 people live in tiny “cubicle apartments” in the city. These are 40-square-foot living spaces created by dividing already-small apartments into multiple units.

Residents go about their lives in these confined spaces, sleeping on one corner, eating in another, storing their belongings in a third, and perhaps watching a TV that’s found in a fourth.

   SoCO’s wide-angle photographs capture how cramped these spaces really are by showing everything within them in a single frame. The images were likely captured by simply fixing a camera with a wide-angle lens to the ceiling, and then triggering a shot remotely (the photographer cannot be seen in the image).…”

Click here.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

11 Responses to Cramped Apartments in Hong Kong Shot From Directly Above

  1. One of my twitter followers just mentioned there is a QR code tucked in the bottom corner of the image. It brings up a message to send to the Hong Kong authorities to request for speeding up provision of better quality accommodation for those living in cramped conditions.

    I just thought I would pass on her knowledge for you :o)

  2. about forty years ago an elderly friend of mine, went to visit friends in Hong Kong. from the sounds of it, the family lived in a space about this size. even more interesting, they all had to be "out" by a certain time, as the "apartment" was shared by two separate groups of people/families. each had it for twelve hours.

  3. Japan's capsule hotels are now becoming homes to Tokyo's working poor. These spaces are 4x3x7 and accomodate a bed to sleep in. They are stacked one atop another in rows. In Hong Kong cage homes are similar, but without the walls of the capsule hotels. These HK homes are actually metal cages, a bit more spacious and airy than capsules, but generally dirty little squalors.

  4. Obviously, those ARE acceptable homes to those living there. Who would argue otherwise?

    However, it does by comparison make a typical tiny home seem palatial.

  5. I've lived and worked in Hong Kong and I think it's a very safe, clean, cosmopolitan city with a world class feel to nearly everything. Like all wealthy societies, there is a dark underbelly to the shine.

    The city attracts rural workers who migrate in from the poorer provinces in hopes of generating enough revenue for families back home. These people usually end up in the service industry, domestic work while some are even exploited. Since space is a premium on the densely-populated City, rental fees are logically very, very expensive. Most of these poor workers end up living in makeshift shacks on roof tops or in squalid alleys in the older run-down districts. Only a very few receive government assistance. And given the percentage of high-income earners in this City, it's astounding that they could be so sterile about charity and human compassion. But in this City, money trumps human dignity.

    Not everyone in Hong Kong thinks this way but the majority of the people you encounter in every day life worship Mammon. They live to work and work to live so that they could have all the perks, status and trappings of wealth. It's both admirable and tragic at the same time.

    I enjoyed my time there but I couldn't wait to get back to green rural land and clean air.

  6. Last month in Paris a housing charity revealed the case of a tenant who lived for 15 years in a 17-square-feet flat for 330 euros = 390 dollars a month.
    At the same time a single mother was evicted with her son from her 43 square-feet flat (amount of the rent : 200 euros a month)
    It is illegal in France for landlords to rent out apartments that have less than 96 square feet of habitable space, but many continue to flout the law. And many tenants and their families are living in closets.
    On the other side there is a new trend : young, broke people try to rent offices in empty buildings. Short-term leases. Tenants have to follow very strict rules and they have to live in wide, cold and impersonal open spaces, but it' rather inexpensive. For example : 2150 sq ft for 200 euros = 260 dollars – a month.

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