Feb 22, 2013

Claustrophobic images of Hong Kong show how slum families squeeze their lives into the tiniest apartments

By on Friday, February 22, 2013

They are barely bigger than a toilet cubicle.
Yet these depressingly cramped spaces serve as a kitchen, living room, dining room, bedroom, pantry and everything in between for their cooped-up inhabitants.
Those unfortunate enough to live in these urban slums range from the elderly and unemployed to low-income families and singletons. 

Like battery hens: A family of four tries to get on with everyday life despite living in a room where there is barely space to move in the urban slums of Hong Kong

No room to swing a cat: An elderly gentleman writes a letter completely surrounded by his life's possessions. It's not clear from the angle of this image where he sleeps or how he gets in and out

These bird's-eye images have been taken by the Hong Kong-based Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) in a bid to document the plight of the city's most underprivileged people.
With a land mass of 1,104sq km (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
As rent is so high - around HKD$90 (£8) per square foot a month - and the waiting list for public housing so long, many are forced to live in inconceivably small spaces to survive.

In one picture, a family-four have to share a double bed which barely leaves them room to move. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling in shelves piled high with food, clothes, toiletries and all manner of daily essentials.
On the top bunk, two youngsters, one of them asleep from exhaustion, lie next to a rucksack, school paraphernalia and a desk fan. Two others below do their best to carry on with their daily routine even though they can just about turn around.

Hemmed in: A man takes a nap on his bed which fills most of the tiny 4ft x 7ft room. These bird's-eye images have been taken by a social group documenting the plight of the Hong Kong's most underprivileged people

Dinner is served... in the bedroom: Three people have been forced to share this closet-like space because rent is so high and public housing waiting lists so long

Utility room: A man washes his clothes while sitting on his bed next to his 'kitchen'. Hundreds of thousands of people still live in caged homes like this in Hong Kong

Pile it high: A woman sits in the only available space in her room. Campaign groups say many Hong Kong residents are being neglected by the city's decision-makers

Life of grime: The Society for Community Organization has released these images to 'promote respect for people's rights and equality for all members of society'

No standard of living: A man tucks into a takeaway as the walls of his room flake off around him. He has no proper bed to speak of


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