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40 foot-square apartments in Hong Kong – extreme communal living.

Posted in Home & Decor

Hong Kong Apartment Life
Hong Kong Apartment Life

When I was looking for somewhere to live in NY I was staggered by the size of the apartments that I viewed. London was bad enough – but here you apparently had to stand up to pee, there was no kitchen – if you didn’t count a double hot plate, the bedroom was a tiny slip of a space, and forget closets.

My friend Carla said to me: “Now listen Miss Sue, I know you are going to try and save money … but get yourself somewhere fabulous to live, you are going to need it.” And after 30 viewings I did – a light, bright, big apartment in an uncool spot behind the Lincoln Centre. It was right on the West Side highway and cost a bomb but I didn’t care – the traffic sounded like the sea and I even had a little balcony. Carla was right – it was my sanctuary

Those horrors in NYC paled into significance when I saw this photo series of unbelievably cramped apartments in Hong Kong. Which was exactly the reaction the human rights organization Society for Community Organization (SoCo) was hoping for when they commissioned the project.

The Kids Sleep on the Top Bunk
The Kids Sleep on the Top Bunk

In an effort to raise concerns about the growing problem, SoCo recently commissioned a series of photographs showing what these unacceptable living spaces look like when viewed from directly overhead. Each wide-angle photograph highlights individuals and families, along with their belongings, surviving in extreme conditions

According to SoCO, over 100,000 people live in tiny “cubicle apartments” in HK. 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 (found) TV in the fourth. Ablutions are done in public restrooms or shared bathrooms.

HongKongApts3It’s ironic because in 2012 The Economist magazine ranked Hong Kong as one of the world’s most livable cities. They obviously didn’t visit any of these folks.


via [PetaPixel]

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  1. Interesting photos and post! Your apartment in NY sounds lovely. I like the description of the traffic sounding like the sea! 🙂

    April 8, 2013
    • It was lovely – my sanctuary in a strange and exhausting time!

      April 10, 2013
  2. silvia

    This is what I call a dive into reality. It helps a lot to reassign real value to our microworlds. I will never complain again about my flat dimensions.

    March 10, 2013

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