Photographer Benny Lam, in associated with the Society for Community Organisation, brings us this insight into the claustrophobic ‘shoebox’ apartments that are the only affordable living spaces for as many as 280,000 Hong Kong families.
South China Morning Post:
The high number was calculated by the Platform Concerning Subdivided Flats and Relevant Issues in Hong Kong, a group formed in March by academics and social workers.
In October and November, the group sent more than 200 college students to inspect 4,045 flats in buildings older than 30 years in six districts, including Western, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po and Tai Kok Tsui.
It found that 42 per cent, or 1,639, were subdivided into as many as 10 rooms. The average was 4.3 units.
Using that percentage, the group deduced that there could be 280,000 subdivided units in the 16,000 old Hong Kong buildings – a conservative estimate according to educator Lai Kin-kwok, because the group assumed each block has only 10 flats.
They also found the monthly rent for some of these flats was HK$27 per square foot in October, higher than the average HK$22.20 for 85 private housing developments recorded by Centaline Property that month.
Less than 7 percent of land in Hong Kong is designated for residential use and demand for public housing is exceedingly high. Hong Kong has one of the highest population densities in the world, with 6,936 people per square kilometre (though metropolitan Shanghai isn’t far behind at 6,845 people per km²). Oxfam estimates that at least 10 percent of the city’s population live below the poverty line.
[Via: Hong Wrong]