Shocking New Images Uncover The Tiny 'Coffin Homes' of Hong Kong

| © Benny Lam/SoCO /REX/Shutterstock

Architecture & Design Editor

With the largest number of skyscrapers in the world, Hong Kong may seem like a place where the high-flying glitterati live in style, but the harsh reality for many of the poorest in the region is far from glamorous.

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While the average size of a US apartment is just under 1,000 square feet, many people in Hong Kong are living in extraordinary circumstances, residing in ‘coffin-like’ cubicles or sub-divided flats that are a minuscule 40 square-foot, taking the phase ‘small-space living‘ to a new level.

The Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) set out to show just how bad the housing crisis is in Hong Kong, with photographer Benny Lam taking shocking images of just a few of the 200,000 people who live in these unbelievable conditions – one such man, who was unemployed, was living in a rented apartment of just 28 square feet.

SoCO director Ho Hei-Wah says: “Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world; however, lurking beneath this prosperity is also extreme poverty.

“Hundreds of thousands of people still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, new-arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival.”

While many strive to live in better conditions, they simply can’t afford to, with the average rent rate being around HK$8–10 per square foot per month and some having to wait many years for public housing due to there being so little available in Hong Kong.

SoCO is constantly campaigning for better living standards in the city, and 280,000 new public homes are set to be built by 2027, but in the meantime there’s much work to be done to improve the quality of live for these people.

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