Claustrophobic Hong Kong “Cubicle Apartments” Seen From Above
February 27, 2013
If you’ve seen Wong Kar-Wai’s great Chungking Express or have even stayed in one of the hundreds of hostels in Chungking Mansions, you’ll have an idea what living in Hong Kong is like for some of its most disenfranchised population. The rush and aesthetic grit of movies and gap-year tourism—of “roughing it”—obscures the harsh realities of urban life here. Space is tight, with entire families cramped in oppressively narrow rooms filled to the brim with the very necessary material goods of existence. Nowhere are these conditions more obscene than in the so-called “cubicle apartments”—40 square-foot living spaces that result from the near-infinite subdividing of floor space—that house over 100,000 people in the city, according to the Society for Community Organization (SOCO), a Chinese human rights group.
SOCO has commissioned a photo series to make public the atrocious living spaces that so many people have to endure. Click through to see more.
The images depict the “apartments” from above, casting light on all four corners of the room. Bags, clothes, and electronics line the walls, hiding a small mattress, a tiny fridge, and maybe a TV. Some people dine on take-out while sitting up against the wall, while others prepare dinner on hot plate feet away from their bed. A QR code is placed at the bottom corners that enable you to send a petition to the Hong Kong government.