Think about all the times you’ve complained about the things you don’t have in your life. Now imagine living in a city that’s so overcrowded that people have to resort to living in coffin cubicles. For those living in Hong Kong’s poverty-stricken communities, the only alternative to ending up in the streets involves these depressing, claustrophobic living arrangements.
Apparently, the photographer is a bit claustrophobic, and you’d probably feel the same way too if you had to live inside of a compact apartment like this one. Fortunately, he was only doing research, but for some Hong Kong residents, this isn’t a choice that they can make, but rather a way of life.
Then again, the view probably wouldn’t be very pleasant in these illegally subdivided apartments that many residents move into in order to avoid winding up homeless on the streets. But it makes looking on the bright side virtually impossible, and a bit scary.
It’s enough to give anyone a panic attack with no way for daylight to come in, stuffy air, and no room to stretch out or even walk. These cubicles should be designated uninhabitable by most standards, but most folks simply can’t afford to live on the glittering side of Hong Kong.
As the wealth increases, so does the property value, which make the housing situation worse for those who can’t afford adequate living. In fact, 200,000 people in Hong Kong are currently living in coffin cubicles, and National Geographic photographer Benny Lam wanted to see what it was like.
It definitely makes one feel grateful to have the home they have. In fact, living in your car might seem like a Hilton compared to this alternative. So, when Lam came home to one of these 15-square foot coffins, he actually broke down emotionally.
There are 7.5 million people living in Hong Kong and no space to build suitable dwellings, so folks simply settle for these confined homes, which he claims are illegally divided by the property owners to make a quick buck. But living like this should never feel normal, according to Lam.
The sub-divided units measure about 6′ x2.5′ after the space is modified to accommodate 20 beds. For those unfortunate enough to call these cubicles home, they have to pay $250 USD a month because that’s all they can afford.
There’s also so much clutter as a result of lack of shelves and space that it’s enough to drive one insane. But then again, if you look closely, you’ll notice that everything in that mess is really essential to the well-being of the person living in a cubicle.