21 apr. 2020
15 aug. 2018
When houses are the size of parking spaces.
Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.
Tens of thousands of Hongkongers are living in spaces that range from 75 to 140 square feet. To put that in perspective, the average parking space in the US is about 150 square feet. And in the most extreme cases, Hongkongers have resorted to homes the size of a coffin.
I spent some time exploring the living situation in Hong Kong to find out why housing has become so expensive and spaces so tight.
To understand how Hong Kong’s housing market turned out this way and see how it’s affecting people’s lives, watch the final episode of Borders Hong Kong.
Vox Borders is an international documentary series by Emmy-nominated producer Johnny Harris exploring life at the edge of nations. For more, visit vox.com/borders.
23 aug. 2016
Cage Dwellers (2010): Despite its wealth, Hong Kong is leaving its poor to rot in squalid conditions. With one toilet per floor and just a few square feet to their name, thousands of cage dwellers live no better than animals.
For similar stories, see:
The Horrible Plight of Hong Kong’s Poor
The Gap Between Rich and Poor is Only Getting Wider
Why are the UK’s poor getting poorer?
“Many can’t afford three meals a day or even water, the rent is not even cheap!” says human rights activist Sze Lai. She introduces us to 79-year-old Dai, who has spent 30 years in a cage. Ten other men share his room. Piled up to the ceiling, their cages would look shocking in a zoo. A chief worry is hygiene. 8-year-old Jessica lives with her mother in a cubicle too small to let a grown man stand. She points to the only toilet on their floor: “I hate it. People above throw dead rats down here”. Although the need for public housing is dire, nothing is being done to eradicate cage dwelling. With only half of the government elected by universal suffrage, the poor just don’t have a voice.
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