Terrifying, first-person photos show the claustrophobic conditions inside Hong Kong's 'coffin cubicles'
Sarah JacobsOct 21, 2017, 19:12 IST
Hong Kong is in the midst of a housing crisis. As prices begin to rise and the city grows denser, some have resorted to living in the smallest of spaces.
Since 2012, photographer Benny Lam has been documenting the housing situation in Hong Kong by focusing his camera on what have become known as "coffin homes" or "coffin cubicles." Some of these homes are as small as 20 square feet, and most have no windows. Diseases can easily spread among the more than 200,000 people that live in the tight quarters of these homes.
With help from the Society for Community Organization, which fights for human rights in Hong Kong, Lam has been able to exhibit his work and help spread the word about these dangerous living conditions. See some of this photos below.
Hong Kong has announced plans to build more affordable homes over the next decade, adding 280,000 public homes and 180,000 private homes by 2027.
For some of the unemployed elderly, this type of home is their only option.
These small homes have become alternatives for recent college graduates and for the elderly who may be on a tight budget.
There is very little ventilation in many of these cubicles.
According to the South China Morning Post, bed bug infestations happen frequently.
Communal bathrooms are available to tenants.
Rent typically starts around $180 a month.
Some tenants must climb ladders to get into their small homes.
"Due to the limited space, bronchitis is quite common. Some sub-divided units are built without windows, so the air flow is not good for health," Gordon
Chick Kui Wai, a community organizer at the Society for Community Organization, told Business Insider.
These spaces are not hygienic.
These spaces can only fit one person, which has forced some families to separate.
Hong Kong does not have much land that is suitable for development, and the city is getting denser.
His work was recently recognized by Prix Pictet, a photography award that highlights work documenting environmental sustainability issues.