Behind Hong Kong’s glittery facade is a poor underbelly where more than 220,000 people live in cramped subdivided flats, bed spaces and cage homes.
Hong Kong, a bustling city of nearly 7.5 million, is famous for its expensive property market, considered the least affordable in the world. For some 220,000 people, home is in the city’s more than 110,000 subdivided units. These shoebox dwellings — units created out of existing flats, usually in old tenement buildings – are well known for their poor, cramped conditions.
Plenty of land, but not for housing
For many years, Hong Kong’s housing crisis has been put down to a shortage of land, sparking a debate over sites that can be freed up for homes and the land reserves amassed by the city’s major developers. About 25 per cent of Hong Kong’s total land area of 1,110 square kilometres (430 square miles) has been developed. The remaining areas are in a relatively natural state, most of them country parks or protected areas.