Hong Kong’s Housing Cubicles of Shame

Hong Kong is in the midst of a crisis, and it’s one that often has the terms ‘cubicle’ and ‘coffin’ being tossed around in the same sentence.

When you have a bustling hub such as Hong Kong some issues with housing are to be expected. Since the start of the 1950s when Asia’s World City began welcoming influxes of men from China, supply and demand have never really seen eye-to-eye. As a result, modern-day Hong Kong (still getting shelter under China’s umbrella that stops it from being its own country) has only 7% of its land zoned for housing, and with its ranking as the world’s fourth most densely populated region, buying property can cost you upwards of $1,380 (US) for a single square foot. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while Hong Kong hasn’t quite hung curtains up yet in the bottom of the housing barrel it’s scraping it is getting close.

Did you know?

  1. After years of a growing housing shortage being ignored by the government, Hong Kong’s current Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, is facing more pressure to provide affordable housing options.
  2. Hong Kong has approximately 210,000 people on wait lists for public housing. Some of them have been on the lists for years.
  3. This number is double compared to 2006.
  4. In a survey given out by Oxfam Hong Kong, three-quarters of the 500 low-income families taking part state they have been on a wait list for housing for four years or more.
  5. There is no rent control in Hong Kong, nor are there are any regulations regarding how small a residence can be.
  6. Apartments are now being filled with upwards of thirty 16-square-foot (1.49-square-meter) cages for people to live in.
  7. These cages can be rented monthly for $170 to $190 (US).
  8. The Hong Kong government is promising the construction of 280,000 public housing apartments and 180,000 private flats over the next ten years.
  9. Some landlords now offer ‘luxury’ cage homes that look like space pods, but owners still pay up to $580 (US) a month and have to be crammed into a small area with 17 other pods.
  10. According to Hong Kong’s Society for Community Organization (SoCO), over 100,000 currently have inadequate housing in the city.