Take a look at life in Hong Kong's 'coffin cubicle' apartments

200,000 people live in these tiny spaces in the most expensive city in which to find shelter

Take a look at life in Hong Kong's 'coffin cubicle' apartments

[Benny Lam]

It goes without saying that Irish urban spaces in general and Dublin in particular are experiencing a housing crisis. But a look through the gallery of images below is a stark reminder that we should not be looking at the urban planners of Hong Kong for any solutions.

According to a Demographia survey released earlier this year, Hong Kong is the most difficult place in the world in which to pay for shelter. It is a place where the median household income is $300,000, but where the average home costs somewhere close to $5.5m.

The massive wealth inequalities in the former British colony have seen thousands of people forced into appalling living conditions in the city’s old districts. A phenomenon of ‘cage homes’, micro units stuffed into subdivided apartments sees a single occupier taking up just 15 square feet. That's the equivalent of 20 aeroplane tray tables.

Also referred to a ‘coffin cubicles’ by the local media, up to 20 of these “double-decker sealed bed spaces” can be stuffed into a 400-square-foot apartment, according to photographer Benny Lam.

In a series of images, Lam captures the living conditions of the residents of these minuscule bedsits, who spend their days working as waiters, security guards, cleaners and delivery men, and their nights crammed into their tiny homes.

Looking to expose the people left in the shadows of the city’s neon-lit prosperity and cosmopolitan success, Lam says: “Hong Kong’s glitter conceals the 200,000 people who struggle and cannot share the city’s social improvements and development.”