Undesirable Living Conditions Among Glass-walled Skyscrapers in Hong Kong

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Vibrant and colourful, Hong Kong is a metropolis situated in the crossroads of Asia. The city flourishes especially well at financial and service industries, and has a per capita GDP of HK$285,146 (2012), according to official data. Being the world’s 9th largest economy, Hong Kong has a real GDP growth at 1.4% (2012) and is backed up by its 3.79-million labour force. Undeniably, Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in Asia. However, according to the Transport and Housing Bureau, the average living space per head is 12.9 sq. metres in 2013, much smaller than other Asian cities like Singapore (25 square metres per head). Many Hong Kongers are living in cramped con ditions. This is mainly due to high property prices and skyrocketing…show more content…
have sprang up all over the city. While these housing options are more likely to be in the price range of low-income families, they are not cheap at all. The rent of a 100-square-feet subdivided flat is often over HK$3000 in urban areas, and even that of a coffin room (typically at 20 square feet) may be over HK$1000. Residing families are likely to spend more than half of their income on rent, which limits their expenditures on food, transport and other spending to a bare minimum. These forms of dwellings exploit the need for affordable housing of low-income families, and are often dangerous and unhygienic. In 2011, a fire in Fa Yuen Street, Mongkok claimed nine lives and injured 34 people. People were injured and killed as they tried to find their way out of a maze of subdivided flats and narrow hallways. More often than not, the constructions of subdivided flats block stairwells and involve the construction of narrow hallways. Fire safety codes may be violated, rendering residents highly vulnerable to fires and gas leakages since they cannot escape quickly enough at the time of accidents. Structures of buildings may also be damaged, which exposes the block to the threat of collapsing. Hygienic conditions are also unacceptable. Unlike housing estates, these unauthorized forms of housings do not have regular maintenance. Corridors are not cleaned, shared toilets can be connected to kitchens, and living spaces may be infested with pests.

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