Inside Hong Kong's insanely cramped and illegal "coffin homes"

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The contrast between people who actually have to live a minimalist existence, and the airy starkness of trendy western “minimalism” is always notable.


I had a college housemate who lived just like this. Ethnic Chinese, but I don’t know where he was born. His room was made out of stolen milk crates, which held everything he owned in perfect order.


Holy Guacamole! My claustrophobia is kicking in.


Now THATSA tiny house! I lived sorta like that in NYC in the early 80s. Five guys living in a one room apartment with ‘coffin lofts’ a 2’ high 6’ deep slot where 3 guys slept at one end, a ‘penthouse’ coffin loft you could request if you had a hot date (otherwise it was someone’s sleeping loft) over the kitchen and bathroom. I slept on the couch typically. It was like living on a ship, but we were young, stupid, poor and willing to do anything to enjoy NYC. We hardly ever slept anyway. Good times.



This article is also something to keep in mind every time we have an article about minimal living, tiny houses, and the difficulties faced by people who want to build and live “small”.

This is the reason why those laws are in place. This is why there are rules regarding minimum floorspace and minimum facilities for a liveable building. Because if we didn’t have those standards, and / or they weren’t enforced, this is where people would end up. Squeezed slowly but inexorably into unaffordable coffins by the loving grace of that invisible hand.


When the cost of living space is driven out of reach by people using property as an investment, and marginal people are pushed into the cracks, someone will buy the cracks and charge rent.2

ETA: I wonder what investment buying and AirBnB would do to those Niven-Pournelle Oath of Fealty arcologies?

ETA2: It’s cracks all the way down. When working people are pushed onto the sidewalks, with no place to store sleeping quilts during the day, capitalism will move in.


Is anyone else having the Boing Boing web pages periodically jumping to the ad at the bottom?


Those HK pads would look oh so light and airy if the walls were painted in Soylent Green.

This is what magical western pod living looks like:

I say magical because I don’t think they ever shipped any.


This is the corner of the world which tore down a (precarious) living space for about 50k people, and replaced it with… A public park.

Not super surprising to see this.


A preview of retirement for American Millenials and adult life for Gen Y. Unless, you know, we stop looking at the places we live in first and foremost as financial investments.


Obligatory late stage capitalism remark.


This is not just a Hong Kong thing. I know someone who lives in a setup like this in Detroit, Michigan. Through a combination of untreated mental illness, agoraphobia, and low income brought on by trouble holding a steady job, she lives in the basement of a house that’s subdivided into tiny cubicles. Just enough room for her, a tote full of clothes, a mattress, and a metric shit-ton of panda dolls. One bathroom, used by everyone in the house. One shower stall, used by everyone in the house. One kitchen, used only by the owner of the house, which means everyone else is basically eating takeout. Not the way I’d want to live, and the rent even for that is higher than I pay for a whole house out in the country.


Welcome to Trump’s vision for america.

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Whenever our local planning zealot says “Density is Green” I wonder if this is his end-game? For everyone but himself, of course.


It’s the high-rise version of a shanty town.


Happened to me too. Whichever company pushing the motor craft ad is a lying piece of… the controls on there ads don’t work at all.

This is what I imagine it was like living in Kowloon.