Four-year-old Vera Wong Zi-wei’s favourite possession isn’t the newest Disney princess doll, but her brand-new study desk which fits into the 200 sq ft subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po she calls home.
Wong’s desk, complete with a secret compartment for her stationery and toys, is actually a rare commodity for families which are squeezed into cluttered, shoebox apartments.
“She used to only be able to do homework on a folding table that must be set aside on a regular basis, however right now she will work and play from the same space. It’s the first place she goes toward when she gets home now,” Wong’s mother, Yan Nga-chi, said.
Coffin cubicles, caged homes and subdivisions … life inside Hong Kong’s grim low income housing
Wong, who lives together mother and grandmother, is just one of 70 low-income families that contain benefitted from a project that aims to transform the living quarters of tiny flats with Furniture hk.
“Many grass-roots families don’t hold the extra cash to enjoy on furniture. Instead, they’ll hoard a great deal of second-hand furniture even if it’s not practical since they don’t determine they’ll have the capacity to afford it in the foreseeable future,” said social worker Angela Lui Yi-shan, who runs the project with human rights advocacy group Society for Community Organisation.
The HK$3 million home modification project, sponsored by the South China Morning Post since 2013, offers as much as 120 low-income families with custom-made furniture, including desks, shelves and storage cupboards, plus give their property a mini-makeover by rearranging their liveable space.
Prior to the modification, Yan’s apartment barely had any walking space when folding tables were set up for dinner or homework.
A 3-seater sofa which also doubled as a bed for Yan’s elderly mother had blocked half the corridor that led to the bathroom and kitchen.
A large desk with little storage area took up many of the living room, even though the floor was cluttered with multiple plastic boxes piled on the top of the other.
Hong Kong’s poorest squeezed as rents for tiny subdivided flats rise at double rate for other homes
The team of architects rearranged the existing furniture and designed the investigation desk and 2 new shelving units to put Yan’s living room area.
By utilising the high ceilings in old tenement houses, Yan’s family could utilize floor-to-ceiling storage rather than having storage boxes occupy limited floor space.
By having an average four-year await public housing and ever-increasing rents in the private sector, many residents who live below the poverty line are required to tolerate cramped 47dexlpky squalid living issues that range between cage homes to coffin cubicles.
Almost 200,000 people lived in some 88,000 subdivided units in 2015, based on official figures.
The Society for Community Organisation’s project focuses on families with education needs, in the hope that providing a devoted working space will assist children focus better on their own studies and eventually supply the family the opportunity to escape poverty.
“Most of your children we work together with lie on the floor or bed to do their homework, and it’s not great for their health or development, but this project will help change that,” Lui said.
DOMAT, the not-for-profit architecture firm that designs the Dining table Hong Kong, visits each family individually and makes items to suit your family and also the peculiar layouts caused by partitioned flats.
The furniture, built from a contractor in mainland China, was designed to be flexible thus it can remain with the family if it moves into another subdivided flat or public housing.
“Based on the daily habits, we have seen how our designs can match the requirements. We wish to use furniture like a tool to further improve their space, rather than just providing new furniture,” architect Maggie Ma said.
The company’s personal strategy to the project can be another key reasons why the firm is not going to like utilizing developers.
“What I realised [in building high rises] is a lot of the procedure is controlled by market demand and exactly what can pull in more cash,” Ma said.
“In an easy method, they sacrifice a bit of the user’s needs, so that we wanted to search for designs which can be more humane. This project actually makes us understand a little more about how people live and precisely what is most important for them.”
Although she was compelled to move out of her apartment into another subdivided flat following the installation, Yan said the new furniture had transformed her home.
“When you initially move into a flat, you don’t think a lot of about the furniture. Everything was fine as long as we had space to put our things. But now, we are able to see how practical Lounge chairs hk might be and just how it will make a greater liveable space,” she said.
Ma’s partner and fellow architect Mark Kingsley said: “It’s nothing like those TV shows where you visit your home and they’ve totally transformed it into something very different. The ambition of your project is a lot more modest – to produce small changes that may have a big impact on your family.”