Four-year-old Vera Wong Zi-wei’s favourite possession isn’t the latest Disney princess doll, but her brand new study desk that fits into the 200 sq ft subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po she calls home.
Wong’s desk, complete with a secret compartment on her stationery and toys, can be a rare commodity for families which can be squeezed into cluttered, shoebox apartments.
“She accustomed to only have the capacity to do homework on the folding table that would have to be set aside at all times, however she can work and play inside the same space. It’s the initial 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 among 70 low-income families which may have benefitted from your project that aims to change the liveable space of tiny flats with Furniture hk.
“Many grass-roots families don’t have the extra cash to spend on furniture. Instead, they’ll hoard lots of second-hand furniture even though it’s not too practical since they don’t determine they’ll have the capacity to afford it down the road,” 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, can offer as much as 120 low-income families with custom-made furniture, including desks, shelves and storage cupboards, and also give their home a mini-makeover by rearranging their living space.
Before the modification, Yan’s apartment barely had any walking space when folding tables were build for lunch or homework.
A 3-seater sofa that also doubled as being a bed for Yan’s elderly mother had blocked half the corridor that resulted in the bathroom and kitchen.
A sizable desk with little space for storing took up the majority of the living room area, as the floor was cluttered with multiple plastic boxes piled on the top of the other person.
Hong Kong’s poorest squeezed as rents for tiny subdivided flats rise at double rate for other homes
The group of architects rearranged the current furniture and designed the investigation desk and 2 new shelving units to fit Yan’s living room area.
By utilising the high ceilings in old tenement houses, Yan’s family could take advantage of floor-to-ceiling storage instead of having storage boxes take up limited floor area.
With the average four-year await public housing and ever-increasing rents in the private sector, many residents who live beneath the poverty line are required to tolerate cramped 47dexlpky squalid living conditions that range between cage homes to coffin cubicles.
Almost 200,000 people lived in many 88,000 subdivided units in 2015, as outlined by official figures.
The Society for Community Organisation’s project targets families with education needs, with the hope that providing a dedicated working space can help children focus better on their studies and finally offer the family the opportunity to escape poverty.
“Most from the children we deal 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 resulting from partitioned flats.
The furnishings, built from a contractor in mainland China, is designed to be flexible so that 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 their demands. We would like to use furniture being a tool to enhance their space, as opposed to just providing new furniture,” architect Maggie Ma said.
The company’s personal method of the project is yet another key reason why the firm will not like dealing with developers.
“What I realised [in building high rises] is a lot of the process is controlled by market demand and what can pull in more income,” Ma said.
“In an easy method, they sacrifice a little bit of the user’s needs, so we wanted to search for designs that happen to be more humane. This project actually makes us understand much more about how people live and exactly what is most important directly to them.”
Although she was compelled to move away from her apartment into another subdivided flat after the installation, Yan said the new furniture had transformed her home.
“When you first transfer to a flat, you don’t think a lot of concerning the furniture. Everything was fine provided that we had space to get our things. But now, we could find out how practical Office chairs Hong Kong could be and just how it can make an improved living quarters,” she said.
Ma’s partner and fellow architect Mark Kingsley said: “It’s unlike those Television shows where you go to the house and they’ve totally transformed it into something totally different. The ambition in the project is much more modest – to create small changes that can have a big affect on the family unit.”