So you think apartments in NYC are small? You haven’t seen tiny apartments until you see the basement apartments of workers in some of China’s largest cities.
Viiphoto.com has some incredible photos on display of what are called in China the “Rat Tribe”.
Several floors underneath Beijing, a million migrant workers are living in tiny, dank rooms. They work as karaoke hostesses, guards, beauticians, and waiters, they are the backbone of China’s service industry and they can’t make ends meet above ground. They live in the basements below apartment blocks and in the air raid tunnels where the partitioned, windowless rooms sometimes barely fit a single bed. The rooms cost between 300 to 700 yuan (between $50 and $110 per month).
As bad as the conditions are for the Rat Tribes, they consider it an improvement in their living standards. They all hope to eventually be earning enough to live above ground. Since many of these basement dwellers are still quite young, it is to be expected that most will eventually find the wherewithal to eventually improve their conditions.
Still, I wonder whether some of New York City’s vast tribe of homeless people would live in the same places if they had the opportunity to do so. Are City shelters any better at providing privacy? Security? Or as sense of one’s own space?
80 to 90 years ago, the British philosopher, Bertrand Russell urged the Western nations to consider housing and food to be “rights”. Have we, in fits and starts, met that challenge? Do we even believe it is a challenge worth meeting? Will the Chinese communist government consider it a worthwhile challenge to create housing for all that meets a certain minimum standard?
Just questions to think about as you view these photos. I would have like a way to work in a plug for RDNY.com or to mention no fee apartments NYC, but this is just too serious a subject to treat flippantly. We are in the housing business, and sometimes we have to think and do things for those of us with no housing to call their own.
To see more photos, visit Flavorwire.com
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