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'Coffin' apartments offer wooden box homes for the living

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Akee, 34, who works as a waiter, rests in a wooden box where he lives in Hong Kong October 9, 2012.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

A movie is shown on a television in a common area between wooden boxes where people live in Hong Kong, October 9, 2012.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

A television placed inside a wooden box used for living in Hong Kong October 9, 2012.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

A NGO worker speaks to people living in wooden boxes in Hong Kong, October 9, 2012.

In Hong Kong, affordable apartments are so scarce that people are living in spaces much like an enclosed bunk bed. These so called "coffin homes" fit a single bed and aren't high enough to stand in. Residents share a common space with a toilet and sink and pay about $155-180 per month for the space. Nearby is some of the most expensive real estate and luxury stores among the city's gleaming skyscrapers. 

In New York City, a similar disparity is taking place, with new towers going up and multi-million dollar apartments in high demand while a similar building boom is happening for tiny, 200-square foot apartments. But at least they aren't coffin-sized.