In her project “City of the Dead”, Iraqi-Canadian photojournalist Tamara Abdul Hadi documents the lives of families living in the cemetery of Bab al-Nasr in Cairo. For the past 60 years, generations have been residing in this modern day necropolis among their deceased ancestors. Children were born and raised in the ruins of the graveyard, they attend schools nearby and even work in the area.
“This is a cemetery of the living”, says one of the residents, Mohammed Abdel Lateef.
Such illegal settlements as the City of the Dead, date back to the 1980’s. They were a primary coping method for local poor and “ultra-poor” inhabitants. Despite unsanitary conditions with no electricity or running water, workers were moving to the urban slums in order to stay close to employment. Overall, there are five main cemeteries like Bab al-Nasr and the whole area was said to have a population density of a whopping 12,000 inhabitants per square mile.
Abdul Hadi is already widely known for her documentary photographs of the Middle East, giving us a close-up look at their controversial culture and society. She states that the Arab world faces many misconceptions, such as oppressing patriarchy, ignorance and others. In her work, Abdul Hadi tends to bring up the softer and peaceful side of the communities which is rarely shown by the mass media. (h/t Middle East Revisited and The New School)
Hong Kong’s Society for Community Organization (SoCO) has created this birds-eye-view series of unbelievable pictures documenting some of the poorest living conditions in Hong Kong, one of the richest cities in the world. These cramped spaces, many no bigger than a small bathroom, serve as their inhabitants’ bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and pantries and represent the homes of a growing number of underprivileged Hong Kong inhabitants. One of the most densely populated areas of the world (426 sq mi and a population of seven million), Hong Kong’s high rent costs and public housing waiting lists force many people to live in these incredibly small spaces. These spaces are so cramped with stacks of living essentials that it takes an observant eye to capture everything represented in the photographs. These particular images were taken in the districts of Sham Shui Po, Yau Tsim Mong and Kowloon City, but is representative of the slums in the city’s 18 regions.
SoCO’s director, Ho Hei Wah, told MailOnline: “Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. However, lurking beneath this prosperity is great inequality in wealth and a forgotten group of poor people. Hundreds of thousands still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, new-arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival. SoCO’s underprivileged clients are increasing in numbers – while the city’s wealth continues to accumulate.”
Hong Kong has long been a center of international trade and manufacturing, but in the 1980s, it witnessed a shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based industry, which has become the driving force of economic disparity in the region. Since 1997, when China regained control of Hong Kong, it has operated under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems.” This has allowed the city to retain some independence from China, including the retention of a capitalist system that has been widening the gap between the rich and the poor. These photographs document the small-scale density of the lives of individual citizens and families in order to draw attention to the large-scale problem of population density and economic disparity. (via the daily mail)