civil air defense

Migrant workers from the countryside in Chinese megacities need to take care of their own housing needs. Not having the official right to stay in the city, it is hard for them to find any kind of shelter (the urban/rural hukou drama). RufinaWu already documented the squatting of rooftops in HongKong, but she previously did an exploration on its underground version in Beijing between 2005-2006.

The so-called floating population houses herself in this case in a former civil air defense basement in the capital city, creating a perfectly organised sort of hostel, where tenants struggle to make its mouldy walls more habitable. Compact to the limit, these shared rooms along a tunnel are micro-worlds also trying to defend themselves from the consumption society going on above ground, from which they are both supporters and victims.

[images1,2,3&4> interiors of Beijing underground migrant dwellings via unhoused] [image5> map of Beijing Underground hostels via one small project]

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