The People’s Republic of China, commonly known as China, is the most populous state in the world with over 1.3 billion people, and Shanghai with its population of 19 million is the most populous city in China and the most populous city in the world. It’s also home to some of the most densely populated cities too.

In the past decade, China’s cities expanded at an average rate of 10% annually. However, between 1978 and 2009, the country’s urbanization rate increased from 17.4% to 46.8% — a scale unprecedented in human history. These changes and a lack of living space cause huge demand for dense, high-rise offices and urban apartment buildings. As a result, many utilitarian, communist housing blocks have been designed to make full use of vertical space in cities instead.

According to Emporis, there are 7,650 skyscraper housing projects in Hong Kong, which puts the city at the top of world rankings. Thirty-six of the world’s 100 tallest residential buildings are in Hong Kong. More people in Hong Kong have tiny homes or work above the 14th floor than anywhere else on Earth, making it the world’s most vertical city.

While these numbers sound really cool and impressive, it actually causes a lot of housing problems and poor living conditions. Although it feels like it’s from a dystopian future, thousands of people call this place home every day. This architectural photography series lets us take a glimpse at these enormous blocks of flats in China and get a feel for co-living there too. Check out these perfectly geometric buildings spanning dozens and dozens of floors.

“Mass Living” in Hong Kong

Bamboos to Magalie L’Abbé

Bamboos to Photocapy

Bamboos to Phillie Casablanca

Bamboos to alexasigno

Tower block on the Lei Yue Mun Estate, Yau Tong, Kowloon

Bamboos to pondspider

Tianjin Flats

Bamboos to mararie

Shanghai Apartment Buildings

Bamboos to decade_null

Bamboos to kk+

Bamboos to Colin Manuel

Recent media reports citing information from China’s electricity authority claimed that 64.5 million urban electricity meters registered zero electricity consumption over the past six months, equating to enough empty flats to cohouse 200 million people. “While the data is not accurate, we can confidently conclude that China doesn’t have an absolute housing shortage and the per capita space is above the level in Europe and Japan”. (sources: 1,2,3,4)