Belgian photographer Provoost has taken images of Hong Kong’s landscape, which marries together rich greenery and “hyper-dense” housing, creating a striking juxtaposition.
Named Eden of the Orient, the series gives an insight into Hong Kong’s unique built environment, which is enveloped by greenery but recognised as one of the densest places to live on Earth.
“Wherever you look, there are high-rise residential towers,” Provoost told Dezeen. “It is quite common to have a family of four living in a tiny apartment of 40 square metres.”
Hong Kong’s giant apartment blocks, many of which are known as “new towns”, are the result of the region’s booming population over the last century and a lack of flat land on which to build. Only seven per cent of the total landmass is zoned for housing.
As a result, small pockets of space between mountains are saturated with high-rise housing, and 25 per cent of the total population are housed in towers on reclaimed land.
According to Provoost, the lack of space in Hong Kong is resulting in the government constructing more residential towers at greater heights. These have smaller apartments that are only available at high prices.
As such, he says there is an overwhelming “claustrophobic feeling” and that the region is “slowly becoming unlivable” for many citizens.
Provoost’s idea for Eden of the Orient was sparked by the Covid pandemic which saw many countries and cities around the world go into lockdown to stunt the spread of the virus.
He believes that if a lockdown was introduced in Hong Kong, there would have been a devastating effect on many local people’s mental health, as a direct result of the housing.