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The Hidden Ingenuity of Hong Kong's Cramped Back Alleys

When there isn’t enough private space, locals make creative use of tucked-away public places.
relates to The Hidden Ingenuity of Hong Kong's Cramped Back Alleys
Michael Wolf

In Hong Kong, where some 17,000 people are packed into every square mile, space is too valuable to go unused. That includes the hundreds of narrow back alleys separating shophouses and high-rises from one another. To the city government, they’ve become a trashed-filled, rat-infested eyesore in an otherwise picturesque metropolis.

But the German photographer Michael Wolf sees them differently. He’s lived in Hong Kong for the past 22 years and has been photographing back alleys throughout the city since 2002. “They remind me of the Surrealist art movement,” he says.