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TAMARA PEARSON – Mansions and Slums: the Inequality of Living Space

Australians have the biggest homes in the world. New free-standing homes are an average 245.3 sqm – three times bigger than UK homes, and 22 times bigger than the average Hong Kong home.

For Australia, this space privilege shows up the all pervasive myth that the country has no room for refugees. But for the world, there’s a deeper story of a global inequality of space – a story that goes well beyond mere population density differences.

Inequality of space 

With 7 billion people in the world, how much space did each person get?

Thousands got mansion amounts of space and hundreds of rooms each. US heir (his only occupation) William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil’s mansion had a banquet hall alone that was double the size of the average first world house.

1 billion people got slum-space – barely enough for the family to huddlesleep on one improvised mattress. The corrugated iron walls of their cupboard homes built on the edge of mountains and on the edge of cities and the edge of life, let the arguments in.

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