For Pan Wei, a young migrant worker, the 18- square-meter container is his home in Chengdu. For many people, a container might just be a container. They could hardly image it could be a shabby residence. But for Pan, it is the place where he draws blueprints of his ambitions and dreams.
Pan kept a white lie to his parents that he lived in a community in the suburbs of Chengdu and shared with his colleague a two-room flat equipped with air conditioning and refrigerator. To reassure his parents, Pan said that he lives in a separate room.
But the fact is that Pan lives in an 18-square-meter container, which is equipped with a bed, a desk and a chair as well as air conditioners, a refrigerators and a washing machine. For a flat room of the same size, the rent would cost 400-600 yuan per month (66-99 US dollars/month). If the flat is in the downtown area, the price will be higher. Pan Wei has been living in the container for more than half a year. The rent only costs Pan 0.99 dollars every day.
More and more migrant workers have settled down in homes converted from abandoned containers in the city since 2012. It is conservatively estimated that more than 8,000 people lives in containers in Chengdu. Most of the residents are workers at construction sites. A small number of them are office workers or college students.
After moving in less than two weeks, some people regretted living in container and move out, while some others settled down in their snail like dwellings.