Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is one of the most crowded cities on Earth. An estimated 200,000 people live in a single square mile in some neighbourhoods — nearly three times the density of Manhattan.
In 2017, German photographer Bernhard Lang set out to capture the overpopulation crisis from above. The images show the residents’ living conditions as they are rarely seen. Lang shared some photos from his series with us. You can check out more of his work on Instagram and Facebook.
About one billion people around the world live in slums, the BBC reports. About 2% of slum dwellers worldwide can be found in the Philippines, an island nation.
In 2017, Bernhard Lang decided to shoot a photo series on what he considers 'one of the most urgent global questions to solve' -- overpopulation.
His research led him to Manila, where the multicolored roofs of the slums and shanty towns -- made from scraps and recycled materials -- reminded him of abstract paintings.
Lang hired a helicopter to fly him over the city. 'From above, you get a good sense how closely the housings of the slum areas are compressed against each other,' he said.
On his first night in Manila, a fire ravaged Tondo, the city's largest slum. Because the homes there are packed so tightly, fire trucks struggled to reach the area.
That night, Lang watched a column of smoke build over the city from his hotel window.
The next morning, he flew over Tondo. The fire destroyed 1,000 homes and left more than 3,000 people homeless, according to Lang. 'Luckily, nobody was killed,' he said.
Manila experienced two more fires during the week of Lang's visit.