#Mots-clés : Dernière mise à jour le 7 June 2019


CHINAHistory of Cities – Heritage

Urban Housing

Rural Housing


Right to Housing

Forced Eviction


Land Law

Land Grabbing


Vulnerable Groups

  • Joungpeople
  • Old People
  • Women

Some Interesting Practices

  • COOPERATIVES PARTICIPATORY HOUSING : Wang Qingfeng journalist Xin Shiji, presents the emergence of “participatory housing cooperatives” (合作 建房, hezuo fang jian), which correspond to a form of resistance developed by civil society to get around the increase in real estate and overly restrictive eligibility criteria of the guaranteed social housing. The initiative for Co returns to Wenzhounais known for their business acumen, especially in real estate. Went to live in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, they choose to come together to bring together their residential development and to build their homes, while saving the benefit that would be realized by real estate developers. For example, the co-operative housing project in Beijing Tongzhou returned to 8900 yuan per sqm to their owners, seven times less than a traditional promotional campaign. In response, the developers say that 15 to 20% of the amount paid by buyers used to repay the loan contracted by the real estate company to initiate the construction of the project. Some co-operative housing projects also face promoters coalitions that combine to raise prices at land auctions. In addition, municipalities and district governments do not know how to position themselves to these forms of organization of civil society, even though they are supposed to promote the supply of social housing in their territory. (1)
  • PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING : PB in Chengdu started in 2009 in its rural localities and villages and has continued ever since. At present, it is the largest in China in terms of the number of projects funded, the amount of resources allocated and the sheer number of people reached. One of its explicit objectives is to reduce the urban–rural divide. To know more about the Participatory Budgeting concept or to read the report made by the Prof. Y. Cabannes on the subject (IIED 2014) :


Housing Market

Quality of Housing

Informal Housing /Slum / Homeless


Social Housing


Since the reform of the housing allocation system, the disappearance of the “welfare housing” (福利 分房, fuli Fenfang) and the gradual reopening of the real estate market, housing has become a “market good” (商品房, Shangpin fang) investment object and speculation. Faced with rising prices of residential property, the access of Chinese households to housing is becoming more unequal. In Beijing, between 2009 and 2012, the monthly rent increased by an average of 10%. To overcome the casualization of the most vulnerable and act against a growing social discontent populations, the central government in 2011 launched the program of “guaranteed housing” (保障 性 住房, baozhang zhufang xing), which plans to build 36 million housing social rental and home ownership, as part of the XII Five Year Plan.

In the late 2000s, real steps are taken to regulate the real estate development and allow people in precarious situations to benefit from the guaranteed housing program. According to Xie Guozhong and Sun Weichen social housing has become the “visible hand” (有形 之 手, Youxing zhi shou) of the state, focusing on the real estate market. The intervention of the public and its exercise under debate today.

The new guaranteed social housing policy provides for the construction of 36 million units during the period 2011-2015, 10 million in 2011.

While the housing allocation system was abandoned in 1998 in favor of “real estate market” (房地产 市, fangdichan shi), the guaranteed social housing allows, according to the central government to fight against social disparities. The device is planning a system of housing assistance declined at many levels and four types of social housing, both homeownership and two for hire: firstly the “affordable housing” (经济 适用 房, jingji Shiyong fang) 1 and the “limited price housing” (限价 房, xianjiafang), on the other hand “rental housing at low cost” (廉租 房, lianzufang) and “public rental housing” (公租房, gongzufang). Creditworthy people are encouraged to buy affordable housing or, if they do not have the means, limited rental housing. Non-income populations have a low-cost rental housing, or public rental housing when their company has an agreement with the local government on guaranteed social housing – and financially to its construction.

The main challenges of this program lies in their funding and land availability. According to Sun Weichen journalist Zhongguo jingji zhoukan, the construction of 36 million social housing would cost 5000 billion yuan. According Siqi Zheng, professor at the Univerchine, this investment is not based on the central government, but almost exclusively on local government and the district governments, which fund the urban development and social housing construction mainly via the transfer use rights in land, and secondarily through the funds of social housing and bank loans. Major real estate groups are also mobilized to participate in this financial effort. The construction of Chinese social housing is therefore based on a public-private partnership and growing coalition of governments, large “investment companies” (开发商, kaifashang) and “real estate construction companies” (建设 商, jianshefang) Chinese . Nevertheless, Sun Weichen noted that the sale cost of land plots designed to accommodate social housing represents a loss of net income of about 250 billion yuan in local government, and causes a decrease of 4 to 6% tax revenue. Thus, local governments do they show little inclination to build social housing guaranteed and are included in the accounts for social housing dwellings designed to accommodate displaced populations (动迁 安置 房, Dongqian Anzhi fang) in connection ‘renewal operations and urban development. The sale of land without compensation is particularly problematic for municipal governments and district of coastal regions, where, as emphasized Zhang Yanling, competition in the land market is particularly strong, given the low availability building plots, which are calculated by ratio and administrative division.


Zhang Yanling, a journalist for the magazine Xin Shiji says that the criteria are so restrictive that the majority of social housing applicants are not eligible, or when they are, can not ultimately afford to purchase or lease . The “sandwich class” (夹心 层, jiaxin ceng) and refers to people without the means to stay in the residential park subject to the market, but may not claim a guaranteed social housing. Zhang Yanling denounces in particular the high cost of housing in homeownership. In Xiamen, the majority of social housing units delivered in spring 2012 were not awarded. Moreover, these criteria favor the access of holders of a local hukou residents to secured housing at the expense of temporary residents and migrants. Only the public rental housing is oriented towards non-native populations. It is awarded to the families of assets involved in the development of the local economy and technological innovation. This national policy aims to attract “talent” (人才, Rencai), in a context of increased territorial competition. Secured housing are not directed towards the most disadvantaged populations, but to local residents, managers and technicians to the profiles.


The Chinese model offers 4 types of housing: 2 acquisitive models and 2 rental models. This is affordable housing and limited cost housing in relation to the acquisition; public rental housing and low-rent housing for the rental. This rental type is that which is most similar to the “Houses to Rent Moderate” developed in France.


In Shanghai, a variant of affordable housing developed: mixed ownership. In this arrangement, the State, in the presence of the district government holds with a particular percentage of the deed. Depending on the percentage of shares held by the state, a discount of 30 to 40% (against 15-20% average price reduction for affordable housing) is applied, which allows people who would not have how to invest to acquire an “affordable social housing and mixed ownership” (共有 产权 保障 性 住房 – 经济 适用 房, GONGYOU Chanquan baozhang xing zhufang – jingji Shiyong fang). These units can be leased or subleased. Their owners have to wait a five-year waiting period before putting them on sale. At this auction, individuals will be required to return to the local government a percentage of the sales price as indicated in the mixed ownership agreement. The affordable housing and mixed property and are part of a mechanism to fight against speculation and ensure medium-term money coming to the district government. This formula can be interpreted as a form of resistance developed by local governments to pick the fruit resales and thus ensure funds for future construction.


A new bus transit system is developed in the city of Guangzhou. This system helps to promote multimodal transport (busbike), while reducing transport time (reserved corridors) and déservant the poorest areas of the city, in the suburbs. Source: Designother video website, with the support of UN HABITAT

Bibliography & Sitography

  1. Carine Henriot, «Logement social : les gagnants et les perdants d’un système de plus en plus diversifié» in China Analysis, 2013


Major Problems

Major Claims and Demands

Some Actors from Social Movements