Housing, urban renewal and socio-spatial integration in Beijing

Hui, Xiaoxi (2013) Housing, urban renewal and socio-spatial integration: a study on rehabilitating the former socialistic public housing areas in Beijing. A+BE : Architecture and the Built Environment. 3(2) pp.1-796. doi:10.7480/abe.2013.2. (accessed 20 September 2013)

Based on the background of privatization, the former socialistic public housing areas in Beijing confront the ambiguity of their housing stock and the confusion of housing management. While they still accommodate the majority of urban residents and are identified by their good places, (social and programmatic) mixed communities, vibrant local life, and diversified housing types, they are facing the serious challenges of physical deterioration and social decline. Therefore, urban renewal was thought as an effective solution seeking to improve the living conditions in those neighborhoods. Nevertheless, urban renewal in itself is also a controversial issue. In order to solve the housing problem, the large-scale urban renewal in Beijing started at the beginning of the 1990s. The radical housing reform further boosted urban renewal, often in the form of wholesale reconstruction and linked to real estate development. The market-driven urban reconstruction resulted in the resident displacement, community destruction, disappearance of historical images and, more threatening, socio-spatial segregation. It encountered the rising criticism from scholars and activists and resistance from the residents. As a result, many housing renewal projects, including the reconstruction projects of former public housing areas, had to be stopped or suspended in Beijing after 2004. Nowadays there is a dilemma for the urban renewal of Beijing’s former public housing areas.

Read full text on A+BE

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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