Coming of an age: Trends and issues in housing in Asian cities

H-ASIA – Call for chapter proposals:  Trends and Issues in Housing in Asian cities Urmi Sengupta, Annapurna Shaw Projected to be published by Routledge
Typical streets and blocks in Chenggong, Balula Luis

For many countries in Asia, the future of housing is now. This future is closely linked to successful theoretical advancement and policy practice in housing studies. Well-provided housing is the bedrock of a community because of associated social and economic benefits. Housing and property have  long been economic drivers leading many households to better lives, but also, collectively, improving the economic base of the country or the city. For the past decade or so Asia has provided a fertile ground for new experiments in housing with surprising results in areas of housing privatization, subsidy regime and ownership structure. They have taken place within the context of dynamic demographic and economic shifts, serious reconfiguration in political and financial structure and changing aspirations. On the other hand, globalization has affected many Asian housing systems to different degrees and in various dimensions, which, in turn, has caused many countries to  aggressively manage risks and alter strategies. These changes can be summarized by three broad trends: First, rapid regulatory and financial reforms coupled with the growing private sector in a productive and profitable role increasingly driving housing growth by providing greater choice and variety of housing. Second: the shrinking role of public housing in relative terms with only a limited number of state-owned enterprises that are profitable and competitive. This fits in with the overarching trend towards stronger governance with corporate ethos and ambitions exerting significant leverage over the allocation of resources in the economy as a whole; and third: attempts from low income communities to acquire land or regularize encroached land and build their own housing and related infrastructure as a co-operative or individually or with the help of NGOs and /or the state. These trends have produced a diversity of results with varying impacts on different economic groups in the city, its social milieu and land uses and they also vary within countries in the Asian region.

Low quality housing in Shaoxing, Goulard Sébastien
Thus within the high income Asian countries, the middle income South-East Asian countries, China, India and the smaller and poorer countries of South Asia the housing efforts of the last decade show interesting similarities and contrasts. So far, however, there is a lack of research on how these trends can be articulated on a pan-Asian scale and what it means for the future.

Read the full text on the announcement of H-Asia

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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