Tag Archives: housing

Eco-cities and the transition to low carbon economies

Caprotti, Federico (2014). Eco-cities and the transition to low carbon economies. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan. 136 p. ISBN : 9781137298751 (Hardcover) / 9781137298751 (Ebook EPUB) / 9781137298751 (Ebook PDF).

9781137298751.inddEco-cities are increasingly being marketed as solutions to a range of pressing global concerns, such as environmental and climate change, hyper-urbanization, demographic shifts, energy security, and the Peak Oil scenario. In response to these issues, eco-cities are being conceptualized as ‘experimental cities’, new urban areas in which new technologies and ways of organizing urban and economic life can be trialled, and where transition pathways towards low-carbon economies can be tested. The author examines the two most advanced eco-city projects under construction at the time of writing – the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City in China, and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. These are the largest and most notable attempts at building new eco-cities to both face up to the ‘crises’ of the modern world and to use the city as an engine for transition to a low-carbon economy.

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Monique Abud

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

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The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China

Shenggen Fan, S M Ravi Kanbur, Shang-Jin Wei, Xiaobo Zhang (2014). The Oxford companion to the economics of China.(2014),  The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China, 656 p., 33 Figures, 8 Tables. Also available as ebook.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Remaking China’s great cities

Samuel Y. Liang (2014) Remaking China’s great cities. Space and culture in urban housing, renewal, and expansion, London, Routledge, 256 p. Contents

China’s rapid urbanization has restructured the great socialist cities Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou into mega cities that embrace global capitalism. This book focuses on the urban transformations of these three cities: Beijing is the nation’s political and cultural capital; Shanghai is the economic and financial powerhouse; and Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province and the regional center of south China. All are historical cities with rich imperial, colonial, and regional heritages, and all have been drastically transformed in the last six decades. This book examines the cities’ continuous urban legacies since 1949 in relation to state governance, economic reforms, and cultural production. By adopting local historical perspectives, it offers more nuanced accounts of the current urban change than the modernization/globalization paradigm and conceptualizes the change in the context of the cities’ socialist, colonial, and imperial legacies. Specifically, Samuel Y. Liang offers an overview of the urban planning and territorial expansion of the great cities since 1949; explores the production and consumption of urban housing, its spatial forms, media representations, and socio-political implications; and examines the state-led redevelopment of old urban cores and residential neighborhoods, and the urban conservation movement.

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Planning and its discontents: contradictions and continuities in remaking China’s great cities, 1950–2010. Urban History, 40, p 530-553. doi:10.1017/S0963926812000752.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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New book: Transforming Chinese cities

Wang, Mark Y., Kee Pookong, and Jia Gao (ed.) (2014). Transforming Chinese cities. Oxon : Routledge. XXV-271 p. (Routledge contemporary China series). ISBN : 978-0-415-63665-0.

The urbanisation of China over the last three decades has been a hugely significant development, both for China’s reform process and for the world more generally. This book presents recent research findings on China’s continuing urban transformation. Subjects covered include the decline of the rural-urban divide, the spatial restructuring of Chinese urban centres and urban infrastructure, migrant workers, new housing and new communities, and “green” responses to urban environmental problems. The book is particularly valuable in that it includes much new work by scholars based inside China.

See more at Routledge.com

Monique Abud

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

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The influence of housing characteristics on rural migrants’ living condition in Beijing Fengtai District

Liu Wen Tao (2014), The influence of housing characteristics on rural migrants’ living condition in Beijing Fengtai District, HBRC Journal,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hbrcj.2014.02.005.


The study analyzes the influence of housing characteristics on rural migrants’ living condition in Beijing Fengtai District, China. The researcher will identify rural migrants in Beijing, examine their housing characteristics (housing crowding, housing privacy and housing facility) and the influence on their living condition. Also, some suggestions are given to improve their housing characteristics and living condition. The government should revise the migrant housing policy and hukou management. Also, the rural migrants should try to increase their education level and social skills. For the occupation, the local government should give the rural migrants more job opportunity. These issues are analyzed in relation to local government attitudes toward the rural migrants. The analysis is based on data collected from two types of interviews: rural migrants and management interviews which examine the rural migrants’ housing and managerial aspects of this research, respectively. It is also supported by the utilization of secondary data. The findings of the study indicate that the rural migrants’ housing characteristics (housing crowding, housing privacy and housing facility) highly influence their living condition in Beijing Fengtai District. Therefore, the local government should give some assistance to this group people in the big cities. This paper reports on the findings of a study to seek acknowledged definitions of the terms Project and Project Management. The study was based on a conventional review and analysis of the definitions from a series of texts.

Full text free on line


Jacqueline Nivard

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

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A homeless person resting in a building waiting to be demolished around Tongyuanju (铜元局). Photo taken during a field trip to Chongqing in November 2013. Although the low-income allowance (dibao - 低保) covers the whole territory of Chongqing now, the amount given very low. In 2013, the allowance for urban residents was 300 yuan per month (185 yuan/month in rural areas), but it can be lower depending on the family income. In order to get this subsidy, the applicant must meet some requirements such as an income lower than 1450 yuan per month. There is growing social discontent because of the lack of affordable housing. The importance of the real estate industry to the economy is such that the government still has not properly addressed the housing issues faced by the most desperate. The city of Chongqing announced an ambitious plan for social housing in 2010. However, this housing plan is mostly intended for workers with stable jobs and income.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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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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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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China’s Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million Into Cities

“It’s almost like another Great Leap Forward,” says Gao Yu, China country director for the Landesa Rural Development Institute, in Seattle. Unsustainable urbanization practices—such as current large-scale programs to move farmers into apartments in towers with often generous but short term compensation—must be urgently addressed by Chinese leadership. The Chinese government has been pledging a comprehensive urbanization plan for more than two years now. The plan—which is supposed to include provisions that will give ex-farmers a permanent stream of income from the land they lost, among other measures—was scheduled for presentation at the National People’s Congress last March, but various concerns have delayed a full disclosure. Its formal presentation is now scheduled for the fall.


Luis Balula

Ph.D. Urban Planning and Public Policy (Rutgers University, New Jersey); M.Sc. Urban Affairs (Boston University); Architect (Technical University of Lisbon). Urban and regional planning consultant. Research fellow at Instituto de Ciencias Sociais – Universidade de Lisboa.

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奥迪尔▪柯内特: 21世纪中国城镇化面临的主要挑战是什么?

吉普鲁教授: 2012年,中国城镇人口在历史上第一次超过了其农业人口。据估算,大约有两亿三千万持农村户口的移民(或者说农民工)到城里务工。这部分人的生活条件非 常艰苦,工作强度很大,收入微薄,住宿条件非常恶劣。要注意到一个细微的差别,那就是城市里的居民并不全是城里人。在七亿五千万的总城镇人口中,两亿三千 万属于二等市民。因此,在未来20年里,中国面临的最大挑战,就是如何安置从乡村迁移城市的5亿农民工。也就是说,中国每两个月就必须安置200万的市 民。中国面临的第二大挑战,是如何将这几亿的农民工转变成为市民,和其他市民享受同样的权利。

奥迪尔▪柯内特: 欧洲的城镇化经验对中国人有用吗?

吉普鲁教授: 在服务领域,欧洲的经验应该会很适用。从农民工的利益出发,我们可以列举几项内容,如低收入群体住房安置项目、贫困居民的社会服务项目或不懂普通话的外来农民工的教育项目等等。

垃圾处理项目也是中国可以借鉴的经验。如果从卫星上俯瞰北京城,我们可以发现北京城周围郊区围绕着一圈公共垃圾场。大部分垃圾场都不会焚烧这些垃 圾,而是对其进行填埋,但填埋往往会导致有害物质渗漏到地下水。而在欧洲,我们则设有垃圾分类中心,大部分情况下这些垃圾会被焚烧或被回收。

另一个比较关键的问题,即交通。在中国,我们看到了真正意义上的城市大拥堵,不同交通方式的大拥堵。随着一些城镇居民的迅速致富,汽车的数量激增, 然而,基础设施建设依然非常落后。在北京,就有三到四百万辆汽车,堵车现象极为严重。像其他发达国家之前的做法一样,中国也采取了相当严厉的限制新车政 策。



吉普鲁教授: 的确,在中国,城市环境呈现出一个比较糟糕的景象。但这并不是不可以改变的。只是在我看来,这个问题较为复杂。要找到解决途径,我们必须进一步研究经济增 长、城市扩张和土地功能这三者之间的关系。先从城市扩张来看,人们经常谈论“智慧城市”,即“紧凑型城市”,在这种城市,交通可以依赖步行或自行车来实 现。但30年来,城市人口激增,但城市范围有限。这种城市扩张代价很大,这是土地合法地位的结果。要知道在1994年税制改革之后,地方政府必须承担很多 新的开支(教育、健康),而中央政府却保留了大部分的税收。这些新的开支最后得到了解决,解决的方式很简单,主要是通过征地,将原本属于农民的集体土地 (一般通过补偿方式)转化为公用土地,然后通过竞标,将这些土地以很高的价格卖给那些开发商。


同样出于经济上的考虑,地方政府也极力将一些能纳税多的工厂吸引到城市的行政区域中来。这就导致了制造业的过渡膨胀以及作为平衡增长关键所在的服务 业的萎缩。这一做法最终导致了严重的环境污染。现在,很多中产阶层的人都认为城市不适宜居住,也开始意识到工业化及城镇化在提高人们生活水平的同时,也带 来了灾难。我们期待,这将在一定程度上改变中国目前经济增长的模式,希望中国比当年的西方国家更早意识到并着手改变他们的发展模式。

奥迪尔•柯内特 : 那么怎样的城市发展模式更适用于中国?

吉普鲁教授: 在欧洲,我们不难想到德国的模式。在这个国家,大部分居民都居住在生活品质很高的小城市里。然而,那些四处漂移的移民人口,他们希望去大都市,因为那里就业机会更多,服务质量更高。

奥迪尔•柯内特: 我们意识到在城镇化进程中,土地和“户口”是很重要的, 那么, 户籍制的演变是否可能?

吉普鲁教授: 过去的20年已经发生了改变。“十二五”规划目标之一,就是逐步将外来务工人员纳入到城市的范畴。无论如何,户籍制不会立马被取消。但我们可以设想一个缓 慢的进程,在这一进程中,每年有200-300万农民工有机会被纳入到城市范畴,并享有市民的所有权利。这将是一个多么重大的进步。

奥迪尔•柯内特 : 您的合作项目对欧洲和中国会产生怎样的影响?

吉普鲁教授: 欧盟可以与中国人一起分享在他们看来有用的专业知识。欧洲有众多小公司,这些公司在各自领域都颇具真正的专业知识(如城市流动、建筑和智能城市等)。当 然,这种类型的专业知识往往需要硬件与之相配套,尤其它们是与新技术相关的宝贵技能及网络知识。在这些领域中国人目前非常活跃。因此,我们的合作机会可以 帮助合作伙伴将市场拓展到欧洲,以及日本和美国。

城市遗产是欧洲的另一大宝贵财富。中国人也很关注欧洲的生活质量以及城市遗产的保护。中国的城市遗产是巨大的,但往往被“冻结”。 在挖掘机和“冻结”两者之间,人们可以找到解决方案。因而,中国对欧洲遗产的保护程序及资助模式表现出了浓厚的兴趣。

奥迪尔•柯内特 : 您如何看待王澍获得中国首个普利兹克建筑奖?

吉普鲁教授: 这是一位杰出的建筑师,他曾经说过,中国建筑的未来,不在城市,而是在农村,在那里人们可以找到与自然的和谐。他一语惊人,很可能这是深深植根于中国文化 的一种情感。但是,这一情感与一些中国城市规划者的观点存在直接的冲突,因为对后者而言,他们所看到的城市是个纯粹的定量。幸运的是,观念正在发生变化。 最近在辽宁召开的一次关于拆除棚户区的研讨会上,中国的建筑师和规划师们都意识到,尽管这些居民生活在恶劣的条件下,但他们都不希望被安置在偏远地带,因 此,搬迁项目应保留城中村的社会结构,维持紧密的社会关系,保证居民日常的工作及街道的商业活动…。这一思考,是令人欣慰的,是一种非物质的思考,而欧洲 当年拆除贫民窟的过程中也有过类似的思考。


Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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The Shanghai alleyway house: A vanishing urban vernacular

Bracken, Gregory. (2013) The Shanghai alleyway house : A vanishing urban vernacular. London : Routledge. 200 p. (Contemporary China series). ISBN 978-0-415-64071-8.

As a nineteenth-century commercial development, the alleyway house was a hybrid of the traditional Chinese courtyard house and the Western terraced one. Unique to Shanghai, the alleyway house was a space where the blurring of the boundaries of public and private life created a vibrant social community. In recent years however, the city’s rapid redevelopment has meant that the alleyway house is being destroyed, and this book seeks to understand it in terms of the lifestyle it engendered for those who called it home, whilst also looking to the future of the alleyway house.

Based on groundwork research, this book examines the Shanghai alleyway house in light of the complex history of the city, especially during the colonial era. It also explores the history of urban form (and governance) in China in order to question how the Eastern and Western traditions combined in Shanghai to produce a unique and dynamic housing typology. Construction techniques and different alleyway house sub-genres are also examined, as is the way of life they engendered, including some of the side-effects of alleyway house life, such as the literature it inspired, both foreign and local, as well as the portrayal of life in the laneways as seen in films set in the city. The book ends by posing the question: what next for the alleyway house? Does it even have a future, and if so, what lies ahead for this rapidly vanishing typology?

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Monique Abud

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

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High density and living comfort // China – Austria 2013

The extent of building activities in China is fascinating. The demand for living space in the big cities has led to an unprecedented high-rise building boom.

This building boom and the further densification of cities involves new and complex challenges not only for urban planning departments, mobility and for the infrastructural supply chain management, but also for architecture.

According to statistics, Chinese metropolis regions (more than 85 conurbations with more than five million inhabitants each) can expect an annual increase of one million people per year. In this context, a steep rise of the cities’ total energy demand is also to be expected.

Even today, the major part of the energy demand of urban settlement areas is due to the operation of buildings, especially to the segment of cooling buildings.

The symposium, which is organized by the IAT and the Confucius Institute Graz, will offer international architects, experts and building developers a platform that includes lectures, debates and workshops.
Specialists from all over the world have been invited to examine these issues in depth.


  • Graz University of Technology, Austria


  • 21-22 March 2013




Monique Abud

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

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