Housing reform and its impacts on the urban poor in China

Y. P. Wang

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    141 Citations (Scopus)


    Housing provision in Chinese cities has experienced many changes since 1979 when the country embarked on major economic reform. During the late 1980s and the 1990s many publicly owned houses were sold to their existing tenants or other public sector employees. Large numbers of new houses were built by commercial property developers for the emerging urban housing market. As a result, new patterns of residents have emerged. Housing areas of different standards for different social groups became a dominant feature of large Chinese cities at the end of the 1990s. Will the urban poor benefit from these changes and what is their housing situation like under the reformed system? This paper addresses these questions by examining the nature of the emerging urban poor and their accessibility to housing. It involves an assessment of the implications of recent housing reform policies for the disadvantaged groups. The paper identifies two major groups of urban poor in Chinese cities: The poor among the official urban residents and the poor rural to urban migrants. It concludes that while housing problems of the official urban poor have been recognised, there is no formal policy in relation to housing provision for the unofficial poor.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)845-864
    Number of pages20
    JournalHousing Studies
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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