Before 1949 housing was largely owned by private individuals or families. After the establishment of Mao’s socialist regime, however, almost all residential structures in the cities were nationalized. Each housing unit was divided into several sections and allocated to different families by the city government. In the relatively mixed, neighbourhood-based communities, the police and residents’ committees (juweihui), led directly by the district government, became the primary agents of social regulation and community services. Meanwhile, the majority of urban Chinese workers and state employees were provided with state-subsidized public housing by their work units (danwei). Located within or adjacent to the site of the danwei, these undifferentiated, military barrack-like apartment blocks were usually divided into separate compounds to prevent outsiders from trespassing freely. The social composition within the compound tended to be homogeneous since the heads of the households often belonged to the same work unit. In this type of community, basic services and social control are provided primarily by the work unit that serves simultaneously as the employer, landlord and the source of local authority.
The public housing system, which was firmly in place for nearly forty years, had many problems. There was a serious housing shortage and overcrowding throughout Chinese cities. It was common for several families to share a kitchen and bathroom and for a family of three generations to live in a one-bedroom unit. The extremely low rent and heavy reliance on government subsidies resulted in poor housing maintenance and substandard living conditions. There was also disparity in housing access between work units and among employees within the same work units.
Beginning in the late 1980s, the central state launched urban housing reform, which sought to privatize existing public housing and eventually to commercialize the entire housing market. But it was not until the early and mid 1990s that housing reform was carried out nationwide and became a centrepiece of China’s economic development strategies. Under the new policy, families living in public housing are encouraged to buy back the apartments from their work unit at a rate significantly lower than market value. The state urges urban residents to discard their old socialist welfare mentality and embrace the new trend of private home ownership. As this popular state slogan advocates: ‘Housing is a now consumer product, no longer a welfare product.’ By the end of the 1990s, most public housing in all Chinese cities had been privatized, although there is a great deal of local variation in the ownership form.
At the same time, there has been rapid growth in the development of commercial housing for sale to individuals, mostly China’s emerging middle-class people. The newly constructed, gated residential compounds are usually detached from the work-unit system and are run by private ‘property management firms’ (wuye guanli gongsi) and protected by security guards. Ordinary working-class people cannot afford such new commercial housing. These new communities have become an important measure of one’s socioeconomic status and have transformed the urban Chinese social landscape into a highly stratified one.
See also: hukou
Dutton, Michael (1998). Streetlife China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 40–61, 214–21 [on the work unit in the reform period].
Lu, Xiaobo and Perry, Elizabeth (eds) (1997). Danwei: The Changing Chinese Workplace in Historical and Comparative Perspective. Armonk, NY: M.E.Sharpe.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • housing — hous‧ing [ˈhaʊzɪŋ] noun 1. [uncountable] PROPERTY the houses or conditions that people live in: • the link between poor housing and health • The smartest new housing developments in Malaysia often come with golf courses attached. • Falling prices …   Financial and business terms

  • housing —    Housing in Britain has increasingly been dominated by one type, the owner occupied, single family dwelling in a suburb, in marked contrast to practice elsewhere in Europe. It is not however the only form of British housing, and emphasizing it… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • housing —    Housing in Spain runs the entire gamut of housing types, from the rudimentary shacks of the shanty towns to opulent detached villas located on the outskirts of towns, or in prestigious suburbs like the nineteenth century Salamanca district of… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture

  • housing — housing1 [hou′ziŋ] n. [ME husing] 1. the act of providing shelter or lodging 2. shelter or lodging; accommodation in houses, apartments, etc.: often used attributively [the housing problem] 3. houses collectively 4. a shelter; covering 5 …   English World dictionary

  • Housing — can be:* To do with dwellings and houses ** A shortened version of the United States Federal Housing Administration * An enclosure containing some equipment or mechanism …   Wikipedia

  • Housing — bezeichnet: Serverhousing, die Unterbringung und Netzanbindung eines Servers in einem Rechenzentrum Housing (MMORPG), Zonen in einem Computerspiel, in denen Spieler oder Gilden Häuser bauen oder beziehen können Diese Seite ist eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Housing — Hous ing, n. [From {House}. In some of its senses this word has been confused with the following word.] 1. The act of putting or receiving under shelter; the state of dwelling in a habitation. [1913 Webster] 2. That which shelters or covers;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Housing — Hous ing, n. [From {Houss}.] 1. A cover or cloth for a horse s saddle, as an ornamental or military appendage; a saddlecloth; a horse cloth; in plural, trappings. [1913 Webster] 2. An appendage to the hames or collar of a harness. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • housing — index development (building), habitation (dwelling place), lodging, residence Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Housing —   [dt. »(Bereitstellen einer) Behausung«], Webspace …   Universal-Lexikon

  • housing — [n] place of accommodation construction, digs*, dwelling, habitation, home, house, lodgment, quarter, quarterage, residence, roof, shelter, sheltering, stopping place; concepts 388,516 …   New thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”