Chapter 5: Analysis of the Data

This chapter presents an analysis of the information found in the case studies. It is divided into two different sections: approaches to regeneration, and project design. In each section, observations are made regarding common features, and patterns are identified and illustrated in comparative charts. Distinctive phenomena and alterations of the initial design are outlined, and general insights on the probable causes of these transformations are discussed. An interpretation of the results concludes the chapter.

5.1. Approaches to regeneration

This section outlines the different approaches to housing regeneration used in the studied projects, classified as to implementation approaches and relocation approaches. They are presented along with their basic characteristics and where they were observed.

a) Implementation

According to definitions given in section 1.2., projects followed either an integration approach or a redevelopment approach. There were no examples of rehabilitation . Dong Nan Yuan, Xiao Hou Cang and Ju Er Hutong, with their concern for the conservation of the natural and man-made environ ment, are well-integrated projects. They demonstrate a realistic preservation of the main structures of the neighborhood, as well as its land use patterns, original street layout and vegetation. Their housing prototypes retain some of the characteristics of the vernacular housing and blend in with the traditional environment. In contrast, De Bao, Huai Bai Shu, Tian Ning Si, and Hu Bei Kou consist in rather large -scale redevelopment. Their sites have been totally rebuilt anew and nothing of the original neighborhoods has been preserved. Chun Feng Hutong, with its small-scale and phased construction, but whose de sign is not physically integrated with its surrounding environment, retains some aspects of both inte gration and redevelopment.

Today, redevelopment remains the most popular approach to the implementation of new regen eration projects in Beijing, although it has a serious impact upon the urban environment. Profitability and speed of implementation explain the popularity of redevelopment. Developers and authorities view redevelopment as the simplest and most profitable way to regenerate the inner city, and as the approach which can reach the highest densities and floor area ratios. A lack of awareness on the part of designers of alternative approaches and of their advantages also plays an important part. Hong Kong's and Singapore's modern and highly organized redevelopment projects are seen as viable models to be followed.

The fact that there is no example of rehabilitation in the studied projects can be easily explained. The incompatibility between the traditional dwelling and the new requirements for modern lifestyles complicates the preservation of old houses. In the West, the successful transformation of traditional urban dwellings into modern apartments is made possible, in part, because of the similari ties between the old and new housing types. But in Beijing, the contrast between the centuries-old housing and the new prototypes is so great in terms of layout, scale, density, and lifestyle that it is not realistic to integrate them fully. In addition, it may prove difficult to upgrade services and infrastruc ture and to widen streets without adversely affecting the dense neighborhoods.

The government's reluctance to encourage rehabilitation projects has also played a part. The dramatic housing shortage necessitates immediate and substantial production with minimal resources which can best be met by large-scale redevelopment projects. Rehabilitation is a complex and lengthy process which is inefficient in terms of land-use and density and not highly profitable. In addition, it does not fit the image which the authorities want for the renewed city. The government is also reluctant to implement rehabilitation because this would require major changes in the current housing system, especially in terms of design and implementation procedures and financial arrangements.

Finally, the general disdain for old houses, which are considered a "symbol of poverty, lack of choice, neglect, and oppression, viewed as small and squalid, and unfit for human life " also plays a part (Chatfield-Taylor, 1981, 200). Most people living in traditional houses admit that they would prefer to have their neighborhood redeveloped and move into a new apartment with modern facilities and higher standards.

Yet, there have been a few successful examples of housing rehabilitation in China. In 1983, the Shanghai municipality started to work on the transformation of its old neighborhoods. By upgrading the old houses and improving the interior layout, the per capita living space has increased consider ably. This approach has yielded good results in terms of economy, as well as social, historic and environmental continuity (Gu Yun Chang, 1987).

b) Relocation

In the case studies, different trends were observed concerning the relocation of the population. Figure 5.1 illustrates the percentage of returning population in each of the projects surveyed.

Figure 5.1: Relocation

Three basic patterns of return (no relocation, partial relocation, and total relocation) were iden tified1. In the first pattern, all of the residents returned to the site after its regeneration. Two situations could occur: the new project accommodated exclusively original residents, as in the Dong Nan Yuan, Xiao Hou Cang, and Chun Feng Hutong projects, or original residents only occupied a portion of the new units, while the remaining units were sold on the market, as in the case of Huai Bai Shu.

In the second pattern, only a portion of the original residents moved back to the site. In the projects surveyed, the proportion varied from 30 to 80%. The remainder of the original residents were relocated together in nearby suburbs. In some projects, such as Ju Er Hutong, only families willing to buy the new units were allowed to move back. Although most residents prefer to remain in their origi nal neighborhood because of its convenient location, they generally cannot afford to buy their units. Returning residents are usually rehoused together in a specific section of the project, as seen at Ju Er Hutong, De Bao, and Tian Ning Si.

The third pattern observed was the total relocation of the original population, wherein none of the original residents return to the site after its regeneration. In this case, residents are given no other alternative than relocation to new housing projects in the suburbs. They are generally rehoused to gether in the same buildings. This was the case in the Hu Bei Kou project.

Today, most new regeneration projects tend to maintain the minimum returning rate of 30% required by the government. Although the relocation of the population bears heavy social costs and complicates the regeneration process, potential profits from the differential value between new units in the center of the city and those in the outskirts have motivated developers to favor the maximal dis placement of the original population2. Whether on or off the site, original residents are rehoused to gether in buildings with lower physical standards than the market-priced ones. This practice has al lowed the developers to save on building costs while maintaining the existing social structure.

5.2. Project design

a) Site Organization

This section presents the major findings regarding project design in terms of scale, land use, project layout, open spaces, and accessibility.


Among the projects studied, there is a great disparity in project scale in terms of site area and of population affected. As illustrated in figure 5.2, the site area of the first four projects implemented was, on average, at least five times smaller than that of the four more recent ones. The population of the different projects followed a similar trend, as illustrated in figure 5.3.

Figure 5.2: Site Area

It is difficult to determine the reasons for such differences between the first four and the last four projects. The criteria used to determine the area of a site allocated for regeneration remain unclear. It was observed that the four larger projects are all located along or outside the old city walls, whereas smaller projects such as Dong Nan Yuan, Xiao Hou Cang, Ju Er Hutong and Chun Feng Hutong are more centrally located. The time of implementation may also influence the size of the site allocated. Early experimental projects may have been given smaller sites to reduce the risk factor, while larger sites are now allocated to speed up renewal and to allow developers to amortize infrastructure and relocation costs.

Figure 5.3: Population

Land Use

The types of land use and its distribution on the site was identified as another interesting aspect of project design. Figure 5.4 illustrates the different proportions of built area for commercial/institu tional and residential uses in the projects.

Figure 5.4: Built Area

Some projects, such as Dong Nan Yuan, Ju Er Hutong and Chun Feng Hutong, are strictly residential, while other projects have residential, commercial, and institutional functions, including community services such as schools, kindergartens, and community halls, within the site. The mixing of uses on a site follows two basic patterns: different functions are either integrated within one building or segregated in different buildings or portions of the site.

In the case of integrated land uses, new functions are mixed within residential clusters, gener ally located on the ground floor and along major roads. At De Bao, for example, retail space is intro duced on the ground floor level of the apartment buildings along Xi Zhi Men street. In the case of segregated land uses, there is a strict separation of functions, and non-residential uses are concentrated in separate buildings or sections of a site. Commercial buildings are often sold on the market to cross -subsidize the project, as was the case at Xiao Hou Cang, Huai Bai Shu , Hu Bei Kou and Tian Ning Si.

In many instances, original land uses are partially modified by private individuals who infor mally conduct small commercial activities from their home. Activities include small convenience stores, barber shops, and tailors, as well as daycare services and kindergartens. Planners, designers and au thorities are not unanimous in their attitude toward the introduction of unplanned land uses. Some projects have, intentionally or not, offered support for such activities, as for example the small indi vidual yards at Xiao Hou Cang, while in other projects, the design has prevented or has made incon venient the conduct of such activities from the units. For example, at De Bao, Chun Feng Hutong and Huai Bai Shu, ground floor apartments have been raised above ground level, making access by cus tomers inconvenient.

The insufficiency of services provided as part of the initial project design often explains the informal introduction of new activities. As a result, a small convenience store was opened by residents of the first phase, although this practice is strictly prohibited. With the liberalization reforms which allow people to start private businesses on their own, many people have chosen to convert part of their dwellings for such purposes. At Xiao Hou Cang, part of a dwelling and a roof terrace were converted into a small, privately-managed kindergarten.

Still, most new projects do not integrate land uses nor facilitate the conversion of dwellings for commercial purposes. For developers, segregated land uses allow for higher revenues from rental or sale of commercial space, while for the government they simplify land use planning and bring in higher tax revenues. However, this strict separation of functions does not allow for the traditional self -sustaining mix of production, residential, and service activities and creates sterile, purely residential districts, destroying the old city pattern3.

Project Layout

In the case studies, three main types of project layouts have been identified: the streetfront, the court, and the row layouts. The streetfront layout, where buildings follow the orientation of the streets or lanes, results in a random ratio of north-south to east-west oriented buildings, as in the case of Xiao Hou Cang. The court arrangement consists of clusters of buildings facing inward onto a common open space. Traffic is generally restricted to the periphery of the clusters. Examples of this type of layout are found at De Bao, Dong Nan Yuan, and Ju Er Hutong. The row layout consists of regular strings of buildings, generally with a north-south orientation, arranged on large open spaces. This type of layout exists in projects such as Chun Feng Hutong, Huai Bai Shu, Hu Bei Kou, and Tian Ning Si.

The majority of regeneration projects implemented in recent years have been following the row layout. Such projects, which consist of series of identical apartment buildings in parallel rows, have created impersonal and essentially suburban environments which harm the visual integrity of the city. The street and court layouts more closely resemble the traditional pattern and create more dynamic environments which are often more responsive to social interaction.

Figure 5.5: Building Density - FAR

The requirements for sunlighting and ventilation can explain the prevalence of the row layout. It usually proves easier to provide all units with an equal amount of sunshine with this type of layout. The resulting orderly and uniform environment conforms to communist aesthetics. Developers also argue that the row layout is easier to implement and allows for higher building densities and a more profitable use of space. Surprisingly, however, the measure of the building densities in the different projects through their FAR, as illustrated in figure 5.5, does not fully support this thesis. Although projects such as Chun Feng Hutong and Tian Ning Si did reach high FARs, Huai Bai Shu and Hu Bei Kou have the lowest building density among all projects surveyed.

Open Spaces

Different types of outdoor spaces with various levels of privacy were found in the case studies. Some projects had semi-public or communal spaces, which were shared by the majority of the resi dents on the site. Other contained semi-private spaces, shared by a limited number of residents (gener ally up to fifteen households), while some had private spaces, including private yards, roof terraces, or balconies. At Dong Nan Yuan, Xiao Hou Cang and Ju Er Hutong, residents enjoy a whole variety of outdoor spaces with different levels of privacy. However, other projects such as De Bao, Huai Bai Shu, Tian Ning Si, Hu Bei Kou, and Chun Feng Hutong, lack semi-private outdoor spaces that serve the needs of few families at a time and where different forms of social interaction take place. Such projects lack of a transitional space between the very private individual apartment and the very public open space.

The level of privacy found in the outdoor space is closely related to the type of project layout and to the form and dimensions of the space. Some of the projects studied have well-defined open spaces which consist of relatively small yards enclosed by the buildings on the site. Well-defined open spaces are commonly found in projects which follow the street or court arrangement patterns. Other projects have large and undefined open spaces which constitute the residual space between the build ings, typical of large-scale projects following a row layout.

The nature and form of the open spaces have a great influence upon social interaction. Since most projects lacked a community hall where people could meet and organize social activities, most socializing occurred in the outdoors. Well-defined, small open spaces are generally well appropriated by the residents. Generous planting and appropriate site furnishing enhance social interaction, as in the Dong Nan Yuan, Chun Feng Hutong and De Bao projects. Old trees located at the center of the com munal outdoor spaces become symbolic traces of the past and favorite meeting points for socializing, as in the cases of Ju Er Hutong, Xiao Hou Cang, De Bao and Huai Bai Shu. The demographic profile of the residents and the size and level of amenities of the apartments also influence the level of use of the common space, as is the case at Hu Bei Kou.

The communal open space is also appropriated for private uses. Activities range from drying clothes and gardening to the storage of goods and the conduct of commercial activities. The physical appropriation of the space can consist of anything from the fencing of small areas to the construction of permanent structures. However, although it constitutes an economical way for people to get badly needed space, this practice can be seen as a violation of the public space and is not always tolerated by the local authorities. Lack of space for the conduct of private activities explains this appropriation of the common ground. Storage areas are rarely included in the apartment design and private outdoor spaces are either nonexistent or insufficient. Only at Dong Nan Yuan, Xiao Hou Cang, Ju Er Hutong, and some parts of Huai Bai Shu are ground floor units directly connected to private or semi-private yards.

One of the main problems related to the outdoor spaces is maintenance. Small, well-defined spaces, as well as privately-appropriated communal outdoor spaces, are those best taken care of by the residents, while large open spaces are generally neglected and have to be maintained by the govern ment at high costs. Without proper funds for maintenance, such spaces are often left devoid of vegeta tion and eventually turn into a no-man's-land, as is the case at Huai Bai Shu and at most of the reloca tion projects.


The type and number of entrances to a site are important aspects of project design. Some projects have only one or two entry points and access is controlled by devices such as gates and secu rity guards. Surveillance from communal meeting places or from the units also discourages access by non-residents. In other projects, access is largely uncontrolled and nothing prevents people from going through the estate. This generally occurs on large sites with multiple entry points and where original street connections cannot be blocked, as at Huai Bai Shu and Tian Ning Si.

Although regulating devices are usually not part of the initial design, they are added shortly after the project was occupied. The main reason for controlling the access to the estates is to ensure the security of the residents. It reduces the incidence of thefts and burglaries 4 and improves security for the children. Fewer bicycle thefts are reported in projects where access is controlled. For developers, high security and regulating devices add to the prestige image of the housing estates, as in the example of Hu Bei Kou. However, limiting the access to housing estates can disrupt the original road network and destroy the pattern of continuity of the old city, fragmenting its homogeneous structure.

b) Housing Prototypes

This section deals with the most significant aspects of the design of housing prototypes in the case studies. Aspects such as building design, orientation, interior layout, and building quality are discussed.

Building Design

Among the projects, the majority of housing prototypes consisted of different forms of walk-up apartment buildings. Three main types of walkups were identified: the conventional walk-up apart ment block, found in the majority of recent projects, the sawtoothed building, as seen at Xiao Hou Cang and De Bao, and the peripheral walkup courtyard housing, as in the case of Ju Er Hutong. Only one alternative housing prototype, the stacked housing, as found at Dong Nan Yuan, was identified. Most had from four to six stories, depending on the location and on the building regulations for that area (figure 5.6).

Figure 5.6: Building height

The most common prototype is the conventional six-story walkup apartment block, found at Xiao Hou Cang, Chun Feng Hutong, De Bao, Hu Bei Kou and Tian Ning Si. Some recent examples of projects with interesting low-rise housing prototypes such as row housing, terraced houses or new courtyard houses prototypes are found in and around Beijing. Figures 5.7 and 5.8 illustrate two examples of such alternative housing projects.

Most prototypes consist of conventional brick and concrete structures plastered over in differ ent colors. In a few instances, traditional gray bricks are used, as in the Xiao Hou Cang and Dong Nan Yuan projects. Such bricks are more expensive than regular red ones but require no plastering and retain their original aspect even after being exposed to dust and pollution. In general, only one housing prototype exists within each estate. Diversity is only found in the arrangement of the buildings on the site, and in details such as the type of roof and balcony. Examples of flat, terraced, and sloped roofs are found, and some balconies have been enclosed as part of the initial design.

The popularity of conventional designs as opposed to alternative housing prototypes, is under standable, for they are easy to implement and replicate. They also represent a widely accepted form of socialist public housing. Developers are reluctant to invest in new prototypes which may turn out to be less profitable and reach lower FARs. Lack of time and funding for research on new replicable proto types has further hindered their development.

Figure 5.7: Terraced housing designed by Lu Junhua Figure 5.8: Terraced housing at Fang Zhuang


Building orientation is a frequently discussed aspect of housing design. Among the projects studies, the majority of buildings have a north-south orientation, although some projects also have some east-west oriented prototypes. Buildings in projects laid out in a row pattern generally have a strict north-south orientation, and in the case of Hu Bei Kou and Tian Ning Si, while projects following a court arrangement or the street layout necessarily require a certain proportion of east-west oriented buildings.

In general, residents favor north-south orientation. North-south oriented buildings generally have through units, with principal daytime living spaces facing south and all living and sleeping areas enjoying cross-ventilation. The general disdain for east-west oriented buildings may be explained by the influence of Feng Shui, in which the south is a symbolic and privileged orientation. For developers, the introduction of east-west oriented buildings allows for more flexible layouts and offers an eco nomical way to increase land use efficiency. Unfortunately, east-west oriented buildings designed for rehousing original residents have single-oriented units with lower standards and fewer amenities. They could be more acceptable if they were complemented with other advantages such as cross-ventilation, good layout, increased apartment depth, and better amenities.

Interior layout

In terms of apartment layout, most projects conform to the typical Chinese model (described in section 2.2.), but transformed and adapted to new needs. In general, the central distribution hall is larger and has been converted into a windowless communal room from which bedrooms are accessed. The traditional concept of multi-functional rooms is gradually losing popularity in favor of Western -type apartments, where each room has a specific function. The kitchen generally has natural ventila tion and is provided with a small balcony. In the majority of projects, top floor units were provided with roof terraces and extra living space in the attic. As illustrated by figure 5.9, little disparity was found among the size of the units in the various projects surveyed.

Figure 5.9: Average unit size

This similarity is easily explained by the strict regulation concerning apartment size. For the government, the standardization of units simplifies the bureaucratized allocation system, while for developers it facilitates production.

The main problem concerning apartment design is its lack of flexibility. Residents have very little freedom to adapt the dwellings to their needs. Still, extraordinary effort to modify or enlarge apartments is visible. For example, structures are erected on the ground level, or front yards, balconies, roof terraces, stair landings and porches are enclosed. Examples of such transformations at Xiao Hou Cang and Huai Bai Shu are illustrated in figures 5.10 and 5.11.

Shortage of living space and the lack of responsiveness of the design to the users' needs help to explain such transformations. Although new units generally provide more living area than traditional houses, they do not accommodate the possibilities of enlargement found in the traditional courtyard. Many households enclose their balcony as an extra barrier against dust and pollution, which are prob lematic in Beijing, and to create a space where clothes can be hung to dry without getting dirty. Simi larly, balconies are enclosed for reasons of security, and ground level units often have metal cages built on the balconies to discourage burglars. In some instances, balconies are converted into small commer cial activities. Unfortunately, these ad-hoc enclosures tend to cut off the main interior spaces from direct sunlight and fresh air, while the dwelling units are deprived of their only semi-private outdoor space.

Figures 5.10: Small convenience store 5.11: Self-enclosed balconies at in an enclosed balcony at Huai Bai Shu Xiao Hou Cang

Certain prestigious estates, such as Ju Er Hutong and Hu Bei Kou, have strictly forbidden such practices. Most recent projects now enclose the balconies in a uniform matter as part of the original design in order to protect the orderly appearance of the project.

Building Quality

Although building quality and maintenance at Hu Bei Kou and Ju Er Hutong were acceptable, the great majority of low-cost buildings are poorly maintained and deteriorate rapidly. Recent build ings look more than a decade old and brightly painted facades turn gray only a few months after the project's completion. In general, interior finishing is also of low quality. Walls are left unpainted, concrete slabs left uncovered, and plumbing is exposed. Bathroom facilities are basic; showers are planned for but rarely installed. One serious problem is the poor-quality steel sash window frames. Aluminum frames are available in China but are too expensive for low-cost housing projects. Shared facilities such as bicycle storage areas, internal stairs and corridors, light wells and air shafts are also poorly designed and maintained. The absence of basic services like central gas and heating systems in the initial design also cause great dissatisfaction among the residents, and installing them later on is significantly more costly. Still, residents mostly homeowners invest ingenuity, time and money in the improvement of their units, especially in interior decoration and window replacement.

The main explanation for the poor quality of the housing is the highly controlled and central ized housing construction system which prevents competition and thus efforts to improve quality. The developers' desire to speed up construction and to save on initial investment has also resulted in the poor quality of housing and subsequent high maintenance costs, for which government funds are not available.

5.3. Summary of the findings

This section summarizes the main issues identified from the analysis of the case studies. These issues, broken down into social, heritage, physical, policy and economic issues, are discussed along with their probable causes.

a) Social Issues

The majority of the projects studied met their main social goal, that is, the improvement of the living conditions of the residents. However, little importance has been placed upon the preservation of existing communities and people's attachment to their old neighborhoods. The little responsiveness of the projects to the users' needs revealed the low level of social considerations put into renewal.

This lack of concern for social issues is easily explained by the priority given by developers to speed of implementation and profitability. It can also be due, on the part of the government, to a lack of awareness of the possible impacts of regeneration5 . The current political ideology and the Confucian heritage also explain the little priority given to social issues: throughout Chinese history, the popula tion has been sacrificed for the well-being of the nation, arguing that Chinese people easily adapt to any situation.

b) Heritage Issues

The study reveals the low priority placed on the conservation of the domestic architecture and preservation of the traditional urban pattern and overall aspect of the city. The importance of saving old buildings, neighborhoods or even traditional streets is just beginning to be acknowledged in China. Only recently has domestic architecture started to be recognized as part of the cultural patrimony (Slovic & Ligia, 1988). Architectural preservation is still limited to monuments and temples; very few vernacular housing compounds have yet been regarded as an inheritance worth protecting. The general disdain for the symbolic value of the old housing and the desire to recreate an urban environment modeled on Hong Kong and Singapore also helps explain the lack of interest shown for preservation. Today, with increasing land scarcity, the replacement of old neighborhoods with high-density housing projects has a great attraction for both the government and the developers, as it allows them to improve housing conditions, while modernizing the city center. The absence of integrated policies for preserva tion, coupled with lack of experience and awareness, have become major barriers to the conservation of the environment.

c) Physical Issues

In all of the projects studied, there was a conspicuous absence of diversity in terms of site organization, building form, and apartment layout. Prototypes are generally limited to a small number of basic types which demonstrate little originality and innovation in their design. Construction quality and living standards are usually poor.

The developers' concerns for maximum production, speedy implementation and minimum cost has resulted in the production of uniform projects. Many people argue that with the present shortage of trained professionals, mass production is the only realistic way to cope with the housing production. The highly centralized and controlled housing production system and the absence of leading figures in the architectural profession also plays a large part. The lack of public expression of opinion on archi tecture, and especially of critical journalism on current architecture, may explain the lack of diversity and imagination found in design, and the passive acceptance of architecture.

d) Policy Issues

Although a series of regulations regarding the implementation of regeneration projects was formulated as part of the initial renewal program, they have not been strongly enforced, and the proc ess by which such regulations can be bypassed remains unclear.

For example, the municipal regulation which states that 30% of an original population should be rehoused on the site has not always been respected, as happened at Hu Bei Kou. Also, the process by which neighborhoods in Beijing are selected to be regenerated as part of the renewal program remains obscure. Although the initial renewal program selected projects to be regenerated based on their physi cal condition, recent projects are often found in central areas or near major tourist attractions, where physical conditions may not be the worst but where profitability is higher. Similarly, the criteria used to delimit the specific portion of a neighborhood to be regenerated and its area are nebulous and seem to be subject to diverse influences. The absence of a master plan for the renewal of the city and the lack of coordination of the regeneration process are other defects of the current renewal program. Most regen eration projects are designed as individual projects that have no connection with one another or with the city as a whole.

The main reasons for the lack of enforcement of the regulations is the government's need to attract developers' investments in regeneration projects. The desire to pass the management and fi nancing of the program on to developers have forced the authorities to make concessions and loosen their regulations to satisfy some of the developers' demands.

e) Economic Issues

The renewal program only offers partial responses to the housing reforms. Efforts have been made to popularize housing commercialization, but, in reality, only wealthy work units, private busi ness owners, or people with relatives abroad have access to the new housing market. Very few resi dents can afford to buying their dwelling units, even at highly subsidized prices. The absence of fi nancing structures to facilitate home-buying by low-income people has resulted in that the majority of the population still relies on the welfare system for the provision of housing. In the majority of recent projects built under the management of developers, economic concerns have been given priority over other aspects of regeneration. The delegation of the management of the renewal program to developers and the absence of other means of financing projects have resulted in the sacrifice of social, environ mental, and physical aspects for the sake of speed of implementation and profitability.

5.4. Interpretation of the results

In summary, the main problems in the current regeneration process appear to have come from two sources: the current political system and the renewal program itself. The authoritarian political system has led to the highly controlled and centralized housing process which hinders competition, and has resulted in the low quality and homogeneity of the housing production. The absence of an integrated renewal program with strict and adapted regulations and more varied financing modes has allowed to shift priority from social and environmental issues to project profitability.

Although the Chinese authorities have been following the example of Hong Kong and Singapore to model their own approaches and policies, two essential components of the success of the two city states seem to be missing in China: the entrepreneurial government, and the leadership of a strongly committed housing authority. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the introduction of a free market was essential for the production of high-quality housing. Decentralizing the production system and allow ing for greater freedom and competition, while maintaining strong governmental control were key elements in their housing programs. Well-defined and integrated housing policies under the manage ment of a relatively autonomous and powerful housing authority, were other key elements in the suc cess of the housing programs in the two city-states.

This brief analysis of the main findings from the case studies allowed for the identification of the problems in the current regeneration process. The next and final chapter provides an assessments of the renewal program and points out directions to be taken for future project implementation.

1 These patterns correspond to the three approaches identified by He Hongyu (1993).

2 In 1993, the average price difference between units sold in the old city and those in the suburbs was around 1000 ¥ /m2, which represents from 15 to 30% of the price (He, 1993). According to He Hongyu (1993), to be viable a redevelop ment project needs a minimum of 30% residual units, thus implying that 70% of the units can be inhabited by the original residents.

3 The conduct of commercial or institutional activities from the house is common in China, where there is a long tradition of spatially-integrated living and working arrangements. This tradition creates a lively and diversified environ ment and allows individuals to earn an extra income from their home while representing an economical use of land and infrastructure (Bhatt et al., 1993-I). Beijing's neighborhoods are famous for their mixture of different activities.

4 In recent years, with the liberalization of the economy and improvements in living standards, crime rates have increased in China and people fear for their security.

The unjustified divergence between the figure concerning Tian Ning Si and the rest of the projects has led the author to question the validity of this information, which was collected from recent publications and whose accuracy could not be verified.

5 So far, there have been no studies of the social impacts of regeneration, and no data exists on the effects of relocation on the Chinese population. According to Gu Yu Chang (1987), moving from a the traditional courtyard house to the modern multistory dwellings brings important changes in the lifestyle of the Chinese family. Displacement from where their families have lived for several generations can have a serious impact on people's lives. Solvig Ekblad, a clinical psychologist at the Department of Stress Research of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has been conducting research on housing and health in Beijing. Her studies on the impact of mass housing and high-rise living have revealed that, on average, Chinese people are more able to adapt to such conditions than their Western counterparts (Ekblad, 1991).

Back to top