- Zhongguancun Cottage Redevelopment: Prospects for Low-Middle Income Housing   click here to open paper content425 kb
by    Zhou, Jinnan & White, Tamara | pippig@163.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper explores potential low-middle income housing solutions, proposed
for trial application in the dynamic and rapidly developing Haidian
District, Beijing. Proposed solutions include forms of development
regulation and public-private partnership that are new to the Chinese
planning context, as well as leveraging existing programs and funds.
This paper explores potential low-middle income housing solutions, proposed
for trial application in the Chunguancun redevelopment area of Haidian
District, Beijing. Chunguancun is a dynamic and strategically important
growth area, with steep competition for land uses and redevelopment funds.
The proposed low-middle income housing solutions meet these challenges by
incorporating new forms of development regulation and public-private
partnership, as well as leveraging existing programs and funds.

Beijing is a rapidly growing city, with an average annual population growth
rate around 3.8 percent. While initial growth meant outward expansion,
there is now a major focus on infill and redevelopment, with an emphasis on
facilitating and spatially accommodating economic development activities,
and improving quality of life.

Some areas of the city, including parts of Chunguancun, are already
overbuilt and include sites on environmentally sensitive lands. In these
areas, the city government wishes to insert parks, public services and
amenities, and improve connectivity and emergency vehicle access through
road development. Ambitious low-middle income housing goals have also been
set at the city-wide level (Beijing Municipal Commission).

Within Beijing’s tight land market, low-middle income housing is in high
demand and low supply. The city’s housing prices have skyrocketed, despite
ample government attempts to curb speculation and cap rising prices.
Several government programs address low-middle income housing (both rental
and ownership models), however results are minimal when compared with
levels of demand.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has called upon local
authorities to innovate new ways of financing and expanding low-middle
income housing, in line with the country’s history of “gradualist and
experimental” housing reforms, based in “trial and error” (Deng et al,
2011). Chinese housing policy has reached a critical stage in which free
market mechanisms must be balanced with growing public needs. Furthermore,
long-standing policies on collectively owned lands must be revised to
reflect their current role in city housing markets. As mentioned, a number
of low-middle income housing solutions applicable to the Chunguancun Area
will be presented and discussed.

These recommendations were developed through a review of applicable area
plans, including proposed area redevelopment plans; a review of literature
on China’s low-middle income housing programs and funds; a review of
related international good practices in affordable housing; semi-structured
interviews with experts in Chinese low-middle income housing development
and development finance; discussions with sub-district leaders, and; site

While tailored to the complexities of the Chunguancun Area and the
particularities of the Chinese development context, the proposed strategies
are more broadly relevant to any growing city that seeks to improve its
affordable housing stock within a predominantly market-driven paradigm.
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