The housing problem has been one of Shanghai's most serious social problem. A survey in
1985 showed that nearly half of the city's 1.8 million households were in overcrowded
conditions. 216,000 households had an average per capita living space under 4 square
meters, over 15,200 of those households had less than 2 square meters. Shanghai
Municipality had begun to implement the Housing Settlement Project in 1987, setting up a
joint Commission to solve the city's housing problems. A subsdiary organisation, Shanghai
Municipal Housing Relief Office has been in charge of day-to-day operations.
Today, the city has resettled over 47,000 households living in houses under 2.5 square
meters. The municipality and work units spent 1.8 billion yuan on the project, creating
1.8 million square meters of housing for overcrowded households. A number of new
residential areas were established. Meanwhile, in the course of the city's infrastructure
and urban renewal projects, many households with inadequate living space have been
resettled. At present, the resettling of 74,000 households living in homes less than 4
square meters is underway, this project will be finished before the year 2,000.
1. Housing situation before the implementation of the project
In recent years, the international metropolis of Shanghai has experienced rapid
industrial development and a fast growing of urban population. This has left Shanghai with
housing shortage more serious than in other large cities across China. By the year 1985,
Shanghai claimed a population of 7.21 million. The average population density in downtown
area was 40,000 persons/km2, and in densely populated downtown area was 160,000
persons/km2. Nearly 50% of urban households were short of adequate living space.
In order to solve the housing problems, Shanghai Municipality had lunched a series of
housing projects, building up a number of residential zones including Cao Yang, Hu Tai,
Lin Xia, Peng Pu. However, a large -scale of housing survey in 1985 showed that nearly 1/2
of the city's 1.8 million househplds were living in overcrowded conditions. 216,000
households has an average per capita living space under 4 square meters, over 15,200 of
those households had less than 2 square meters. These families endured in overcrowded
living conditions in shacks, slums or attics. At times four generations were living in one
house. The housing problem had become one of Shanghai's most serious social problems.
2. Present situation after the implementation of the project
According to the goal: "adequate shelter for all", Shanghai Municipality had
begun to implement the Housing Settlemnet Project in 1987, setting up a joint Commission
to solve the city's housing problems. Led by the Vice-mayor, the commission would be
responsible for approving and balancing plans, distributing housing resources and funds
for housing settlement in Shanghai. A subsidiary organization, Shanghai Municipal Housing
Relief Office would be in charge of Day-to-day operations working with the appropriate
departments to implement for the whole city's housing settlement policiies, classifying
households in need according to income level, coordinating land supply and mortgage loans
through a work unit housing fund collecting and arranging affordable housing property
developers every year and coordinating and directing housing settlement matters for
citywide organizations and departments. 150 bureaux and 4,500 of the housing relief agency
have been set up across the city over 15,000 staff members. Since the founding of Shanghai
Municipal Housing Relief Office in 1987, the city has resettled over 47,000 households
living in homes under 2.5 square meters. The municipality and work units spent 1.8 billion
yuan on the project, creating 1.8 million square meters of housing for overcrowded
households. A number of new residential areas were established including Shi Guang, Guo He
and Kang Jian . Meanwhile, Shanghai had witnessed a boom in housing construction from 4.86
milion square meters in 1987 to 8.73 million square meters in 1994.
In the course of the city's infrastructure and urban renewal projects, many households
with inadequate living space have been resettled. But to date, over 74,000 households
still living in homes less than 4 square meters need to be resettled before the year 2000.
3. Measures and effects of the project
The municipal government has laid out concrete objectives, scopes, steps and measures
at different stages of the housing relief project.
The objective was set-- by the year 2000, Shanghainese would enjoy a per capita living
space of 10 square meters between 1988 and 1989, over 15,000 households less than 2 square
meters per person were resettled. And in 1991-1992, nearly 30,000 households with an
average living space of under 2.5 square meters per person were resettled. Households with
an average per capita living space under 4 square meters will be resettled between 1995
and the year 2000.
Families to be resettled would include- residents who have permenant residence permits in
the city proper, whether employed, retired or unemployed.
The plan would involve several steps--first households in need would register, then the
work units would work out a settlement plan. Households short of living space would be
divided into high, middle and low income groups. The size of a figure based on the bread
winner's salary and his family. The income level would be adjusted every year.
Then a solution would be worked out according to the households' varying appropriate
income levels. The higher-income households buy their own houses or apartments on the
property market, middle and low income households could either buy non-profit housing from
the government or their employers or simply rent public housing. Households with special
financial difficulties would be subsidized by the municipal and district government.
The following measures were implemented to realize the plan:
a. land planning
The Municipal Construction Commission would be reponsible for land appropriation and
arrangement in order to balance housing quantities and land supply.
b. Fund raising
Housing construction funds would be mainly from housing provident fund, sales revenue of
existing public housing, housing constuction fund of work units, households' savings,
subsidy from municipal and district government, loans from finacial institutions.
c. stock arrangement
All work units would be required to give priority to households short of living space. All
those residential housing built under the home ownership project would be reserved for
families in overcrowded conditions. All property developers would be expected to set aside
20% of their floor space for sale to households in need.
d. housing cooperatives
Housing cooperatives would be organized for those work units supporting many households
short of living space.
47,029 poor-housed households resettled
The process of Shanghai housing settlement project is also the process of the housing
system reform in Shanghai. The policy has developed from distributing low-rent housing to
selling affordable housing to individual, from housing solutions being determined by the
government and work units to a policy of weder social involvement relief, from a unified
housing settlement policy and method to a diversified system considering the varying
income levels of household in need of resettlement.
The practice and experience of housing settlement in Shanghai were affirmed and spread by
national government. In May of 1993, the Shanghai Municipal Housing Relief Office was
named "model institution of national housing settlement" by the Ministry of
Construction. It has also been awarded certificates of Merit from the Shanghai Municipal
Government 6 times since 1988. A research report"implementing outline for a new
housing resettlement" by the office was awarded the prize of Achievement in
Decision-making and Consultancy Research by Shanghai Municipality in 1995.
But residential housing still remains a problem in Shanghai. Following the resettlement of
households sharing a living space under 2 square meters and 2.5 sqare meters per person,
the resettlement of households with an average per capita living space under 4 square
meters is currently under way. The social impact of this project is profound. Housing
settlement project is well supported by the Shanghai people, and regarded as a benevolent
policy on the part of Shanghai Municipality.
Since the housing settlement project was implemented, theliving conditions and envrionment
of these households have been measurably improved. The resolution of the housing shortage
will not only promote social development and stability, but also motivate employees to be
more productive, resulting in social and economic benefits. As Shanghai continues to
implement its housing project, the city's housing shortage problems is sure to become a
thing of the past.
Shanghai Housing Settlement Project Office
Mr. Li Siming
No.170, Jiangxizhong Road
Ministry of Construction
Mr. Xia Keqiang
No.200, Renmin Avenue,
Shanghai Municipal government
The committee for Shanghai housing settlement conference