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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2003): Social Housing - Overseas

CHINA'S URBAN HOUSING REFORM: RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS AND NEW INEQUITIES

Y. Zhao and S.C. Bourassa

Housing Studies, vol.18, 2003, p.721-744

Prior to the 1980s, subsidised housing was provided by work units for their employees in urban China. This system brought three problems: housing shortages, corruption and inequities. Paper analyses urban housing reform in the 1990s using the city of Jinan as a case study. Finds that, after many years of effort, housing reform in Jinan has made considerable progress, but mostly with respect to privatisation. The problem of housing shortages has been addressed and overcrowding has lessened considerably. Anecdotal evidence suggests that corruption is less widespread than in the past. Inequity, however, persists due to the continued role of work units in housing provision. Some powerful work units have earned considerable profits and have been able to construct high quality housing for their employees, while other less successful work units have been unable to improve staff housing. Suggests that this inequity should be addressed by the provision of subsidised public housing.

HOUSING AS A FREEDOM RIGHT

P. King

Housing Studies, vol. 18, 2003, p.661-672

Paper argues that housing can be seen as a fundamental human right and essential to human flourishing. It concludes by suggesting, in general terms, the importance of this discussion to housing policy.

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