In my Chinese class this semester, I had to do a presentation on a current cultural topic. I chose the housing crisis in China. China used to have a public housing system – all housing was owned by the government, and rent was due to the state. But the financial burden of building and maintaining housing for all of China’s residents became too great, and so in the 90s the government implemented a plan to change to a public housing system. People still couldn’t own land, only rent it from the government for a 70-year period.
Now, however, China has a new problem: with the housing market boom has come an increase in financial prosperity for residents. Houses are getting more and more extravagant, and as a result more and more expensive. It’ s becoming difficult for medium-income people to afford housing. The government plans to, by 2020, encourage housing developments to create housing that has fewer square footage and costs less.
Overall, though, the change to private housing has a net gain. The average living space per person before the change was 3 square meters, and the conditions were horrible. Now, conditions have improved greatly, and the living space is 17 square meters per person.
I look forward to seeing how this information impacts my lens of housing and life in China while I’m there next semester.