chapter  11
From work-unit compounds to gated communities: housing inequality and residential segregation in transitional Beijing: Youqin Huang
Pages 27

Housing provision and consumption in Chinese cities have undergone profound changes since the nationwide launch of housing reform in 1988. While previously subsidized public housing is being privatized through massive sell-off, new private housing provided by developers (“commodity housing” or shang ping fang) has mushroomed. In the past, urban households had no choice but to wait for public rental housing, but now they can choose between rental and homeownership, and between public and private housing. With the newly granted freedom of housing choice and residential mobility, urban households in China began to be sifted and sorted socially, economically and spatially. A relatively homogeneous society organized around work-unit compounds in socialist urban China is evolving into one with significant stratification and segregation. Wealthy “gated communities” and dilapidated “migrant enclaves,” neither of which existed in the socialist era, are now emerging side by side in many Chinese cities.