2001 volume 33(10) pages 1741 – 1764

Cite as:
Wu F, 2001, "Housing provision under globalisation: a case study of Shanghai" Environment and Planning A 33(10) 1741 – 1764

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Housing provision under globalisation: a case study of Shanghai

Fulong Wu

Received 25 November 2000; in revised form 4 July 2001

Abstract. Housing provision in China has undergone significant changes since economic reform. In the early stage of reform the objective was to solve the problems that are internal to the socialist economy, namely unrecoverable housing investment and housing shortages. The state adopted policies to 'commodify' and 'decentralise' housing provision. The mode of provision was transformed from a centrally allocated budget to shared investment contributed by state work-units, local governments, and individual households. Since the 1990s Chinese cities have seen increased foreign investment in real estate development and consequently experienced an unprecedented building boom. Little is know about the impacts of globalisation on housing development. The purpose of this paper is to examine the changes in housing investment and to highlight the dilemma of housing 'commodification' in the process of globalisation. Specifically, foreign investment contributed to initial capital formation in real estate development and more importantly helped to create a marketised housing segment. The buoyant market price demonstrated the profitability of real estate, thus attracting more capital into housing development. The combined effect of marketisation and globalisation has led to increasing social spatial differentiation and inadequate housing provision to marginal social groups.

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