This issue of A+BE addresses two critical urban issues China faces today: housing and urban renewal. In the recent two decades, the Chinese urban housing stock underwent a significant, if not extreme, transformation. From 1949 to 1998, the urban housing stock in China largely depended on the public sector, and a large amount of public housing areas were developed under the socialistic public housing system in Beijing and other Chinese cities. Yet in 1998, a radical housing reform stopped this housing system. Thus, most of the public housing stock was privatized and the urban housing provision was conferred to the market.
The radical housing privatization and marketization did not really resolve but intensified the housing problem. Along with the high-speed urbanization, the alienated, capitalized and speculative housing stock caused a series of social and spatial problems. The Chinese government therefore attempted to reestablish the social housing system in 2007. However, the unbalanced structure of the Chinese urban housing stock has not been considerably optimized and the housing problem is still one of the most critical challenges in China.