Planning of public housing in modern Tianjin (1928–1945)

Yanchen Sun, Carola Hein, Kun Song

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    European, American, and Japanese debates on public housing served as models for those in modern China, and Chinese scholars and professionals, with the support of the KMT (Kuomintang), developed public housing as a sign of innovation in both societal reform and building typology. Using the under-researched case of Tianjin's public housing during the so-called Nanjing Decade (1928–1937) and then again during the Japanese Occupation (1937–1945) as case studies, the paper first explores how journals, books, and foreign-trained Chinese scholars introduced the concept of public housing to China. It then examines five public housing projects that municipal authorities developed for Tianjin, two in the Nanjing Decade and three during the Japanese Occupation. Analysing the sites, architectural designs, and management rules of these projects, the paper argues that the projects in the Nanjing Decade (both planned and realized) mostly targeted poor families, serving to simultaneously solve housing problems, reform society, and police the poor; while the projects during the Japanese Occupation benefited high-income people or the Japanese, and did not play a role in the relief of the local poor, who suffered most from the housing shortage.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-24
    JournalPlanning Perspectives: an international journal of history, planning and the environment
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2017


    • Japanese occupation
    • modern Tianjin
    • Nanjing decade
    • Public housing
    • societal reform

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