The location of low-rent houses should be selected carefully to avoid social problems in the future, says an article in China Youth Daily. The following is an excerpt:
During the national working conference on urban housing held two weeks ago, the authorities decided to take multiple measures to improve the low-rent housing system to cover more low-income families in cities. There are specific stipulations about the construction of low-rent houses - their size, numbers, and the source of funding.
With all these stipulations in place, we may see the rapid development of low-rent houses. However, one aspect has been missed in the stipulations - location. This must be selected carefully as it will play a vital role in the long-term development of a city.
Land in downtown areas of cities command high prices, if low-cost housing is to be built on such land, they will bring their value down, affecting a local government's coffers.
So most local governments will choose a location away from the city centre, where land is less expensive.
But such a location may give rise to a host of problems. Transportation may not be convenient, the infrastructure may be less developed and public facilities may be difficult to attain. Families living in such locations could face such problems and at a financial cost.
Many developed countries have built low-rent housing for needy families. Their experience could be of valuable help to Chinese cities.
Some European countries used to build low-rent houses in the suburbs. This resulted in families becoming increasingly detached from mainstream society. The policy is now being changed. French law requires developers to build a certain proportion of low-rent houses close to well-off communities.
(China Daily September 3, 2007)