Shenzhen has just released its 2018-2025 Comprehensive Plan for Urban Villages (Old Villages) 深圳市城中村总体规划（2018-2025). Here’s the long and short of it: Shenzhen has decided to suspend the demolition of designated urban villages and instead bring the housing stock and surrounding neighborhood shops into its affordable housing program.Those of you who along with me are lamenting the demolition of Hubei and the Luohu Culture Park are like, why couldn’t this have been released earlier?! Others may be wondering, what do the new regulations mean for Baishizhou? Well, the section designated for demolition has not been designated as part of the affordable housing program, so presumably this means that the first phase of demolition will begin sometime in the near future (although it seems to have been delay this entire year).
The difference between the new plan and previous redevelopment policies seems to hinge on the role of real estate / housing in the social order of things. Like the previous policies, the new plan continues to focus on bringing urban villages more fully into the urban apparatus and regularizing these spaces. However, where as the previous model had emphasized that this process could be achieved through real estate development, the new model emphasizes the city’s need for affordable urban housing.
Inquiring minds want to know: just who will this policy benefit? Through its “10,000 Villages” program, Vanke is well placed to take advantage of the new policy. Who else will enter this new market? At the same time, 10,000 Villages has focused on creating housing for single workers, rather than families. Does this mean that the villages will be upgraded into singleton housing? Or does the new policy mean that handshake apartments will be upgraded as low-income family housing?
That said, initial responses from ordinary folks have been positive: there is a large and relatively vocal demand for Shenzhen to provide affordable housing for its residents.