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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal for Housing Science and Its Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


House form is the result of various forces: economy, natural resources, political, social as well as culture. This paper sheds light on how economy and policy as well as culture act on house form through the study of evolution of house form in China, in which mass housing amounts the majority in the recent years. The paper first analyses the structure and origin of the traditional house (before AD 1840), which profoundly reflects the world view and family value of Chinese people. This house form shaped the concept of 'home' in Chinese mind for thousands of years. The second part illustrates the evolution in the modem age, from 1840 to 1949. Chinese culture underwent the drastic change because of the invasion of the western culture. Life style and house form faithfully record this collision of the cultures. The third part describes the housing development after the Communist took over in 1949. Although the socialism held that workers be allocated with nearly free housing, socialist China did not have sufficient money to sustain such high consumption welfare. Privacy was greatly jeopardised in those years. The fourth part examines the recent trend since 1977 of liberation and renaissance. The paper points out that the house form should be compatible with the economy and physical situation. Only correct policy can ensure this point.