Green Home for Whom? Estimating Green Housing Opportunities of Various Socio-Economic Groups in Nanjing China

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:45 PM
Room: 422
Distributed Paper
Hong HU , Utrecht University, Netherlands
Although sustainability is considered an integration of society, economy, and environment, it is criticized that the concept of sustainable city is not necessarily accessible or affordable to the majority. The improvement of the quality of life after sustainable plans leads to a significant market premium which can only be afforded by the minority rich. Take Nanjing China as an example. In the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial city, Nanjing government attempts to build a sustainable city by constructing green apartments, improving metro networks, and replacing heavy industrial lands. However, the current green apartment buildings are mainly built in places with good accessibility and neighbourhood quality. The high prices make green apartments as a symbol of luxury for the upper-middle class. To involve different socio-economic groups in developing a sustainable city, it is essential to understand the role of housing affordability playing in it. This article estimates green housing opportunities of various socio-economic groups in Nanjing China according to their affordability and housing preferences. It analyses the effects of sustainable plans on housing opportunities by comparing three urban development circumstances: the current situation, after improvement of the metro network, and after relocation of heavy industry. Results indicate that in the current circumstance, the lower-middle class has slim chance to have a green home across the city. The improvement of metro network can increase the green housing chances for the lower-middle class in the central areas only if they sacrifice their housing size. The relocation of heavy industry can dramatically increase the green housing opportunities of the upper-middle class in the central urban areas, but will push the lower-middle and middle class moving to the suburbs due to the high prices. To ensure social equity in developing a sustainable city, policy makers need to consider affordability and sustainability simultaneously.