Why do Chinese build houses in such a crowded style?
Magnus W. Magnusson,
Why do most (all?) people here answer by pointing out that actually other countries build just as crowded places? That does not answer the question at all. The question was, why do Chinese build like this (even if others maybe build in a similar style)?
Firstly, one has to compare apples with apples. Residential houses in China belong to the rich. With that kind of money, in the US or Europe you would expect to have a bigger garden space around your house. I am living in a 'compound' in China where the vehicle of choice is a 7 series BMW or a Hummer. Yet the size of the housing plots does not reflect that. In Shanghai you can also find compounds which have amazing, castle like houses of over 1000m2 floor area, yet they usually sit not in a park-like garden but on a very small plot of land.
My wife (who is Chinese), told me that Chinese do not like to live too far apart from others, it does not make them feel comfortable. I do not know if this is the right explanation but it is the only one which I know so far.
Also developers do not sell gardens as a value proposition. Advertisements for individual houses always highlight floor space and cost per m2 of floor space. The total size of the plot comes as a second thought only. Therefore the developer has no incentive to build houses with large gardens. Rather he tries to squeeze as many villas as possible into the given space.
Amanda On, Chinese-American
You call THAT crowded?
Here's what a typical American suburb looks like:
Here's what a typical British suburb looks like:
(If that looks spacious, don't be misled -- a typical suburban American house, with its plenty of land area and floor area, would go for millions of pounds in Britain. The houses in this picture are actually pretty small).
I think you get the point. Those houses in your picture actually have lots of space in between. And from what I can see, those are pretty big houses too.
Jacob Gadikian, Left China until go nment regains its sanity regarding the Internet
So I suspect that this is an innocent question, so I am going to roll with it. The Chinese build dense housing because there are LOTS of Chinese. In fact, this photo does not show dense living conditions in China at all, so I'd like to give a correction: （图）
That is a dense area in China, not what your photo showed. And you know what? The quality of life in cities like the one shown here (Shenzhen) is phenomenal. I'm sure that China will get pollution under control at some point sooner than later, and it'll be even more phenomenal. About depression, did you know that because of people in big cities frequent contact with others that they're less likely to get depressed?
Yusei Watanabe, Born as a mixed Chinese-Japanese
10 years ago I had the chance to be the editor of a team making a video for the President of China on the proposed growth pattern of China. Out of many things, we proposed that for cities to grow efficiently, in terms of power consumption, maximising resource, accessibility of civic structures, property value etc, China needs to grow up, not out to maximize resources and create land value. But I think most policy makers already know that and it is not anything new. Singapore is another city that is crowded and builds upwards, because they have no space. In terms of go nmental decision, building upwards makes a lot of sense. That applies to cities and not suburbs, but the advantages applies.
But like many other answers to debunk your assertion that "Chinese build houses in such a crowd style", it doesnt seem to be true when compared to suburbs in Japan, france, america etc etc. If anything, I found Chinese suburbs to be quite spaced out.
Close proximity may not equate to depression as well for Asians, who were brought up with different family values and thus many feel that living in proximity is comforting. I grew up in Malaysia is a bungalow. When my siblings left for college, I had the upper floor all to myself. Now, I stay with my wife in Singapore and there's 7 of us in a small 800ft apartment but there's more joy and warmth. I also have a friend who lives in a 5 story mansion. It is so big that if she forgets her hand phone in one part of the house, she would take a long time to find it. When she was young she grew up in a 500ft apartment and felt that it provided more family unity than now. She grew more depressed and empty as a result. So here's 2 examples where closer proximity is more appreciated.
As others have mentioned, that picture is not one of the crowded places in China. I think high rise apartments make up the bulk of Chinse residencies as others have shown in posted pictures (including Wuhan).
But to go back to your question, one thing I find about Chinese, and indeed most east Asian cultures, is that they live much of their lives outside the home. Individuality is less (although increasing as they take on western culture), whereas community seems stronger.
In the west we tend to buy our own possessions and enjoy them in our own homes. It is not uncommon for westerners to not really know even their neighbours. Therefore we need bigger houses where we spend much of our lives and hold our many sources of entertainment. The houses in China I have visited or stayed in were small and their amount of possessions much less than what I have experienced in a western house. But the streets are full of activity with much of the population staying out until almost bedtime.
Many Chinese University students that come to my country, Australia, to study are aghast at the lack of activity on the street and find it threatening.
Also the general economic conditions add to this. Smaller houses are cheaper as is a more communal society.
There are advantages and disadvantages in these different types of society. Being an outsider in a communal society can be living hell. But too much individualism creates its own problems too.
It is hard to see China going to a more western style housing on a large scale with a population so massive, but many more of them are doing it. Some suburbs are even exact copies of western ones.
The houses are equally distributed, creating the impression of consistent ground coverage with very few breaks in the coverage such as parks or lakes. However, they are anything but crowded! In the UK, in an area the size depicted in that photo, you would probably have at least one park or playground breaking up the consistency of coverage. However, the houses themselves would be much smaller and much more closely packed than in that photo. Even on modern housing estates in Britain, there are huge numbers of terraced houses. Long rows of small houses literally attached to each other. Most British people would probably consider what you have posted there as a preferable place to live, perhaps even luxury, rather than viewing it as "crowded" or "depressing". That's not to say that China doesn't have its fair share of crowded and depressing places - the huge tenement blocks of people living literally on top of each other (which still aren't that unusual for lots of Western cities as well) would be a better example of crowded living than the photo you posted there.
Sandy Praharsha, MBBS, MSc Global Health, University of Glasgow
Here's a suburb in Sydney, Australia
Here's a suburb in New Zeland
New Zealand and Australia have much smaller populations than UK considering their sizes.
Look buddy, I'm not an expert in the subject but I believe that a bird's eye view makes houses and buildings appear smaller and clustered together. I believe any sane person would agree with me on this. It doesn't mean they're "crowded" and the people are definitely not "depressed".
Because they are smart enough not to build homes on land that is far more valuable for crops perhaps?
One of the most idiotic things I've in the US is prime crop land turned into ugly urban sprawl with cloned tract homes, wetlands, pastureland, woodlands, and such drained, trees clear cut to be replaced with tidy little trees and bushes, grazing land plowed under and lawns planted. Then ugly boxes erected so people can watch another box at night while eating food that came in a box and nuked in another box, then drive off in a box on wheels to other boxes, and eat out boxes again at lunch.
And call this a good thing, good investment, good life. All that useless empty space is now useful covered in boxes, sod, lawn chemicals, the sound of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, air conditioners, traffic. Bleh!
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49591.html 译者：Joyceliu
Luiz Giaconi, Journalist from São Paulo.
Depressed? Living there?
I live in São Paulo, in a 65 m² apartment, in a nice neighborhood, in the west side of the town.
Millions of people here live in places like this:
That is Heliópolis, located in the southeast side of SP. One of our biggest favelas. Or slums, as you call it. And we are in the richest city, in the richest state of the country.
Just google about housing in Maranhão or Piaui. That's really depressing.
Go figure. I'd love to live in one of those Chinese houses.
And I bet everybody in Heliópolis also would love.
Peter Elliott, Me in a Dandong cafe with a crap North Korean cigarette
There’s a lot of great answers here.
And another perspective - I lived in Dalian (now 8 million pop) for 3 years and married a local, go to stay with the family every year.
Their focus is NOT the house or apartment. That’s just a place to sleep and sometimes eat, hang out with family a bit, change clothes between fun things. Most of the time we were out and about to nice restaurants, spas, shopping centres and being handy to those places (super bad traffic) was more important than a bit of lawn or a tree.
Having said that, there is status to having a villa on a bit of land in the city but it’s not about the land, just the cost of it.