Chinese cities have experienced an unprecedented housing boom in recent decades, with massive investment in new private housing – “commodity housing” (shang pin fang). Consequently, housing consumption has increased signifi cantly in Chinese cities; the rate of homeownership skyrocketed from 20 per cent in the 1980s to 70 per cent in 2010, and per capita residential fl oor space increased from 4 m 2 to 29 m 2 during the same period (NBSC, 2011 ; Huang and Clark, 2002 ). Yet this unprecedented housing improvement is not necessarily shared by all social groups. Housing poverty and residential crowding remain acute especially among lowincome households. In 2005, 7.4 per cent of urban households experienced severe crowding with per capita living space less than 8 m 2 (Ni and Yi, 2009 ). Meanwhile, housing price has been rising rapidly, with the national average price of “commodity housing” more than doubled ( Figure 7.1 ). The lack of decent and affordable housing especially among low-income households has become an increasingly acute problem and is threatening social and political stability in China.