Mortgage slaves work hard for half of their lives and save up for the down payment, then work hard for the rest of their lives to pay off the loan. Finally when they can relax and live as home owners, they never have thought that when the mortgage salves are not yet old, the homes are already old, not only old, but also rotted, most of them become the subject for demolition. This is the reality of what currently more than 100 million Chinese mortgage slaves had to face.
According to Deputy Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxin (仇保兴) at the Sixth International Green building and Energy Conservation General Assembly, China has the most new buildings in the world in each year, the newly constructed area in each year is about 2 billion square meters, equivalent to 40% of the world consumption o f cement and steel, however they can only last 25-30 years.
What a concept, Most of the constructions in China only have the life span of 25-30 years, after 30 years they will become a pile of garbage or dangerous building or subject of urban renewal and transformation. Normally the loan for a home is 20 -30 years, before you can finish paying the loan your home is already exhausted, what tragedy it is? Working hard for your whole life for the government, banks and developers, in then end your youth is gone, money has been lost and home will be destroyed. If what Minister Qiu said is true, then it is no doubt a great tragedy for all the mortgage slaves.
Whether what Minister Qiu said is true, we are unclear from a national perspective, however looking at Shenzhen perhaps what Qiu said is too modest. Buildings in Shenzhen seem to have even lower average life expectancy, less than 20 years. Taking Huatai residential district and Jianye residential district in Futian District as examples, built in the 90s, less than 20 years old, but these buildings’ lives are coming to an end and are subjected to be rebuilt.
In a general review of the constructions in Shenzhen, how many buildings over 20 years of age still remain strong and bright? Especially the residential and civil constructions are in an even more worrying situation. Of course most of the buildings over 30 years of age have been included in the Shenzhen Museum, became the antiques of Shenzhen. And right now, Shenzhen’s constructions are far ahead of China’s inland cities, but even so, 20-30 years is the end of the buildings’ lives, is Shenzhen becoming the city that has a shorter building lifespan?
Reclamation District’s tragedy: buildings are sinking, a sinking Manhattan?
If wasn’t for the media exposure, many people still yearn for the life facing the ocean in the reclamation district in Shenzhen. Now less than 10 years of land filling, many high-rises one after another stood tall in the reclamation district. Even though they are enjoying every beautiful day like the spring, the foundations are unstable, some are even in danger of collages. Would you continue to yearn for the life by the ocean there? The ocean sway towards you, the land underneath is also swaying.
The root cause of foundations built on in Baoan District subsided has to do with the problem with foundation of reclamation district being unstable, but after 10 years, the reclamation district still has such risk. Even in Hong Kong, the reclamation area was rebuilt by the government after 20 years of sinking. In the central area of Baoan, constrictions on the landfill is less than 10 years, in the Back Bay is less than 8 years, if start building in the Front Bay also, the time is even less. This kind of foundation, is it not worrisome? Are we building a sinking Manhattan? The foundation of central area of Baoan is sinking; its value is sinking, how long until the Back Bay sinks too?
It this really true?
See the article from China Daily on this issue.
However someone was skeptical about this claim and posted his argument on KDNet translated by ESWN.
Could Qiu Baoxing really have said that? On March 30, the Economic Observer website reported on Qiu Baoxing’s speech at the Sixth International Green Building and Energy Conservation Conference:
[in translation] Qiu Baoxing said that China is the country which constructs the largest number of new buildings per year in the world, accounting for about 40% of all new construction and thus using up 40% of the cement and steel in the world. "This is due to the rapid construction during the rapid urbanization of our country. This process will last for another 25 to 30 years. For this reason, all new construction must adhere to the 50% energy conservation standard."
You can imagine for yourself. If the English-language report was correct in that Chinese buildings have an average lifespan of 30 years, then many of the buildings that were constructed in 1980 or before must be basically gone? While some of those buildings have been torn down and rebuilt, they are only a small proportion. It is mostly the very old buildings that are being torn down in the cities for rebuilding.
The quality of housing construction in China leaves a lot to be desired, and housing prices are indeed ridiculously high. But most of the houses in China should last more than 30 years. I understand that what I am saying here may upset certain people. Therefore I gave careful consideration, but I thought that I have to say this! We supervise/monitor our government and we hold them accountable because it is our right to do so. But our criticisms ought to be based upon a credible, reasonable and factual basis. Otherwise, this is just going to give certain people the excuse to restrict freedom of speech on the Internet!
See complete translation on ESWN.