Affordable Housing Proposal / FCHA

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The strategy by FangCheng Architects for the affordable housing design in involves bringing the apartments outside the urban core. Their concept is to build as many affordable houses as possible in the urban center, which can decrease residents’ travelling time and increase usage and sharing of urban facilities. This strategy aims to improve social housing integration in the urban core which is done through building 6200 affordable housing units in the urban center. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The master plan for the 12th Five-Year-Plan for affordable housing in Shenzhen SEZ, CN Shenzhen government plans to raise funds to build 240.000 affordable housing units with an 15.36 million square meters construction area. However, in the current strategy, most of the affordable housing is planned to be built outside the urban center, and many are even in the urban fringe. In this case, due to travelling time, cost and sense of isolation from the urban center, residents adopt a negative attitude to the policy even though the housing price is low.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The total building area for affordable housing in Shenzhen in the 12th Five-Year-Plan consists of the entire landmass of Shenzhen bring 1953 sq. kilometers. This includes a 395.81 sq. kilometers special economic zone (SEZ). After thirty years of development, the utilization of land becomes more and more intensified, so how do we manage to build 15.36 million sq. meters for affordable housing under the land-contraction policy? And how to bring practical benefits to low-income groups who persistently make contributions to the city?

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The built area distribution map represents which manner this goal can be achieved Through analyzing the built distribution map what becomes obvious is that 20% is occupied by municipal roads. These municipal roads are wide with a beautiful artificial landscape along the sides which lend for future development and construction of urban space.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

According to the road wisth analysis, there are several primary distributor roads, such as Shennan, Beihuan and Binhai road, whom are wider than 50 meters, and wider than 100 meters including the greenbelts on either side. To some extent these roads increase efficiency, but from the sustainable utilization of land view, they divide the city into pieces with a single function. This causes the city to loose its comfortable human scale.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The city is divided into various regions that operate like isolated islands due to the increasing traffic flow on highways. Therefore, the city lacks a pedestrian system, which is currently not sustainable. We need to promote pedestrian and public traffic in order to enhance the connectivity to each region, the question will be: Is it possible to use affordable housing as a means to reach this goal and modify the city?

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The design proposal for affordable housing comes forth out of the city function typology study, which asked for several prototypes for a building. Our design of a “bridge building” encourages low-income habitants to live inside the urban-center and rebuilds the pedestrian traffic system for the whole city.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The proposal is neither the 10 thousand residents community nor the low-cost rental housing, but a city wide network which can increase the utilization of facilities, enhance the pedestrian system and provide a chance for residents to decrease travelling time to work. According to the land-use analysis, road-width, function distribution, urban density and height of the buildings running along the main traffic arteries we have come to 4 types of “bridge buildings”: single bridge, mega bridge, platform bridge and cascading bridge.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

This typology of the single bridge can be built in an area that needs flow separation, in this case Beihuan road is selected as testing site, and provides an opportunity to replace the pedestrian bridges that are situated every 200 meters. The first floor holds free rental space for peddlers which sell life necessities. Inside the building, there is a wide staircase linking the upper residential floors, which on it self are again connected through several atria which serve as semi-public space. As a whole this typology works like a micro-city.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

Along densely built, the mega bridge on Shennan road is located between the vast number of high-rise buildings. The area brings about a large group of workers, mega bridge unites this area by creating a single platform which link not only all the shared public facilities but also transportation, metro and bus, and weaves seamlessly into the existing structure and poses a mixed and differentiated architecture. The bridge will hold a diverse program including bookstore, cafe, restaurant, in order to attract, blend in and become a platform where people can enjoy a panoramic view of the urban landscape and become the living room of the city.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

During rush hour, between the modern high-rise of Chegongmiao and Xiasha Urban village along Binhai road, the current footbridge cannot satisfy the intensity of urban flow, therefore the platform bridge is placed in-between, as to provide a multiple linking connection. To prevent hinder to car traffic because of shade the bridge is punctured on key locations, this will at the same time make for an interesting view from the platform. Low income habitants can utilize the open space of the platform and share facilities with the densely populated urban village. Since housing prices will be low they will form a direct competition with the village and cause prices to drop.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The cascading bridge overlooks the Shenzhen coast along Binhai road and allows for amazing panoramic views, at the same time it makes for an easy access to the mangrove from the north and dismisses the need for parking. The bridge provides expect a view, a vast variety of outdoor activities like a basketball and tennis court, swimming pool and restaurant.

Courtesy of FangCheng Architects

The residents can choose according to his/her needs and conditions a unit composed of the standard module of 3*3*6m. Each bridge holds each kind combination of units to increase the diversity of habitants.

plan 01

To inform the future residents of the possibilities, software is created that can run on windows, mac and android. By filling in a form the app sees if you are eligible for an apartment, what kind of unit you can choose from, the level of the rent and which bridge is closer to your job. Our goal with this system is to make society aware of the possibilities, and encourage them to explore.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Affordable Housing Proposal / FCHA" 23 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • Carlos Araya

    pero como se les ocurre construir viviendas sobre una carretera? y la contaminacion? y el ruido?

    • Luise

      Cool design, very impressive

  • Tosh

    Awful design. Read Jane Jacobs.

  • Boris Lazarov

    It’s a nice idea, if we forget the fact that there are two 3-4 lane roads just below the buildings. It wouldn’t be nice fresh air when you open the window I guess..

  • san

    something that needs to be taken in consideration is that this is a design for one of the largest cities in China, this ain’t Europe or America. This design tries to help habitants with a suitable place in the heart of the city.
    The air quality in general is already low, and there ain’t no direct difference between living in the urban village against the highway or above it.
    Another notion is that China is making big efforts in using more electric powered vehicles what would destroy the notion of bad air quality or noise pollution.

    please read ‘Urban China’.

    • Caleb

      When the hybrid and electric cars fills the road more than petrol cars, then I think it will help… Not sure what would happen on the ground as the space become dark, hard to imagine the crime rate would be unaffected.

      In fact, density should still be developing upwards. Building like that really suggest dwelling with very low economic scale. Extremely poor Feng Shui design.

  • Darren

    This is a gimmicky response to a serious problem.

    The chinese government is hugely dependent on land sale and property transaction taxes (though Shenzhen is ahead of the game in terms of switching to more sustainable property taxes). So any affordable housing is increasingly pushed to the periphery- this is a good premise and a serious issue.

    Lots of barely legible diagrams here- how about an analysis of how much this would actually add to core urban density. Looks like very little. It would not be the same as living in an urban village beside a highway, these units are right on to of the cars in a city with seriously high car use mostly funneled into highways as block sizes are very large. Shenzhen has relatively low urban density compared to large US or European cities, tiny compared to HK. Yet none of those cities have found the need to house their poor overpass ghettos. At least not on purpose… The problem is building high and cheap without building with sufficient density of blocks or streets, but I guess that’s not as good copy.

  • profiles

    You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually something which I feel I’d never understand. It seems too complex and extremely wide for me. I’m taking a look forward on your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get the cling of it!