A collaborative joint research project is being conducted by the Housing Research Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University aimed at documenting the major stages of housing development in modern China from 1911 to the present. At present it is divided into three parts. The first considers modern housing development in the early stage of development of industrialization in China, from the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 until the end of the civil war in 1949. The second considers the rise and fall of the welfare housing system in China, during the period of Mao Zedong, from 1949 until 1978. The third considers recent reforms and housing developments since China's historic opening to the west under Deng Xiaoping, followed by the present regime of Jiang Zemin, covering the period from 1978 to date. Key examples of housing from these periods are drawn from field research and documentation, as well as from archival records.
The research, scheduled to be completed in 1999, will culminate in a bilingual monograph. The principal investigators for the project are professors L Junhua and Zhang Jie at Tsinghua and Professor Peter Rowe at Harvard.