Great Problems, Great Minds Seminar Series: Housing Production and the Structural Changes in China’s Real Estate Development Industry



Join the Social Science’s Colloquium at the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Lan Deng, a professor of urban and regional planning in Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, who will give a presentation on “Housing Production and the Structural Changes in China’s Real Estate Development Industry.” This event is open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, November 7, from 3:15–4:30 p.m. over Zoom.


This talk examines the relationship between housing production and the structural changes that have occurred in China’s real estate development industry. The research first identifies how the industry has changed in the past two decades and what factors were driving those changes. The real estate development industry in China has become increasingly concentrated, with large firms accounting for a growing share of the country’s housing development activities. This is mostly due to the advantages large firms enjoy in China, such as access to low-cost capital and an open land market system with public land ownership that facilitates their expansion across markets. Next, an empirical analysis of 35 major Chinese cities shows that local housing production remains decentralized, with few firms dominating local housing markets. Statistical tests have revealed that this is due primarily to China’s rapidly rising land cost, which has discouraged local industry concentration. These findings have important implications for understanding Chinese housing markets and the broader economy.


In addition to being a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan, Lan Deng also serves as the North American editor for the international journal, Housing Studies. Deng has been studying housing in both the United States and China. Her research examines the different types of interventions the two countries have developed to ensure adequate housing and suitable living environments for their residents. In the U.S., the interventions she studied included major government housing programs, as well as community-based initiatives. Deng’s China research examines the evolving state and market relationship in shaping the country’s housing system. She has published scholarly articles on these areas in top journals, such as the Journal of Planning Literature, Journal of Planning Education and Research, and Housing Policy Debates. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Brick Industry Association. Deng received her Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.S. and B.S. from Peking University, China.

“Housing Production and the Structural Changes in China’s Real Estate Development Industry” is part of the Social Sciences Colloquium of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Associate Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at

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