Minhang addresses housing needs of young people

Song Shiqing Huang Yongdi Yang Yang
Minhang District's ideas to meet the housing demands of young people and new residents have received widespread acceptance and acknowledgment from government officials.
Song Shiqing Huang Yongdi Yang Yang
Minhang addresses housing needs of young people
Ti Gong

The New Era Builders and Managers Home, a rental housing guarantee space in Maqiao Town

Minhang District has made it a priority to specifically address housing needs, particularly among young people and new residents, and its solutions have received approval and recognition from higher officials.

When Liu Ao, a college graduate, began looking for a place to live in 2021, he had in mind a single-person apartment that could accommodate both him and his eight cats. The rent also had to be low because he was a pet dietitian and his salary was meager.

The same year, Vlinker, a Shanghai rental housing company, purchased six vacant former factory dorm buildings near the Shendu Highway Subway Station and converted them into "the biggest affordable and government-subsidized rental housing community in Shanghai" in 2022.

As a result, Liu was able to live in a nicely decorated single-person apartment and made acquaintances with neighbors who were also a group of hardworking young people.

The youth community at 29-30, Lane 131 Kanghua Road in Pujiang Town has 3,116 rental units in six buildings and an occupancy rate of more than 96 percent.

Its flagship apartment is a one-bedroom unit with an independent kitchen and bathroom and a floor area of 20-30 square meters. Flats and lofts are also viable options. Its tenants are primarily young workers aged 21 to 28. Among them, 85 percent of them have bachelor's degrees or higher.

The majority of the units rent for around 2,000 yuan (US$279) per month, with some exceeding 3,000 yuan. Refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and water heaters are provided in the suites.

"Renting a place to live has been a pain in the neck for Shanghai drifter college graduates," said Chen Wen, brand director of Vlinker. "An entry-level job for them pays between 5,000 and 8,000 yuan on average. If they are willing to pay one-third of the maximum rental fee, their affordable rental charge is around 2,000-3,000 yuan."

'Echo Garden'

In addition to accepting payments from an individual's housing public accumulation fund, the youth community provides targeted butler service to collect feedback, shuttle bus service, shared kitchen, public sitting rooms, gyms, study rooms, bookstores, shared laundry and billiard rooms.

The group of 20-somethings is also spiritually uplifted in their community.

Someone recommended creating a more natural environment last year. The young people were then given a vacant plot on which to develop a common garden. They created a small concrete path and planted roses, hydrangeas and sages along it. At its entrance and exit, there is an arch decorated with flowers.

The area was dubbed "Echo Garden" by the group, who believe that the city of Shanghai responds to its inhabitants.

Minhang addresses housing needs of young people
Ti Gong

Vlinker in Pujiang Town was the biggest government-subsidized rental housing community in Shanghai when it was opened in 2022.

Minhang addresses housing needs of young people
Ti Gong

Visit by a special guest

Before night fell on November 29 last year, a government-subsidized rental housing area on Zhongqing Road in Maqiao Town welcomed a special guest.

President Xi Jinping visited and talked with tenants of the New Era Builders and Managers Home, a rental housing guarantee space tailored for accommodating workers from the city's key public service sectors, including infrastructure engineering, sanitation, greenery, delivery service and medical care.

The space is located on the first through fifth floors of the No. 5 Building of a branch of Youth International Apartment Community. It has a total of 440 dormitory beds in its 138 suites and the average coverage of the suites each is 35 square meters.

Rental fees for a four-bed dorm is 500 yuan per person monthly and that for a two-bed dorm is 900 yuan per person monthly. All the rooms are well-equipped. There are basketball and badminton courts outside, and a children's playground.

It has accommodated 249 tenants who work as security personnel, greenery, sanitation, housekeeping, repair and maintenance, construction workers and health care staff.

Qian Lili and her colleague Yi Xiuqin live in a two-bed dorm in room 117. Qian is from Jiangsu Province and works at Maqiao Nursing Home.

She now bikes to work and reaches her workplace in 15 minutes.

Wu Tao and his housemates Su Yuanbao and Zhang Songwei live in room 118.

Wu, who was born in 1998 and is from Anhui Province, works for a property management company.

They were reading books and chatting when they heard a knock on the door and were surprised to see President Xi and shook hands with them.

"He asked me whether I had a girlfriend yet. And I said, 'Not yet, but there might be one at some point,'" Wu recalled.

The shared kitchen in the space has six stoves in two rows and two tables and chairs. Washing machines in the shared laundry include an additional drying function.

The common bathroom is useful if the restrooms in 4-bed dorms are filled up.

The shared reading room provides a quiet space for bookworms. A public phone booth has been set up for tenants to hold private conversations with family members back home without disturbing their roommates while they sleep.

Minhang has authorized 65,000 suites of cheap and government-subsidized rental homes so far, with 44,000 now available in the market.

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