Evaluating social sustainability of urban housing demolition in Shanghai

Tao Yu, Geoffrey Q.P. Shen, Qian Shi, Wei Zheng, Ge Wang, Kexi Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In China, urban housing demolition increasingly challenges the maintenance of social sustainability. Social sustainability is a multi-dimensional concept that contains complex implications. Therefore, an assessment system that considers a range of key social indicators could substantially simplify this concept and improve decision-making pertaining to sustainability practices. However, no such system exists in studies on housing demolition. To bridge this gap, this study sought to develop an assessment system for measuring the social sustainability of urban housing demolition. Firstly, an interview-based pilot study was conducted with scholars and practitioners to develop an optional list of indicators that reflect social sustainability. Subsequently, these indicators were validated via focus group meetings with key stakeholders in housing demolition programs. In addition, a two-wave questionnaire was designed to collect data to quantitatively analyze these sustainability indicators. Based on the questionnaire data, the indicators were ranked according to their relative importance and classified into five categories. Finally, the score of social sustainability of Shanghai was calculated to examine the impact of current housing demolition practices. The results showed that health and safety, social equality, and adherence to the law were the most critical dimensions that determined the social sustainability of urban housing demolition in Shanghai. The authors also found that to achieve greater social sustainability, existing housing demolition practices should be modified to reduce the negative impacts on the daily lives of residents that lived near demolition sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-40
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date16 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


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