The authors are at present engaged in a Swedish-Chinese interdisciplinary and crossectional project on housing and health in Beijing. This article is concerned with a literature review on the topic and general observations during two recent visits to China.

After some basic assumptions concerning high-rise dwellings, private space and life style, this paper contains explicit comparisons of the design, use and experience of traditional courtyard houses, flats in midrise and high-rise buildings as well as a comparisons of two vulnerable groups , i.e., children and elderly residents.

The article ends with a discussion, and the authors conclude that city planning without involvement of specialists from the field of psychological factors and environmental health (i.e., a matter not only of quantity but also of quality) will provide an inadequate environment for the development of children and care of the elderly