"China's "greatest ressuree," the human has presented the architecturalprofession with its greatest challenge: the planning and designing of urbanhousing to accommodate the ever growing population.Handicapped by a nation-wide shortage of architects and planners in itsstate-run design and planning institutes, and constrained by a lack of capi-tals for construction investment, the government's ability to provide equi-table housing for its urban dwellers lags far behind.The proposed paper will present several scenarios in which human ingenui-ty of the inhabitants has played a role to alleviate some of the problems.Only one seenario involved the participation of professional architects andplanners. But the scheme missed several culturally sensitive considera-tions and was met with resistance. The case studies were undertaken in1985 in Suzhou, a medium-size city located in the prosperous YangtsuRiver Delta region of Southeastern China. Photographs and diagrams willillustrate the paper when appropriate.EPISODE ONE describes the transformation of the traditional urban housefrom one-family occupancy to multi-family use. This form of transforma-tion is widespread and common in China today. The recorded case in Suzhoucan be seen as a typical example in which a single family court-yard com-plex of the past has now been subdivided into the living units of some twen-ty-six households of average size. Issues discussed in this generic case willinclude: criteria for the minimum livable space, communal spaces for col-lective living, and human and physical factors for design in terms of publichealth, amenity and privacy. EPISODE TWO reports on Suzhou's citizen housing exchange activities, aunique Chinese invention. Since there is no vacant housing available in thecity, or elsewhere in China today, the only viable way of relocating one'sliving quarter is to trade it with those families that share the same degire.Information on prospective houses for trade are posted at the office ofHouse-Exchange Bureau, a quasi governmental agency which oversees thehousing exchange program. It is a free-wheeling process. Participants areresponsible for making thier own negolitations which, in some cases, wouldtake months to make a deal. The role of the House-Exchange Bureau is nomore than helping participants formalize the exchange agreement.EPISODE THREE analyzes the decision to institute a height limit on new con-structions in Suzhou's historical urban district and establish new residen-tial villages In the city's west suburb. Despite improved amenities andgreater floor spaces per person at the new housing district, most citizensopted to remain in the urban center for the sentimentality and history of theplace.EPISODE ONE represents successful short-term responses to a major"crisis"; EPISODE TWO demonstrates the benefits of a thoughtful organiza-tion of (existing) resource management; EPISODE THREE displays the fail-ure of applying modern (Western) planning principles in an Eastern context. Is EPISODE FOUR on the horizon?"