Unequal Housing Choices and the Residential Segregation in Urban China

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:56 AM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Pu HAO , David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
The growth and transformation of cities in China continue to absorb migrants from both ends of the economic spectrum, giving rise to socially mixed cities. Concurrent is the elevated level of residential segregation owing to new forms of enclave urbanism such as gated communities and urban villages. Factors including historical legacy, land institution and property-led development have contributed to a divided residential pattern at the neighbourhood level, but the divisions are not necessarily as significant at larger spatial units. This paper, by analysing the distribution of both urban population and housing provision in Shenzhen, explicitly unravels the spatial logic of the divided pattern of the population. As expected, migrants and local hukou holders are largely segregated by different housing choices; however, due to the relatively even distribution of a vast amount of migrant enclaves, at the sub-district level a rather low degree of segregation is manifest. This residential pattern is salutary as it maintains a spatially equitable setting which enables deprived groups to reside within short catchment areas of jobs and amenities. Nevertheless, urban renewal programmes that target at urban villages and old neighbourhoods are likely to jeopardise the somewhat reasonable composition and distribution of housing choices, aggravating segregation on a large spatial scale.