Wenjie Cai, Zhiqi Shen

Heterogeneity, Differentiation Mechanisms and Social Effects of Urban Residential Space in China’s Large Cities: A Case Study of Wuhan

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change

Different choices of living space for urban residents are concrete reflections of a social class divide. Emerging residential space differentiation is a critical issue in Chinese cities. This paper aims to explore the current situations and mechanisms of residential spatial differentiation, and reveal its social responses in Chinese cities. Taking Wuhan, the largest city in central China, as an example, this research divides the residential space based on social resource structures. It analyzes and compares spatial differentiation and influencing factors of different residential areas and houses with different prices in Wuhan by spatial differentiation indicators and geographic detector. The results show that residential areas are divergent due to differences in urban resource spatial structure, with few and concentrated high-quality residential areas. The spatial differentiation level of different residential areas also varies, with central location, landscape, educational resources, and other dominant scarce resources being the key to residential spatial differentiation in most of China’s big cities. In addition, residential spatial differentiation can lead to issues including housing wealth inequality, resource deprivation, and class identity solidification. In the end, this paper puts forward policy implications on alleviating residential spatial differentiation and optimizing allocation of residential resources.

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