The Rise of Education-led Gated Communities in Chinese Cities and Their Socioeconomic Implications

Authors: Shenjing He*, The University of Hong Kong
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Geography, China
Keywords: education-led gated communities; unequal access to education, privatization of public goods, middle class social reproduction, community cohesion, social exclusion
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The global spread of gated communities (GCs) has gained momentum in China, where it has become the most prevalent residential form. Residential sorting based on education choice has long been a classic topic in housing economics and the social sciences. An emerging form of GCs, termed education-led GCs (edu-led GCs) by the author, that turn education into a semi-club good packaged with other tailor-made residential services, is now attracting numerous middle-class homebuyers across China. Emerging as a hybrid form of lifestyle and prestige GCs, and encapsulating the important urban/social issues of unequal access to education, privatization of basic public goods, middle class social reproduction, social exclusion and residential segregation, edu-led GCs poses a series of unexplored questions for the literature on GCs. This research focuses on the case of Guangzhou, where the very first edu-led GC was developed in 1992, to provide answers to the following questions: 1) How are edu-led GCs being produced under the unique institutional and socioeconomic settings in China? 2) What are the internal and external impacts of edu-led GCs, in terms of the influences on community attachment internally and social exclusion externally? Empirical data will be drawn from a large-scale household survey conducted in 39 GCs in Guangzhou, of which 27 are edu-led GCs. Findings from this research are expected to enrich the theoretical and empirical explorations of GCs and contemporary Chinese urbanism.

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