Education-led gentrification in global context

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Population Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Qiyan Wu, Shenjing He, Darren Smith
Chairs: Qiyan Wu


The links between systems of education acting as a trigger for sociospatial change and displacement have a rich heritage in urban gentrification scholarship (e.g. DeSena, 2006; Gulson, 2009; Lipman, 2012). Ley’s (1996) landmark studies, for example, expose the influence of increasing participation in higher education of the baby boom generation, and their expressions of cultural capital in the pioneering phases of gentrification. Likewise, Butler and Hamnett (1994) argue in their gender and social class reading of gentrification that the processes of change are propelled by increasing levels of well-educated, young professional females in the labour market, giving rise to distinct city housing predilections and the postponement of marriage and family forming.
As a gamut of education systems, at different levels of delivery from nursery/creche to university, have been transformed by neoliberal tendencies across the globe (Shore, 2010), it can be argued that the linkages between education and gentrification have deepened. Exemplars here include processes of jiaoyufication in the Chinese context (see Wu et al., 2016a), fuelled by middle class strategies to claim educational advantages for their offspring. This hinges on the acquisition of properties within urban catchment areas of prestigious primary and secondary schools, and enlarges the educational stratification in marketed process of education in post-reform era. When jiaoyufiers move into these inner city areas, they not only displace the lower class, but also narrow or block the displacement’s opportunity of culture capital accumulation for upward intergeneration social mobility (see also Butler and Robson, 2003; Smith and Jons, 2015).
Similar effects of displacement, social class power in the housing market, and neighbourhood transformation are manifest in university towns and cities across the globe, where the high demand from university students to cluster within areas in relative close proximity to campuses has given rise to studentification (Smith, 2001). Both Hubbard (2009) and Chatterton (2009) contend that students in these contexts act as a form of gentrifier, and Smith and Holt (2007) describe students as ‘apprentice gentrifiers’ in their consumption of housing in multiple occupation. These processes are not specific to the UK, and are evidenced in diverse contexts across the globe such as China (He, 2015) and Israel (Baron and Diamant, 2016).
Similarly, parts of some global cities are being reshaped by affluent immigrants into universities, middle school, or even in kindergarten (Liu-Farrer, 2016). For instance, some education-led migrant households from eastern Asia have moved into reputed school catchments, and a large number of international students have crowded into university towns in European and North America cities. These migrant groups have replaced the local pro-family life middle class neighborhoods creating internationalized jiaoyufication or international student communities. Certainly, these immigrant-led processes of jiaoyufication and studentification not only cause the educational stratification between local citizens of domestic society and the new “global” class, but also have disrupted local real estate markets, and even led to racial conflicts and social tensions where they move in (Kinton et al.,2016). More recently, education-led gated communities (edu-led GCs), which bundles high quality education resources with high-end housing as a marketing strategy, has emerged in China and attracted a large volume of middle class households. One distinct feature of edu-led GCs lies in the strategy of purposively turning education into a semi-club good packaged with other tailor-made services and high-quality housing, which enable China’s nouveau riche constructing and reproducing their middle-class identity. Encapsulating a number of important urban and social issues such as the privatization of basic public goods, middle class social reproduction and social exclusion, this unique form of enclosed residential development has reshaped the residential and education landscapes in Chinese cities and poses a series of new questions to the international debates on gated communities and education-led gentrification (He et al., 2017).

This session will shed light on the interactive relationships between educational stratification, immigrant, jiaoyufication and studentification in a global context. One aim of the session is to provide a fuller understanding of the impact of educational immigrants on conventional gentrification, and its extension in jiaoyufication and studentification (Sage et al., 2012; Wu et al., 2016a; He, 2015), then to prepare for a special issue later. We welcome submissions that explore the determinants and consequences of educational immigrants on local communities of these global cities and the comparison of education-led gentrification between local and global, e.g. the studentification of provincial cities and global metropolis. We especially welcome contributions that have access to examples of social displacement and housing affordability issues through perspectives of place (re)production and class (re)make (Wu et al., in press). We are particularly interested in empirical research, but would also welcome rigorous theoretical and conceptual contributions to both shifts in local communities and real estate market in global North (e.g European, North America, Australia and New Zealand etc.) and global South. Finally, while most research tends to focus on contemporary issues, we are open to historical analyses, especially if they shed light on contemporary discussions and debates.

He, S. (2015). Consuming urban living in ‘villages in the city’: Studentification in Guangzhou, China. Urban Studies, 52(15), 2849-2873.
He S. Webster, C. Z. Zhan, 2017, Education-led Gated Communities in Chinese Cities: Capitalization of Education, Middle-class Social Reproduction and Socio-spatial Segregation, research proposal submitted to RGC, Hong Kong.
Kinton, C., Smith, D. P., & Harrison, J. (2016). De-studentification: emptying housing and neighbourhoods of student populations. Environment and Planning A, 48(8), 1617-1635.
Liu-Farrer, G. (2016). Migration as Class-based Consumption: The Emigration of the Rich in Contemporary China. The China Quarterly, 226, 499-518;
Sage, J., Smith, D., & Hubbard, P. (2012). The diverse geographies of studentification: living alongside people not like us. Housing Studies, 27(8), 1057-1078;
Wu, Q., Edensor, T., and Cheng J.(forthcoming) Beyond of Space: Space (Re)production and Middle Class Remaking Driven by Jiaoyufication in Nanjing, China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies;
Wu, Q., Zhang, X., and Waley, P.(2016a)Jiaoyufication: When gentrification goes to school in the Chinese inner city. Urban Studies 53(12): 3510-3526;
Wu, Q., Zhang, X., and Waley, P.(2016b)When Neil Smith Met Pierre Bourdieu in Nanjing, China: Bringing Cultural Capital into Rent Gap Theory. Housing Studies.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Shanshan Jiang*, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Rethinking Gentrification in the Era of Global Education 20 5:20 PM
Presenter Qiyan Wu*, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Darren P Smith, Loughborough University, Immigrant, internationalized jiaoyufication and educational stratification: evidence from Vancouver, BC, Canada 20 5:40 PM
Presenter Shenjing He*, The University of Hong Kong, The Rise of Education-led Gated Communities in Chinese Cities and Their Socioeconomic Implications 20 6:00 PM
Discussant Darren Smith Loughborough University 20 6:20 PM
Presenter Xing Huang*, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology, Yuting Liu, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology, Gentrification and displacement: subjective experiences of displaced local residents from Xuanwumen, Beijing 20 6:40 PM

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