Daily activity differentiation and social inequality in the socially mixed suburban communities in Beijing, China

Authors: Xinlin Ma*, , Yan Zhang, Beijing Union Univeristy, Mei-po Kwan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Yanwei Chai, Peking Univerisity
Topics: Urban Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Time-geography,behavior,middle and low-income community,Beijing
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The middle and low-income communities in China are facing various predicaments, such as environmental risk, long commutes, and social segregation and exclusion. Since 2007, the low-income groups in urban China are provided with newly-built affordable housing located mainly in suburban areas. Past studies on the development of these communities largely focused on economic outcomes and their social effects, seldom from a behavioral perspective. This paper focuses on residents’ behavior through examining one typical mixed community in Beijing. In 2017, a survey using GPS and real-time environmental exposure sensors was conducted in this suburban community in Beijing. A total of 114 residents were tracked for 7 consecutive days. Using these data, multiple stressors were assessed using indicators in three areas: environmental indicators (e.g., air pollution and noise exposure); behavioral indicators (e.g., activity space, time use); and life quality indicators (e.g., life satisfaction, neighborhood interactions). In addition, time-geographic methods were used to interpret the activity patterns in relation to multiple contexts. The study found that: 1) the overall living conditions and diversity between groups have a strong relationship with housing types; 2) low-income residents suffer from worse air and noise pollution, leading to their dissatisfaction about their living conditions; and 3) a behavioral perspective yielded a vivid picture of the community and the issues its residents face.

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