Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1997, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (5): 385-393.doi: 10.11821/xb199705001

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Gu Chaolin1, Christian Kesteloot 2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101;
    2. Institute of Social and Economic Geography, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven 3001, Belgium
  • Online:1997-09-15 Published:1997-09-15

Abstract: The biggest change in Beijing during the last decade was its social structure. The transition is changing the existing situation of social “equality”, and leads to polarization both in individual communities and in society as a whole. As a result, social variations and conflicting interest are growing, and some new social groups are emerging. In this paper we seek to explore a new urban phenomenon on past 1984 Beijing: social polarization and segregation. At first, we will discuss some elements explaining social polarization. The elements and the processes can be traced back to two main aspects of the economic reforms, namely the internal reforms unleashing a huge rural exodus and the open door policy. Special attention will be paid to the new lower side of the social ladder, constituted by the rural immigrants, labeled floating population. Finally we will explore how these social changes translate into urban segregation, with some consideration for future developments.

Key words: social polarization, new urban poverty, urban segregation, Beijing

CLC Number: 

  • F129.9