Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2011, Vol. 66 ›› Issue (2): 157-166.doi: 10.11821/xb201102002

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Spatial Differences of Home-Work Separation and the Impacts of Housing Policy and Urban Sprawl:Evidence from Household Survey Data in Beijing

CHAI Yanwei1, ZHANG Yan1, LIU Zhilin2   

  1. 1. Department of Urban and Economic Geography, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences,Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    2. School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • Received:2010-03-12 Revised:2010-09-13 Online:2011-02-20 Published:2011-02-20
  • Supported by:

    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071102; No.40801056

Abstract: In the last decades Chinese cities have seen the phenomenal rise of job and residential mobility in transitional urban China, as well as the profound urban spatial restructuring as a consequence. Some studies, however, noticed possible negative impacts of urban sprawl and housing reform on households' living experience, particularly with respect to their accessibility to jobs, services and amenities. Western studies have shown that many households have moved to better housing by enduring longer commuting distance to workplace. In China, home-work separation becomes more acute for certain households due to the rapid urban sprawl and the dismantling of the work unit system that favored mixed land use patterns. However, so far there has been limited empirical research on the extent and determinants of home-work separation in transitional urban China. This paper attempts to contribute to such intellectual gap by providing empirical evidence for home-work separation and commuting patterns of urban residents in Beijing. Using survey data from 1200 residents conducted in 2007 and GIS spatial analysis techniques, we investigate the spatial patterns of commuting behavior as a measurement of home-work separation. Then we focus on job accessibility of residents in different socio-economic groups, using the measurement of commuting distance. Specifically, we use statistical methods to examine the impacts of institutional factors (such as housing reform, affordable housing policy, and urban sprawl) on residents' job accessibility.

Key words: home-work separation, urban community, housing policy, danwei system, urban sprawl, Beijing