Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 78 ›› Issue (4): 792-810.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202304002

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Jiaoyufication as an education-driven gentrification in urban China:A case study of Nanjing

SONG Weixuan1(), CAO Hui1(), TU Tangqi2, SONG Zhengna3, CHEN Peiyang4, LIU Chunhui5   

  1. 1. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    2. Institutes of Science and Development, CAS, Beijing 100190, China
    3. School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
    4. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, Jiangsu, China
    5. College of Humanities & Social Development, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
  • Received:2022-05-25 Revised:2023-02-26 Online:2023-04-25 Published:2023-04-14
  • Contact: CAO Hui;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171234)


Jiaoyufication, as an education-driven gentrification in urban China, mainly refers to the social space process that the well-off middle-class groups who attach importance to education cluster around the catchment zone of leading elementary schools through the purchase of an apartment in the district at an inflated price. Based on the existing theoretical analysis of Jiaoyufication by domestic and foreign scholars, this empirical study is carried out by utilizing multi-source data such as POI, real estate market, portraits of mobile phone users and questionnaires in 2020, taking Nanjing as a case. This paper evaluates the Jiaoyufication level of 218 public primary school districts in the main urban area of Nanjing by virtue of the entropy-weight TOPSIS model. Findings show that only a few top-level school districts are highly gentrified, and they are contiguous and mainly settle in Gulou and Xuanwu districts. In order to better reveal the characteristics of typical gentrified school districts, they are divided into four types by Jiaoyufication level, namely high level Jiaoyufied school districts, mid-high level Jiaoyufied school districts, medium level Jiaoyufied school districts and low level Jiaoyufied school districts. Results demonstrate that there is a close correlation between the unit system and the highly Jiaoyufied neighborhoods that register the presence of a substantial number of middle-class families with high social, economic and cultural capital and paying great attention to children's education. They attempt to buy their way into the catchment areas of prestigious schools regardless of lower quality of life, inhabit them for relatively brief periods, and then sell them on at a profit to the next cohort of parents without needing to invest to improve them. A combination of strict school district systems in policy, soaring market-oriented school district housing prices and surging educational anxiety in the cultural realm continuously strengthens the educational resource advantages of elite schools and intensifies Jiaoyufication, which nails down high-quality educational opportunities to specific neighborhoods and groups. Jiaoyufication is essentially a process in which "school district space", as the pivotal driving factor, promotes the mutual transformation and consolidation of economic capital and cultural capital, and passes the family's social capital on to the next generation. This kind of social space reconstruction caused by imbalance of high-quality educational resources can easily widen the gap between the rich and the poor and perpetuates the class stratification. To avoid the negative effects brought by Jiaoyufication and promote the equity of education and society, it is necessary to effectively advance the balanced development of resources in urban compulsory education and students.

Key words: Jiaoyufication, gentrification, compulsory educational resource, school district, social space, Nanjing