Housing Suburbanization and Employment Spatial Mismatch in Beijing

  • 1. Department of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    2. Department of Geography, University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA

Received date: 2006-07-12

  Revised date: 2007-01-08

  Online published: 2007-04-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571040


Along with the social economic development, urbanization has speeded up in China. Suburbanization has been taking place in large and super-large cities. In Beijing, suburbanization (mainly led by housing suburbanization) started from the late 1980s and early 1990s. By now suburbanization in Beijing has experienced three stages: beginning, inner suburbanization and rapid development. Housing suburbanization has been characterized by concentric outward expansion along ring roads, leading to rapid urban sprawl. But urban sprawl in Beijing differs from low-density sprawl in Western countries. New housings are mainly located along arterial roads. Distinct regional variations exist in housing types, showing some similarities to housing segregation in Western cities. This paper argues that housing suburbanization in Beijing and that in Western cities share both similarities and differences. Suburbanization in both settings is a necessary result of improving urbanization and establishment of an urban land market, and guided by urban planning. In Beijing, however, housing suburbanization is "passive" suburbanization, as most residents do not really want to leave the central areas but urban renewal and extremely high housing prices force them to purchase housing in suburban areas. Along with housing suburbanization, the issue of spatial mismatch between housing and employment has emerged in Beijing. Despite all the differences, this spatial mismatch shares similarities to that in American cities in several aspects: spatial separation of residences from jobs, social segregation, leading to increasing costs (in terms of both time and money) for low-income commuters and many social problems such as traffic congestion and social segregation.

Cite this article

SONG Jinping, WANG Enru, ZHANG Wenxin, PENG Ping . Housing Suburbanization and Employment Spatial Mismatch in Beijing[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2007 , 62(4) : 387 -396 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200704005


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