Block-level changes in the socio-spatial landscape in Beijing: Trends and processes
Socio-spatial differentiation has been identified not only in capitalist market economies but also in transitional countries, including post-reform China. However, most prior studies on this topic in Chinese cities are limited to a spatial resolution of the sub-district level, and finer scale analyses remain scarce. Drawing on this gap, this article provides a block-level examination of the socio-spatial changes in the central city of Beijing by employing the Beijing Travel Survey data, which contain rich socio-economic information. Latent class analysis and GIS visualisation are used to stratify the residents into different levels of socio-economic well-being based on multiple attributes and analyse their spatial distribution. The findings reveal a dramatic transformation of the socio-spatial landscape in Beijing in only five years between 2005 and 2010; 90% blocks show a greater than 10% increase or decrease in the average social stratification index of their residents. The socio-spatial changes can to a large extent be related to the market reform of China’s economy and housing distribution, which exerts its influence through not only commercial developments but also profound interactions with the public sector.
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