chapter  10
25 Pages

Neighborhood changes and residential differentiation in Shanghai

BySHENJING HE, FULONG WU

Residential differentiation has long been a classic topic of sociospatial inequality studies. Research on residential differentiation revolves around different themes in different periods. In the 1920s, the Chicago School studied poverty, segregation and the inner city (Park et al. 1925). Although concern about class and segregation went quiet during from the 1940s to the 1960s, research interest resurfaced in the question of ethnic segregation and quantitative research on the patterns of residential differentiation since the mid-1960s, while in the 1980s the two themes of “underclass” and “social polarization” emerged and were closely linked to issues of race, ethnicity and segregation in globalizing cities (Hamnett 2001). In the 1990s, the issue of social polarization and duality in world cities received intensive research (e.g. Hamnett 2003; Marcuse and van Kempen 2000; Mollenkopf and Castells 1991; Sassen 2001). At present, under the forces of economic globalization and spatial reorganization, research in spatial differentiation has revived, with a particular interest in post-Fordist cities and globalizing cities. Recent studies on residential differentiation have several foci, for instance the concentration of poverty within particular neighborhoods, increasing division between races, greater segregation of immigrant groups, rich neighborhoods replacing poor neighborhoods in the central city, and increasing income disparities between neighborhoods (Hamnett 2003; Marcuse 1997; Marcuse and vanKempen 2000; Sassen 1991). Urban redevelopment has been recognized as an important factor leading to sociospatial differentiation. The notorious urban renewal in the United States of the 1960s was criticized for making the poor invisible by driving them out of the city (Gans 1967; Hartman 1964; Jacobs 1961). Sweeping neoliberal urban programs further intensified sociospatial division in North American cities, within which real estate development and property-led redevelopment have been prevalently employed to create the “revanchist city” (Smith 1996, 2002; Weber 2002). Parallel to the divided city phenomenon in the post-Fordist globalizing cities,

enlarged social division can be observed in a number of postsocialist countries, although presenting in a different pattern (Dangscht 1987; Gentile 2004; Kovacs 1994; Lehmann and Ruble 1997; Pickvance 2002; Ruoppila and Kahrik 2003;

Sykora 1999). In the context ofmarket transition, evidence shows that urban China is undergoing housing stratification andgreater residential inequality (Huang2004; Li 2004; Logan 2005; Logan et al. 1999; Sato 2006; Wang 2000; Wang et al. 2005; Wu 2002). Through examining changing housing tenure, these studies suggest that housing inequalities in postreform China are mainly determined by three factors: market reforms, institutions, and historical legacies. However, these studies only analyze the static housing structure rather than the dynamic process of urban (re)development. In fact, extensive urban redevelopment in urban China has caused housing tenure changes and residential differentiation. Wang and Murie (2000) argue that the processes of urban redevelopment and residential displacement are likely to break up socially mixed areas in the inner cites. Although people who involuntarily moved from the central areas to peripheral estates have experienced a considerable increase in housing quality, their access to facilities and services is reduced, and the social mix of the inner city neighborhoods is lost. Marketization introduces a new mechanism of residential segregation associated with redevelopment. This is because, after the reemergence of land rent gradients, real estate developers prefer to redevelop old housing in good locations, through which they can easily capture high land rents (Dowall 1994). With selective gentrification and commercialization in good locations in the city centre, sociospatial differentiation is enlarged. Property-led redevelopment therefore has two implications (Wu 2002). First, while real estate development has made it possible to redevelop dilapidated areas, differentiation in price due to commodification has created new difficulties in redeveloping some of the worst residential areas. Second, through devaluing properties around derelict urban areas and industrial sites, marketization has made it more difficult for a large number of low-income groups, especially state industrial “laid off” workers, to draw benefit from their existing properties and relocate to other areas. Furthermore, under the new household sorting mechanism, which is based on housing affordability rather than the housing allocation system of state work units, only high-income and privileged groups can afford to stay in desirable locations in the central area (Wang and Murie 2000). Although redevelopment generally improves the housing conditions of relocated residents, the socioeconomic outcomes of redevelopment are not always optimistic (Logan 2005; Wang and Murie 2000). Urban redevelopment has brought about a number of negative impacts on low-to middle-income groups (Zhang 2002). Logan (2005) even suggests that large-scale urban redevelopment is one of the most influential factors leading to further residential differentiation in urban China. Existing studies suggest that residential differentiation has enlarged under mar-

ket transition, while urban redevelopment is an important factor accelerating the process. However, evidence is still lacking to illustrate the way in which urban redevelopment creates residential differentiation. Therefore, this study investigates how urban redevelopment affects housing tenure and determines different routes of housing tenure change. The research is based on a survey of 400 households and a number of interviews in both old and dilapidated neighborhoods and redevelopment neighborhoods.