PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (12): 1723-1731.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.12.001

• Special Column: The 14th National Symposium for Young Geographers •     Next Articles

Study on suburbanization of living and activity space

ZHANG Yan1, CHAI Yanwei2   

  1. 1. Institute of Beijing Studies, Beijing Union University, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2013-10-01 Revised:2013-11-01 Online:2013-12-25 Published:2013-12-25

Abstract: In the process of rapid suburbanization, cities in China have been experiencing drastic urban spatial restructuring as well as profound transformation of residents' ways of life and living and activity space. In recent decades, suburbanization of residents' living and activity space became the fifth wave of suburbanization following the suburbanization waves of population, industry, commerce as well as office industry. In addition, there have been the problems such as excessive comsumption of natural resources and energy, severe environment pollution, increasingly serious traffic congestion, the decline in quality of life, social polarization and spatial differentiation, etc., in the process of rapid suburbanization in transitional urban China. Therefore, there is an urgent need to introduce behavioral perspectives to the traditional study of suburbanization, which will enhance our understanding of the process and the machanism of suburbanization from the perspective of an individual's living and activity space, and also help reflect on the drawbacks of urban spatial organization and development strategies in the process of rapid suburbanization. Following this line of thinking, in this study we first tried to put forward the conceptual framework of the suburbanization of living and activity space and research methods. We argued that understanding to what degree suburban residents fulfil most routine, non-work activities within certain area around their suburan community is one of most important ways to determine developmental stages of suburanization. Besides, the concept of suburbanization of an individual's living and activity space can improve traditional suburanization studies by shifting from a single factor perspective, which maily focus on the decentralization or concentralization process of the single factors such as population, industry, commerce or office, to a comprehensive perspective, which integrate all of above factors of an individual's daily life space including residential space, work space, shopping space, recreation space and social interaction space. Then, we argued that there are two temporal dimensions and different spatial dimensions in this study. And it is important to discover the functional links between suburban territory and center city, and among different suburban areas based on residents' space-time behaviors. Furthermore, we propose that geo-narrative method is an effective way to study the process and micro-level mechanism of the suburbanization from the perspective of an individual living and activity space, which combimes life history and life course theory from sociological perspective with GIS-based visualization within the framwork of time-geography. Finally, we discussed policy implications.

Key words: activity space, living space, suburbanism, suburbanization