PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (2): 159-170.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.02.003

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Residential satisfaction level and influencing factors of declining old town residents in Suzhou

Jian FENG1(), Wensheng LIN2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. College of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
  • Online:2017-02-20 Published:2017-02-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671157, No.40971085


In the past decades the Chinese society and economy have experienced a great transformation. Residential differentiation is intensified and the new urban poverty phenomenon concentrates in specific population and space. Declining neighborhoods in old towns are one of the most representative areas of urban poverty. According to a survey conducted in six typical neighborhoods in the old town of Suzhou City, satisfaction level of the residents about the social environment is higher than the physical environment, and residential satisfaction level in the southern traditional city center communities is higher than that of the north. Higher residential satisfaction level can also be expected in communities with renovated housing and infrastructure but old residents than that without modification or experienced a destruction of the original stable social network contact. With a strong sense of loss and low residential satisfaction level, low-income local residents who are relatively deprived of in the rapid development process of the city are easier to involve in conflict with migrants. Residential satisfaction level is mainly determined by housing conditions, community environments, infrastructure and facilities, and social contact. The pattern of urban historical social space sets the foundation of the urban environment. Time since being built, maintenance, population density, and renewal opportunities affect the condition of specific community facilities. Population replacement caused by urban renewal, emigration or death of local residents, and migrant population will reduce residential satisfaction level and opportunities of poverty alleviation. High density of population makes neighborhood disputes more likely and the high homogeneity of the place is conducive to community harmony. Research on community scale residential satisfaction level and influencing factors of declining neighborhoods in old towns not only can help deepen the understanding of new urban poverty, but also benefits urban renewal process and poverty alleviation aimed at these areas.

Key words: new urban poverty, declining neighborhoods in old town, residential satisfaction level, living environment, social network, old town of Suzhou