PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (4): 577-587.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.04.010

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Exploring new-build gentrification in urban China from the demand side: A case of the ZS neighborhood in Xuanwumen, Beijing

Xing HUANG(), Yuting LIU   

  1. School of Architecture, State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • Received:2018-09-18 Revised:2019-01-02 Online:2019-04-28 Published:2019-04-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41701175 and 41771175;Yangcheng Young Scholar Social Science Foundation of Guangzhou, No. 18QNXR06;Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China, No. 2017M620368.


As a process of social and spatial change, gentrification results from class upgrading and transformation. New-build gentrification, characterized by demolition and subsequent residential development involving direct or indirect residential displacement and landscape change, has become the main type of gentrification in contemporary urban China. Academic literature on Chinese city cases has studied this issue from the perspective of supply, which stresses the leading role of state power, while the demand side has seldom been researched in China. Therefore, this study examined the process of new-build gentrification in urban China from the perspective of the demand side. Empirical material was based on in-depth interviews and questionnaires sent to the inhabitants of the ZS neighborhood (a new-build gentrification area) in Xuanwumen, Beijing. In particular, the main questions in this study underline the housing choice of gentrifiers and the social and spatial effects on displaced local residents. According to the empirical research, the new-build gentrifiers highlight the importance of factors relating to proximity and accessibility to services and convenience of life, irrespective of their household type. Nuclear family gentrifiers stress the factor of children's education as well. However, gentrification has the opposite effect on the displaced residents. Through the investigation on the displaced residents who previously lived in the location of the case study site and now are relocated in the planned resettlement housing located in urban periphery, it is found that although their housing condition has been improved, gentrification brought serious negative effects to these local residents in terms of quality of life and emotional aspects.

Key words: new-build gentrification, gentrifiers, housing choice, social and spatial effects, Beijing