PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 422-432.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.03.006

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Patterns and determinants of location choice in residential mobility: A case study of Shanghai

CUI Can1,2,3(), MU Xueying2,3, CHANG Heying3, LI Jiayi3, WANG Fenglong1,2,4,*()   

  1. 1. Research Centre for China Administrative Division, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2. The Centre for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    3. School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    4. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2020-04-22 Revised:2020-07-22 Online:2021-03-28 Published:2021-05-28
  • Contact: WANG Fenglong;
  • Supported by:
    Joint Fund from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Dutch Research Council(72061137072);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41701176);"Chenguang Program" Supported by the Shanghai Education Development Foundation and Shanghai Municipal Education Commission(18CG28)


Since the marketization of China's housing system, urban residents' housing adjustment through making residential moves has become relatively frequent. Residential mobility, as the micro-mechanism of urban space differentiation and restructuring, has been extensively studied in urban geography and housing studies. However, the existing literature mainly focuses on the motivation underlying residential mobility and its impacts on individuals/families and urban space. Comparatively, the location changes before and after residential moves have received scant attention in previous studies. This study adopted the perspective of life course and time geography to depict the residential trajectories of Shanghai residents and explore the influencing factors of location choice in residential mobility. The data used for the empirical analysis were drawn from the 2018 "Shanghai Resident Housing and Living Space Survey", which adopted the stratified and multi-stage probability proportion to size sampling. A retrospective survey was conducted, allowing us to obtain information on the respondents' sociodemographic information and their residential trajectories. The results reveal that the dominant type of location change is outward move across the ring roads. Nevertheless, the variations in location choice between cohorts, local population and migrants, and renters and owners of properties are evident. Compared with the older cohorts, younger cohorts generally make residential moves at earlier ages, and many of them move from the central areas to the suburbs. Different from the local population, migrants' residential mobility is more constrained in terms of the timing of making residential moves and their location choice. Furthermore, this study shows that age, location of workplace, and housing tenure all significantly affect location choice in making residential moves. Specifically, the older cohorts concentrate in the central areas before as well as after a residential move. Commuting distance plays a major role in affecting people's choice of residential location, and owning an automobile has insignificant influence. A transition into homeownership is often associated with a change to an advantageous location.

Key words: location choice, residential mobility, housing tenure, time geography, Shanghai