PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 417-427.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.03.011

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Willingness to move, place dependence and community identity: An investigation of residential choice in the Zhongguancun area in Beijing

Zhenshan YANG1(), Di WU1,2, Ding YANG1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-04-04 Revised:2018-12-07 Online:2019-03-28 Published:2019-03-28
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of the Natural Sciences Foundation of China, No. 41530751;the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No. XDA19040403;the Early Career Talent Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences "Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences", No. 2014042;Kezhen Talent Program of IGSNRR, CAS, No. 2016RC101.


With the increasing prosperity of China's economy, it has become an important issue for urban studies and urban development to examine residents' residential choice. Zhongguancun is one of the typical areas in China that have experienced fast economic growth, urban development, and population movement. This study investigated residential mobility intentions of urban residents in relations to their place dependency and community identity with an empirical study of Zhongguanyuan, Kechun, and Zhixi communities in the Zhongguancun area by a questionnaire survey and interviews. Williams scale was employed to investigate and quantify sense of community identity and place dependency especially on education and employment with a total of 292 valid survey questionnaires and 52 in-depth interviews. The results reveal that Zhongguancun residents have high place dependence with regard to children's education and employment, as well as a strong sense of community identity. Among the 292 respondents, 115 have an intention to move, accounting for 39.4% of the total and this proportion rose to 47.2% and 57.6% in the surveyed residents with low dependence on employment and children's education, respectively. Also, most of the residents who have intention to move show a weak community identity. Of the 115 residents who have an intention to move, 97 (84.3%) have no or low sense of belongings to their communities. These results indicate that as the two important factors in residential space, place dependence (including children's education and employment) and community belongings obviously relate to the residential mobility intention and behavior, and therefore have emerged as new driving factors that shape urban space in contemporary China. They should be the focal points for planners and policymakers in urban resource distribution. This study may enrich the research content of living space from the perspective of sense of place, and provide a reference for understanding the characteristics of contemporary urban living space and improving the quality of urban development.

Key words: residential space, residential mobility intention, place dependence, community identity, Beijing City