PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (6): 853-862.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.06.012

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Progress of research on sociospatial differentiation based on daily activity space of urban residents

Yue SHEN1(), Yanwei CHAI2   

  1. 1. The Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2017-03-10 Revised:2017-08-13 Online:2018-06-28 Published:2018-06-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41501180, No. 41529101, No. 41571144, No. 41601159


Sociospatial differentiation, which reflects the uneven spatial distribution of urban social factors, is a classical research topic in urban geography and a realistic problem that the Chinese society is facing at present. Based on a large number of theoretical and empirical studies, the classical research paradigm focusing on the residential space was formed. However, with the reconstruction of urban structure and the rapid development of transportation and information and communication technologies, the activities of urban residents have become increasingly diversified and personalized. In this context, the differentiation and segregation exist not only in residential space, but also in daily activity space of residents, so the traditional research paradigm appears to be insufficient, and it is necessary to understand the sociospatial differentiation pattern from a perspective of people's activity space. Some existing studies aboard have paid attention to this new perspective and attempted to propose new research paradigms or approaches of sociospatial differentiation based on activity space using different hypotheses, methods, and data. This article reviewed existing studies and grouped them into three categories, which are social segregation and communication based on activity space, the differentiation of individuals' activity spaces, and the dynamic sociospatial differentiation. The first type of research emphasizes the social environments in which people could contact in their activity space, usually using individual data to derive activity space and census or statistical data to reflect the social background. The second category of work takes the activity space as the object of differentiation, and examines the spatiotemporal patterns based on individual behavioral data. The third kind of research focuses on the temporal dimension of sociospatial differentiation, and mobile location data and other new types of data are often used to detect the dynamic change of activity space. Based on theories and methodologies of space-time behavior and a people-based spatial research paradigm, this study built a research framework of "people-activity space-social space" to study sociospatial differentiation based on daily activity space, in order to promote the diversification of the research paradigm of sociospatial differentiation, and to understand urban space and people in cities from a human-oriented perspective.

Key words: urban space, sociospatial differentiation, space-time behavior, activity space, people-based research paradigm