PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (7): 818-829.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2015.07.004

• Socio-cultural Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review of social spatial segregation measurements

Enming SHI1, Wangbao LIU1,2,*(), Yiyao TANG1   

  1. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2. Spatial Behavior and Urban Planning Research Center, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2014-11-01 Revised:2015-02-01 Online:2015-07-10 Published:2015-07-10
  • Contact: Wangbao LIU


Social spatial segregation is a concept of sociality and spatiality. Its measurement directly impacts the validity of the classification of segregation degrees. According to the different focuses of spatial segregation research through its development, the author divides social spatial segregation study into the following stages: the beginning from the 1950s to the 1970s; the multi-dimensional group assessment stage in the 1980s; switching to a spatial focus in the 1990s; multi-modeling and multi-perspective period in the 2000s to date. This review introduces the main features of different approaches, the social background against which the developments occurred, and the main measurement indices and models of each stage. Socio-spatial segregation research started relatively late in China. It can be divided into an early embryonic stage from the 1980s to the 1990s and the vigorous development stage from 2000 to present. Socio-spatial segregation research in China involved mostly empirical studies with aspatial measures of segregation, which cannot solve the modifiable areal unit problem beyond the census tract and thus made little theoretical contribution to the ongoing debates. Segregation research often used more traditional segregation indices, lacking multi-dimensional spatial-correction segregation methods. The papers reviewed were not based on previous research and cross-fertilization did not seem to occur. As a result, a unified paradigm has not appeared. The rapid development of mobile Internet and social network space in the past few years put forward new demands to the social spatial segregation calculation method. On the other hand, location-based personal behavioral data and virtual network-based cyberspace interactive data provide a new perspective for socio-spatial segregation study .

Key words: social spatial segregation, measurement, segregation index, review