Drawing upon a random survey undertaken in Songjiang, an outer suburban district of Shanghai, this paper investigates the demand-side driving forces of suburban growth in China: ie, who the suburban residents are, what has driven them to move to the suburbs, and how their differences have shaped suburban space. With local natives, residents from central districts and migrants from other places as their major resident groups, Chinese suburbs illustrate a case where diverse population and types of development are juxtaposed. While migrants have flocked to the suburbs for employment opportunities, the residential moves of the other two groups, even though in some cases involuntary, are more likely to be associated with consumption considerations. Notably, alongside the emergence of single-family villas and gated communities, the pursuit of suburban living ideals has begun to play a role in China, though it is confined to only a few extremely rich families rather than the masses. In addition, three patterns of suburbs characterized by different types of households and developments - white-collar suburbs, migrant suburbs, and well-planned new towns - are identified.
Shen, J.; Wu, F. Moving to the suburbs: demand-side driving forces of suburban growth in China. Environment and Planning A (2013) 45 (8) 1823-1844. [DOI: 10.1068/a45565]