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Social differentiation and spatial mixture in a transitional city - Kunming in southwest China

Wu, Q and Cheng, J and Young, C (2017) Social differentiation and spatial mixture in a transitional city - Kunming in southwest China. Habitat International, 64. pp. 11-21. ISSN 0197-3975

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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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Abstract

Socio-spatial segregation, and particularly racial and ethnic segregation, has been extensively studied in the Western context but is less researched for Chinese cities, particularly those in less developed regions. The city of Kunming in remote southwest China is characterized by a transition from a socialist manufacturing center to a free market service economy and the strong presence of a diversity of ethnic groups. Kunming provides an opportunity to examine the similarities and disparities in the socio-spatial landscape compared to well-developed cities in China and other post-socialist contexts as well as those in the West. In this paper, population census data at the community level from 2000 together with its spatial boundary data are used to create 39 demographic, educational, occupational and housing variables for 431 communities. Principal component analysis, hierarchical clustering and spatial segregation indicators are combined in order to identify, classify and analyse the spatial segregation of diverse social groups. The study finds that, unusually for Chinese cities, ethnic minority and gender are significant factors, and it demonstrates that both spatial mixture and social differentiation simultaneously characterize Kunming.

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