Gated communities in China: social sustainable residential unit

Escobar Burgos, Celina (2021) Gated communities in China: social sustainable residential unit. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Since the 1978 economic reform, China has become one of the world’s largest economies and has undergone an astonishing process of urbanization. This urban growth is a central element of China’s national development strategy and is an on-going process. A significant part of this growth has been due to the massive rural-urban migration movement since the reduction of hukou (household registration system) control in the mid ‘80s and the relocation of citizens as a consequence of an intense process of demolition and reconstruction of existing residential communities. Hence, cities are growing at high speed to accommodate the enormous flow of people who are particularly moving towards the East Coast. This has resulted is the rapid emergence of large cities and megacities with a radical change in urban size and building typologies, where Chinese originating from completely different contexts live together in close proximity.

Thus, the question is how this amalgam of socio-economic, cultural and urban contextual changes is affecting the social quality of life of the citizens, particularly that of newcomers and the more disadvantaged groups. Is it possible for them to become socially integrated into this new social and urban reality? This research hypothesizes that citizens in this context, particularly migrants and those who have been relocated, need to be socially integrated into viable local contexts if they want to achieve the emotional and instrumental support required for a certain social quality of life. At the same time, the traditional organization of Chinese cities into walled spaces and gated residential communities is seen in this investigation as a great opportunity to provide citizens with a local context for bonding. Gated residential communities offer the possibility of humanizing the scale of megacities through a controllable and local context which can provide the social advantages of living in a small city, while also offering those of being in a megacity. Therefore, the general aim of this social study is to find out how gated community can favour the social relationships between neighbours through their urban form - focusing on building height, density and population size - to improve their social quality of life in large cities in China

With this aim, field work in nine gated communities in Shanghai has been conducted for a twofold purpose. On the one hand, to clarify the current social bonds in gated communities and the concept of social quality of life considering the social standards of the Chinese population. On the other hand, to establish a comparison between the social network of communities with different values for the physical parameters investigated here. The findings show that bonding in these residential units is important so that citizens can be satisfied in a social sense and achieve social quality of life within their communities. Also, according to the results, building height and population size do actually have influence on bonding between residents while the density parameters studied here show no significant impact. Interesting results in relation to the influence of other design features of these communities are also provided. The outcomes of this investigation aim to facilitate the work of urban planners and urban designers so that they may take speedy yet well-informed decisions on the rapid process of urbanization in China.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Robinson, Darren
Borsi, Katharina
Keywords: Gated communities, Sustainable residential unit
Subjects: H Social sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 65203
Depositing User: Blore, Mrs Kathryn
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:41
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:41
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65203

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