The "New” Gated Housing Communities in China: Implications for Urban Identity


  • Alexandra Staub Pennsylvania State University
  • Qingyang Yu Pennsylvania State University



China, Housing, Gated Communities, Urban Design, Open Space


Housing typologies in China have changed dramatically over the past hundred years. Economic liberalization is accelerating these changes, shifting the understanding of housing in ways that cannot be explained through Western housing theory. Most of China is moving towards housing in "sealed residential quarters” (gated communities), yet these communities have a role and significance very different from those in the West. Historical analysis of housing types in China brings out the ingrained role of enclosing walls in housing, a cultural value that is centuries old yet being given new meaning through the introduction of Western-style, developer-driven housing estates. This is contrasted by a Western understanding of urban systems as consisting of interlocking spaces and flows, where social interchanges may be initiated or sustained. To explore this interplay, we examine two communities in the industrial city of Shenyang, analyzing the role that their outdoor spaces play for the residents and their urban context. We find that the population readily accepts China's new, gated communities, even as they call into question the city beyond. This paper discusses several implications, both at the micro and the macro level.




How to Cite

Staub, A., & Yu, Q. (2014). The "New” Gated Housing Communities in China: Implications for Urban Identity. ARCC Conference Repository.