Polarization of the Global City and Sociospatial Differentiation in Shanghai

  • 1. Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275;
    2. Cardiff University, United Kingdom, CF10 3WA;
    3. East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062

Received date: 2006-07-25

  Revised date: 2007-05-05

  Online published: 2007-05-20


Sociospatial polarization of Post-Fordist cities,especially the ‘global cities’,has undergone a decade of intensive debates.It is debatable that whether the sociospatial polarization in global cities will be paradigmatic to other globalizing cities on lower level of the global city hierarchy.It is argued that social stratification under market-oriented reform in urban China is producing a new urban space.Therefore,this paper examines the emerging sociospatial restructuring in Shanghai,one of the most ‘globalizing’ cities of transitional urban China.Using data of the 5th national census,this study finds out important evidence of sociospatial differentiation on the subdistrict level in terms of attributes of employment sectors such as primary sector,secondary sector,and service sector,as well as migrant status and educational attainments.However,no social polarization is found.Although the social structure is largely stratified along the lines of global cities,Shanghai at this stage did not present evident tendency of polarization.No severe sociospatial differentiation is identified.The reason is attributed to the specific developmental status of Shanghai,it is at the preliminary stage of post-industrialization.In addition,it is found that social legacy has largely kept in effect in Shanghai,as workers still live near to their working places,especially intellectuals.It indicates that historical legacy in the socialist era is still shaping socio-spatial structure.The impact of the state is also highlighted.As a state project,Shanghai is restructured by policies of the central government.Just as Tokyo and Soul,Shanghai also shows the ambitious of the developmental state to mould a domestic city to the global status.It is argued that the global city debates should pay more attention to different social and political contexts.

Cite this article

LI Zhi-Gang, WU Fu-Long, GAO Xiang-Dong . Polarization of the Global City and Sociospatial Differentiation in Shanghai[J]. SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA, 2007 , 27(3) : 304 -311 . DOI: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2007.03.304


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