Residential satisfaction conceptual framework revisited

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Residential satisfaction conceptual framework revisited a study on redeveloped neighborhoods in inner city Beijing
Fang, Yiping
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xii, 172 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Housing -- Residential satisfaction -- China -- Beijing ( lcsh )
Inner cities -- China -- Beijing ( lcsh )
Urban renewal -- Public opinion -- China -- Beijing ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 161-172).
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Yiping Fang.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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66387332 ( OCLC )
LD1193.A735 2005d F36 ( lcc )

Full Text
Yiping Fang
B.Arch., Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1993
M.S., Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Design and Planning

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Yiping Fang
has been approved
Sohyun Park Lee
Willem van Vliet
23 Fiov, 'loob

Yiping Fang (Ph.D., Design and Planning)
Residential Satisfaction Conceptual Framework Revisited A Study on Redeveloped
Neighborhoods in Inner City Beijing
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael Holleran
This dissertation studies residential satisfaction among original residents in the
redeveloped inner city neighborhoods of Beijing. It is based on a questionnaire survey
that was conducted in four neighborhoods redeveloped at different time periods in the
past fifteen years. The survey data suggests an overall low level of satisfaction across
all four neighborhoods. There were no socio-demographic factors that significantly
predicted residential satisfaction. Residents who have stayed in the neighborhood
longer showed higher levels of dissatisfaction. These findings contradict western
studies on residential satisfaction and lead us to re-investigate their conceptual
In western studies, residential satisfaction determines housing adjustment and
mobility behavior, which forms the basis for public intervention. The central
assumption is that residents mobility will be relatively unhindered by factors other
than personal financial ability. By differentiating voluntary and involuntary relocation
behavior, this dissertation calls for a revised conceptual framework to understand
residential satisfaction within the context of subsidized housing distribution system.
Residents in this study showed a lack of ability to adjust their housing with their
changing needs although they had strong desires to do so, which shares similarities
with western public housing research. Chinas housing reform in the context of a
transitional economy provides a valuable opportunity to examine the impacts of
constraints and choices on residential satisfaction research.

The dissertation argues that the policy and process of housing system affect residents
living experiences. Individuals housing needs make up their expectations. The
discrepancy between their experiences and expectations determines residential
satisfaction. The overall low residential satisfaction shows that redevelopment failed
within the group of original residents who moved back to the inner city. The
allocation of subsidized dwelling for relocation is proved to be unable to sustain
residential satisfaction because of the poor maintenance and changing household
needs. Residents housing adjustment in the market economy is in need of a full-
fledged housing market to provide more moving opportunities.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates^thesis. I recommend
its publication.
N^ftael Holleran

PhD study has made a turn in my life. When finishing the dissertation and looking
back, I am glad that I have successfully survived through the hardship that a PhD is
meant to be. However, without the help of many people, it was impossible for me to
reach this stage. I incurred a debt of gratitude with many institutions and people in
this PhD journey.
The Program of Design and Planning at the College of Architecture and Planning
provided me great financial support for the past five years, and also allowed me to
meet my the other half in my life. I am grateful for these two wonderful
opportunities the program gave to me. During the dissertation writing period, the
program also offered me the Zuhair Fayez Fellowship and the Doctoral Excellence
Fellowship, and all necessary administrative support. The Urban China Research
Network from SUNY at Albany, and the DART (Development Area Research and
Teaching) Program in the Department of Geography, at the University of Colorado
supported my field trip for this dissertation research.
Each member in my dissertation committee helped to improve the quality of my work.
I should first thank my chair, Professor Michael Holleran, who devoted an enormous
amount of time to counseling, reading and criticizing several drafts of the work. I
need to specifically thank Professor Willem van Vliet, who first awakened my
interest in urban studies, offered much valuable advice and penetrating criticism at
different stages of my PhD study. Professor Jie Zhang has led me to the social
research in the field of urban planning, and supervised both my masters and PhD
work. He gave me many insights into the nature of the problem this dissertation is
about. Professor Mark Gelemter pointed me interesting directions of future research
which I will be doing next. Professor Sohyun Park Lee brought me interest in linking

urban design with urban studies. I wish to express my deep appreciation for their
efforts, and for their generosity in agreeing to sit on my committee.
My dissertation work owes much to those who helped through my field trip in Beijing.
There are too many to list all their names. I want to specifically thank planning officer
Ke Wei and Xiuying Wang. They generously provided their time and most first-hand
information for my research. I extend my thanks to many people I interviewed whom
I either know or do not even know their names, including many residents whom I
surveyed. There is no such thing as a dissertation without their support and
cooperation in the field work. I am grateful to my friends and research assistants
Qiong Li and Lynn Wang, for their patience and hardship they had to go through in
the survey process.
Many colleagues in the PhD program have helped and witnessed the evolution of my
research. I should thank the dissertation group that helped me through the most
difficult time. Many of them offered their help in proof-reading and editing. I
appreciate their help, and also the friendship that we made.
I wish to record my gratitude to my Mom and sister. They motivated me to get on this
long journey. I am grateful for their continuous encouragement. Yilings family, little
kids Jingjing and Liangliang, have been the strong support and my retreating place
during the past five years. My husband, Anirban Pal, who I claim as my sixth
committee member, deserves half credits of all my honors and achievements during
this PhD journey.

1. INTRODUCTION.........................................................1
Research Background...............................................1
Underpinning Literature Review....................................4
Residential Satisfaction......................................5
Housing Studies in China......................................7
Social-spatial Transformation in Chinese Cities..............10
Research Design..................................................13
Studied Residents Group and Neighborhoods....................13
Research Questions...........................................14
Research Methods............................................16
Limitation of Research Design................................18
Research Significance........................................20
Dissertation Structure...........................................22
2. NEIGHBORHOOD REDEVELOPMENT HISTORY..................................25
Dilapidated Courtyard Housing....................................25
Four Phases of Redevelopment.....................................28
Redevelopment Background of Four Cases...........................33
Case A Xiaohoucang.........................................35
Case B Yutaoyuan...........................................37
Case C Yulangyuan..........................................39

Case D Xiaoshikou..............................................41
3. ASSESSING RESIDENTIAL SATISFACTION.......................................44
Residential Satisfaction Research.....................................45
Western Conceptual Framework.....................................45
Challenge from Chinas Housing System............................47
Survey Data Descriptive Statistics..................................49
Socio-economic Comparison of Four Cases..........................50
Historical Neighborhood Change...................................52
Overall Satisfaction Comparison..................................54
Factors Predicting Residential Satisfaction......................56
Survey Data Qualitative Interpretation..............................59
Choice of Moving Back............................................60
Poor Development Standard & Changing Needs.......................61
Poor Maintenance and Management..................................63
Neighborhood Environment and Safety..............................64
4. REVISING CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK............................................67
Gaps in Residential Satisfaction Conceptual Framework.................67
Gap One: Understanding Personal Needs............................68
Gap Two: Meaning of Involuntary Move.............................70
Personal Needs and Residential Satisfaction...........................73
Maslows Needs Hierarchy.........................................73
Housing Needs Hierarchy..........................................76
Gratification of Housing Needs...................................79
Clarification of Moving Behavior and Satisfaction.....................80
Different Meaning of Involuntary Move............................80
Various Moving Behavior and Satisfaction.........................82
Chinas Unique Moving Behavior...................................86

Freedom of Moving.................................................88
Revising the Conceptual Framework......................................91
Fixing the Gap of Involuntary Moving-in.........................92
Incorporating the Housing Needs Hierarchy.........................94
Revised Conceptual Framework......................................97
5. SURVEY DATA ANALYSIS.....................................................102
Investigating Discrepancies between Expectation and Experience.......102
What Works and What Does Not....................................103
Increasing Discrepancy Led Decreasing Satisfaction...............106
On Housing Needs Hierarchy............................................107
Gratification of Housing Needs as a Hierarchy...................108
Lower Level Needs Gratification as a Condition..................110
Security Needs above Physiological Needs.........................113
Changing Housing Needs Priorities................................114
Summary on Housing Needs.........................................116
From Residential Satisfaction to Moving Behavior.....................119
Moving Intension and Moving Behavior Differences.................119
Housing Mobility and Moving Intention............................121
Changing Households and Reasons to Stay..........................123
Assessing Factors Predicting Satisfaction........................125
Subsidized Housing Satisfaction and Moving Behavior.............127
Transition to More Market-oriented Economy............................131
Changing Relocation Policy.......................................131
Policy Promoting Differentiation.................................134
Housing Market and Housing Mobility..............................136
Housing Submarket for Studied Households.........................138

Social Marginalization through Redevelopment...................141
Segregation in Beijing.....................................141
Planned Segregation through Redevelopment..................143
Gentrification and Displacement............................145
Segregation Perception among Original Residents............147
Housing Policy Implications....................................148
Rethinking Redevelopment Policy............................148
Welfare Housing Provision..................................151
Conservation through Redevelopment.........................152
Prediction of Future Neighborhood Change..................154
QUESTIONNAIRE AND INTERVIEW PROTOCOL..............................158

Figure 2-1: Location of four cases.........................................34
Figure 2-2: Plan of Case A Xiaohoucang...................................35
Figure 2-3: Xiaohoucang neighborhood.......................................36
Figure 2-4: Plan of Case B Yutaoyuan.....................................37
Figure 2-5: Yutaoyuan neighborhood.........................................38
Figure 2-6: Plan of Case C Yulangyuan....................................40
Figure 2-7: Yulangyuan neighborhood........................................41
Figure 2-8: Plan of Case D Xiaoshikou....................................42
Figure 2-9: Xiaoshikou neighborhood........................................43
Figure 4-1: Maslow's hierarchy of needs....................................74
Figure 4-2: Housing needs hierarchy........................................76
Figure 4-3: Comparison of moving behaviors in different stages.............85
Figure 4-4: With and without moving plans..................................89
Figure 4-5: The revised conceptual framework...............................98
Figure 5-1: Perceived good about their neighborhoods......................103
Figure 5-2: Perceived bad about the resided neighborhoods.................104
Figure 5-3: Housing choice priorities in future purchase..................115
Figure 5-4: Moving-in time of survey respondents..........................122
Figure 6-1: Two adjacent walkup entrances.................................135

Table 2-1 : Housing reform and Beijing redevelopment policy time table......29
Table 2-2: Comparison across four cases......................................34
Table 3-1: Satisfaction level comparison using Helmert contrast code.........55
Table 3-2: OLM test of individual variables and satisfaction.................57
Table 4-1: Comparison of moving behaviors in different housing system........72

This dissertation studies households residential satisfaction in redeveloped
neighborhoods in inner city Beijing. The first chapter is a collection of basic
background information for this research. It starts from the research contextual
background about inner city redevelopment in Beijing. Then it gives a brief review of
underpinning literature. Chapter one concludes with the research design and the
dissertation written structure.
Research Background
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Beijing Municipal Government has instituted a
program of inner city redevelopment in order to upgrade the physical conditions of
the central city and to improve the living conditions of those city residents who live in
old and dilapidated housing. An overall survey in four inner city districts identified
old and dilapidated land parcels for redevelopment. Approximately one-third of the
inner-city housing stock was evaluated as old and dilapidated and in need of
renewal. Nearly 300,000 residents would be involved in the renewal process (Zhang
1992). Since 1990, 150 neighborhood redevelopment projects have been started.
The redevelopment of Chinese cities is a rapidly evolving game, in which both rules
and roles shift with dizzying speed (Abramson 1997). Before land reform in 1988,
there was little land development in the city centre because the city government and
enterprises could not afford the cost of relocating residents living in the densely

populated city center (Dowall 1994). After that, urban redevelopment became feasible
because real estate developers got involved and commercial land uses could afford
and were willing to pay a high land prices and compensation in relocating the
residents of the old urban districts (Wu and Yeh 1997). Although the inner city
redevelopment program was initially intended to maintain significant portions of
original residents on site and to redevelop the city in a manner which is consistent
with its historic context, these goals were in practice being undermined by the
exigencies of the growing real estate industry (Lu 1997). The mix of power and
economic forces becomes the principal driving force behind the rebuilding of the city
and the restructuring of urban space.
From April 1991, the government came up with the policy breakthrough needed to
raise the money for large-scale redevelopment allowing cities to sell developers the
right to use land. By the end of 1993, Beijing alone has approved the sale of 147 lots
involving 1,577 hectares with 8.46 million square meters of housing. In June 1994, it
again gave district government the rights to make such sales (O'Neill 2000). As a
result, inner city Beijing went under the hammer demolition is everywhere. By
relying on market sales of inner city housing for funding relocation, the housing price
inflates and thereby further exacerbates the price differences between inner city and
suburb. Commercial and luxury residential real estate development are forcing
relocation of residents from city center to suburbs. Beijing is remaking itself, but for
whose benefit (Huus 1994)? The redevelopment has resulted in a series of social
problems, including the displacement of original residents, segregation of rich work
units, widespread corruption and destruction. Many scholars questioned the social
consequences of redevelopment. The broader urban question is, will China's
transition to a market economy particularly a market system for the allocation of
urban space result in spatial polarization of social groups within cities? (Leaf 1995)

How to evaluate the inner city redevelopment in Beijing thus becomes the center of
the question. Vale (1996) listed residential satisfaction as one of the seven criteria in
assessing the success of redevelopment. This dissertation research attempts to assess
four redevelopment projects through a household residential satisfaction survey.
Redevelopment in Beijing has been providing subsidized housing for relocation in the
inner city (Wu 1999), but most original residents were still displaced to the suburbs.
The redeveloped housing does not remain affordable to many of those original
residents. They paid the cost of longer daily commute, breakdown of social networks,
and poor service facilities in the suburbs. Those residents who moved back to the
redeveloped apartments were better-off than those who moved to suburbs. Sometimes
they also have to experience the inequality in housing conditions and provision of
service facilities, as well as the low transparency of relocation policies.
This dissertation research focuses on original residents who moved back to inner city
redeveloped projects. Other residents who were also involved in the redevelopment
processes are not included in this research, including those who moved to suburbs and
who moved into inner city redevelopment projects from elsewhere.
This research is important and urgent because some recent redevelopment projects are
generating critical social conflicts. The mix of market forces and administrative
power does reinforce social inequalities in accessing redeveloped housing stock. The
recent project Gongyuan #6, with sales prices of $5000 per square meter,
foreshadows the overall social exclusion of low income groups. Displacement of
original residents is generating resentment in more and more redevelopment projects,
because most relocation options are unaffordable. The number of displacement
related lawsuits is growing dramatically. People even protested against displacement
to the extent of committing self-immolation. Evictees resentment and the increasing
number of appeals about relocation have become critical social problems in most fast
developed cities. As Chinas planned economy becomes more market-oriented (Wu

2002), how can local residents find a place at the table in the new urban regime?
Because of difficulties in tracking displaced original residents, this research was
unable to study the group of residents with the most resentment in the redevelopment
processes. Research on the original residents living in redeveloped inner city
neighborhoods offers insights into the social impact of the overall redevelopment
Previous studies on inner-city redevelopment have mainly focused on the real estate
industry and urban space restructuring (Lu 1997; Wu 1999), maintaining a separation
between the spatial and social dimensions of urban process. The residents of the city
are usually a missing factor. There seems to have been a marginalization of grassroots
interest (Logan 2002).This study aims to address this issue, to investigate the
grassroots interest through the examination of residential satisfaction in redeveloped
neighborhoods. In particular, it aims to understand in a larger social, cultural, political,
and economic context, how residential satisfaction among residents living in the
redeveloped inner city neighborhoods are different from research in other political
economy contexts.
Underpinning Literature Review
The brief literature review in this chapter helps to establish the theoretical framework
for this dissertation research. Three main perspectives residential satisfaction,
housing studies in China, and socio-spatial transformation create the basic
theoretical framework for this dissertation. Later chapters have more detailed
literature reviews pertinent to the specific theoretical discussions within each chapter.

Residential Satisfaction
The study of residential satisfaction in western countries was fostered by two
phenomena. First are the postwar housing boom of the 1950s and early 1960s and the
new residential environment through the growth of suburban development. Second is
the plight of central city residents under the active program of slum clearance and
central city rebuilding (Campbell et al. 1976: 218). Urban development in the past 20
years in Beijing is similar: rapid growth of the city boundary and the large scale inner
city redevelopment. This dissertation is interested in exploring whether residents are
satisfied with the redeveloped built environments, in order to inform the policy
making processes.
Social psychology scholars dominate satisfaction research that varies from consumer
satisfaction, job satisfaction, to patient satisfaction. To understand peoples
satisfaction evaluation toward a product or a service, it is believed that improvements
could thus be found and allocated to the right place and direction, which will finally
enhance the efficiency of the production or service provision. Residential satisfaction
research deals with the housing products consumer satisfaction, and aims to inform
the housing policy and planning intervention.
Research on residential satisfaction has attracted psychologists and social scientists
interest since the 1970s. Social psychologists generally categorize peoples responses
to any social-physical object into three kinds: the affective, the cognitive, and the
conative or behavioral (Rosenberg and Hovland 1960). These categories also provide
a useful framework in understanding the theoretical development of satisfaction
research (Weidemann and Anderson 1985; Francescato et al. 1987). As a result,
residential satisfaction is not only used as an indicator in evaluating housing policies,
but by many researchers as a predictor of housing mobility.

In Weidemann and Andersons conceptual framework, residential satisfaction is
affected by the combination of home environment (physical and social environment)
and personal characteristics. The physical environment affects a persons satisfaction
through his/her perceptions and assessments of environmental attributes such as
building style, density, and location (Marans et al. 1981). The social component of
home environment includes social class and life cycle stage (Marans and Rodgers
1975), as well as social bonds (Oh 2003), which include friendship, social cohesion
and trust, informal social control, and neighborhood activities. The individual
variables are a persons characteristics, which include personality and socio-
demographic. These characteristics are also important in predicting satisfaction in the
conceptual framework.
Later empirical studies continue to discover the weakness of this framework. Parkes,
Kearns et al (2002) and Greenberg (1999), among others, question the over-reliance
on socio-demographic variables in informing neighborhood rating, for which
personality characteristics are proven to be more useful. Although there are some
limitations and constraints (Francescato et al. 1987) in measuring residential
satisfaction, this method is still a valid way to assess the overall performance of the
housing system as a criterion. High satisfaction levels have been considered an
indication of the success of specific policies, programs or designs. An understanding
of the factors that facilitate a satisfied or dissatisfied response can play a critical part
in making successful housing policies.
Among Chinese urban research, there have been a few studies relating to residential
satisfaction, such as housing preference (Wang and Li 2004), life satisfaction (Ekblad
et al. 1992) and residential mobility (Li 2004). Wang and Li (2004) found that
districts with good reputations were greatly favored. Western studies suggest that
people are less satisfied and less healthy after moving into crowded modem dwellings.
However, research by Ekblad et al.(1992) found that as long as the traditional

Chinese life style, that is a good social relationship at home and with neighbors,
remains strong the effects of overcrowding and side effects from a modem life style
in high-rise and mid-rise buildings would have little negative effect on stress, health
and wellbeing. Housing mobility was found to be less applicable in adjusting housing
policy in transitional China than in cities in the West (Li 2004). Structural variables
(such as development policies) have been identified as affecting housing mobility
among migrant groups, which is independent of satisfaction and intentions (Wu 2002).
US experience on evaluating quality of life has shown that the indicators of quality
have shifted from goals which are basically economic (a car in every garage and a
chicken in every pot1) to goals which are essentially psychological (Campbell et al.
1976). The quality of life has taken a new dimension, from the concern of food and
shelter to the needs for equity, participation, respect, challenge, and personal growth.
In the language of Abraham Maslows hierarchy of needs, the society has been able
to gratify the elementary needs of people, and has freed its people to concern
themselves with the higher-order need for social esteem, recognition, and self-
actualization (Maslow 1970). Related to the residential environments evaluation, this
dissertation investigates whether there is also a hierarchy in residents housing needs.
Housing Studies in China
China being an interesting case to study is not only because of its unique transitional
political economy (Nee 1989) which provides an opportunity to examine the mix of
power and market forces, but also because that Chinese case is different from other
socialist experiences in that the market reform in China was introduced by newly
ascendant members of the old regime and was implemented in the context of
1 This is Herbert Hoovers campaign for the presidency slogan in 1932.

economic expansion rather than collapse (Logan 2002). These unique characteristics
of Chinas transitional economy lead to different patterns in urban restructuring,
which also includes its process of urban reform.
Housing reform in China has followed a pragmatic process, with experiments carried
out in various locations before nationwide policies were formulated. It is a
decentralized process with the central government laying out the reform framework
and the local governments deciding the speed and actual process of the reform
according to local situations (Huang 2004). Statewide, there have been several
cornerstones through the housing reform process since the 1980s. At the city level,
redevelopment in Beijing also has experienced the relocation policy changes. Table
2-1 shows the timeline of urban development policy change in the past 20 years in
China and Beijings inner city redevelopment. Detailed reviews on housing reform in
China can be found in many studies (e.g. Wang and Murie 1999a; 1999b; 2000; Wu
Housing reform in China has introduced market mechanisms into a previously
welfare-oriented housing system. Macro level research on this topic has proliferated,
varying from national level research on transitional political economy (Wang and
Murie 1999b) to city level studies of different local government behaviors (Huang
2004). Many have shown their concerns about the social impact of housing reform on
issues such as power persistent unequal distribution (Logan et al. 1999), work-unit
led gentrification (Leaf 1995), social exclusion of vulnerable groups (Lee 2000), and
the contentious issue of residential displacement (Wu 2004). It is agreed that although
housing reform policies were aimed at the whole society, they have varying impacts
on different social and economic groups in different geographical locations (Wang
and Murie 2000). However, the actual residents of the city are often a forgotten or
overlooked factor in the urban development process (Logan 2002).

Research in the housing system in China is mainly at the city level (e.g. Huang 2004),
or intra-urban and district level (Wang and Li 2004; Wu 2004). Previous social
impact research has relied on census data and statistical analysis, while little research
has been conducted at the neighborhood level. Due to the growing discontent from
forced eviction, there is an urgent need for studies from the residents perspective to
inform the future policy making processes. The main research gaps in housing studies
in China are the lack of micro level social research on the dynamics of housing policy
change and residential satisfaction with the outcome. This study will address these
gaps by assessing residential satisfaction to understand the factors affecting their
evaluation and to inform the process of housing policy formulation.
Within limited social impact research in Chinas housing sector, scholars have
identified problems and issues which have a larger implication on general housing
research. Wang and Murie (2000) argued that social and spatial transformation
showed signs similar to western cities, but it will still reflect both systems for a long
time. Empirical studies also uncovered differences from western research. Li (2004)
revealed that gender and child birth do not have any effect on mobility rate. It seems
that housing research as a housing adjustment process is less applicable to the case of
Chinese cities than those cities in the West (Li 2004). Many scholars conclude these
with Chinas transitional economy (Nee 1989), in which administrative power
persists during the market transition. Structural forces are at work continually to
restrain housing behavior under the reform toward the market economy (Wu 2002;
Huang 2003; Li 2004), and possibly making backward steps.
Inner city redevelopment was often separately addressed within their city or nation
level research questions (e.g. World Bank 1992; Wang 2001; Wu 2002), and its
processes were generalized as urban renewal and population displacement, in which
little citizens were displaced to far suburban areas resulted new patterns of social
segregation and division, and commercial and office space were developed for a

different social class to accommodate (Wang and Murie 2000). Most of the empirical
research has generally focused on pre-reform and post-reform comparison, which
ignored the dynamics within the change. Studies on redevelopment in Beijing (e.g. Lu
1997; Wu 1999) were mostly focused on the physical change, showing concern about
the social impact (Leaf 1995). Few have really empirically investigated the social
change. Redevelopment is actually a rapidly evolving process, with shifting rules and
roles at dizzying speed (Abramson 1997) in the past decade. It has shown a
complicated picture that is in need of careful exploration. This dissertation
approaches this changing process from the perspective of residential satisfaction.
Social-spatial Transformation in Chinese Cities
The social-spatial transformation study is interested in exploring the relationships
between the social change and the spatial change in urban environments, such as
topics like gentrification (Smith 1986), suburban growth (Logan and Schneider 1983),
or divided cities (Fainstein et al. 1992) among others. It stays in the core of urban
studies in that the speed and scale of these urban changes present many challenges to
the society. Of particular concern are the risks to the physical environment and
natural resources, to health conditions, to social cohesion, and to individual rights
(Montgomery et al. 2003). Understanding the distinctive features of urban social-
spatial transformation in a certain political economy context will help to inform
policy making and guide future research in order to take full advantage of the
potential benefits of urban development.
Prior to the reform in late 1980s, Chinese cities social and spatial patterns were very
different from either western cities or the socialist cities of Eastern Europe. The
socialist Chinese cities were exceptional in socioeconomic cleavages in other Third
World Countries, like spatial segregation by income class and a large component of

the population resident in poorly served slum or squatter settlement. Residence
pattern in China shows clear division between urban and rural, and great influence of
work units. The different employment requirement in different work units creates
different patterns of social mix in spatially segregated work units. This originated
from the strong ideological commitment of the state toward breaking down the social
and spatial barriers which delineate class in non-socialist countries (Xie and Costa
Even though having this strong socialist ideological equality, scholars have found that
social inequality in housing exists in socialist countries (Szelenyi 1983), even in
China (Nee 1989). Administrative allocation in socialist countries has created as
much housing inequality as the capitalist market method of allocation. Those people
who have power have much better access to resources than others, while household
income is not able to clearly indicate the social inequality. The equity ideology of a
socialist country was successful in counteracting the spatial segregation among
different income groups. However, the segregation in urban areas between different
work units became a norm in socialist China (Miao 2003).
This pattern of spatially mixed unequal social groups within segregated work units
started changing since the economic reform in China in late 1970s. Influenced by
globalization (Wu 2000; Cartier 2002; Shi and Hamnett 2002), Chinas unique
transitional economy (Nee 1989; Wu and Yeh 1997; Zhu 1999), with its blend of
central government intervention and newly emerging market mechanisms, is causing
dramatic restructuring in cities. Research in Budapest shows that urban change
resembling western countries could take place in the transformation of a planned
society (Hegedus and Tosics 1991). Focusing on the operation of a transitional
economy, researchers have identified inequalities in income (Bian and Logan 1996),
housing (Logan et al. 1999), and residential stratification (Hu and Kaplan 2001).
Partial market reform (World Bank 1992; Zhu 1999) allows administrative power to

persist, reinforcing social inequalities in China (Bian and Logan 1996). Gentrification,
as a form of inequality in accessing inner-city housing stock, also aroused
researchers concern (Abramson 1997), particularly in the unique form of work-unit-
led gentrification (Leaf 1995).
Since the economic reform, Wang and Murie (2000) argue that the economic and
housing reform has resulted in a social and spatial reorganization of cities and the
widening of the gap between the poor and the rich in China. This is consistent with
the post-socialist eastern European countries where the market reform sustains part of
the socialist inequality and generating new forms of market inequality. Studies in
Eastern Europe found that the inequality existed in the transitional process -
privatization provides some people with valuable financial, property and other assets,
while others lose out (Andrusz et al. 1996). Patterns similar to western cities have
been identified and discussed. Feng (2003) examines that Chinese cities are
experiencing accelerated suburbanization. Chinese cities, where market reform has
been managed by intact political elites, offer opportunities to understand the
operations of a mixed economy, where power and markets together mold social
inequality (Logan et al. 1999).
About the social spatial transformation, scholars mostly rely on observation and
concern rather than empirical investigations. Wang and Murie (2000) find that the
inner city has experienced low-income groups moving out due to redevelopment, and
cadres and professionals in institutions moving in after the urban renewal. Leaf (1995)
and Abramson (1997) are concerned about the possibility of gentrification in Chinese
cities. Wu (2002) directly labels the inner city with gentrified areas in his study on
Shanghais spatial transformation. Meng (2000) questions the difference between this
process and gentrification in western countries and argues that Chinese cities are
mainly going through the change of function with a decrease of residential land,
rather than the rich displacing the poor as in western cities. The lack of empirical

research in Chinese cities social and spatial transformation is evident. Little attention
has been given to the social impact on residents, who were involved in this process,
especially those original residents who either stayed in the inner city or displaced to
suburbs. This dissertation research attempts to examine the effect of social-spatial
transformation on one residents group.
Research Design
This dissertation research studies the residential satisfaction in the inner city
redeveloped neighborhoods in Beijing. It focuses on neighborhoods that were
redeveloped for the relocation of original residents in the inner city. The dissertation
research is to empirically study whether residents living in these neighborhoods are
satisfied with their living conditions, in order to inform the housing policy-making
process, and contribute to the theory building of residential satisfaction.
Studied Residents Group and Neighborhoods
The inner city redevelopment in Beijing started from the late 1980s. Residents who
have been involved in this process can be generally divided into three groups.
Original residents living in the inner city were divided into two groups: those who
moved out to suburbs and those who moved back to the inner city redeveloped
neighborhoods. The third group is new-comers from elsewhere, who moved in either
through work units housing allocation or commercial housing purchase. This study
focused on the group of original inner city residents who moved into the inner city
redeveloped neighborhoods. Geographically, the study was carried on in
neighborhoods which were redeveloped for original residents relocation.

The main obstacles of conducting the other two groups of residents are varied. To
those displaced inner city residents who now live in suburbs, this study attempted to
track the residents years after the redevelopment but failed. They were scattered
around in the suburbs. Their old neighbors who stay in the inner city mostly lost their
contact information. It needs large scale research to investigate. For those who moved
into the inner city redeveloped neighborhoods through housing distribution and
purchase, the obstacles were mainly about the accessibility. Those neighborhoods
they live in were generally under higher security guarding. Survey was not allowed in
the neighborhoods. As a result, the residents group that this dissertation research
studies is only on residents who lived in the neighborhoods redeveloped for original
residents. They were mostly original residents on site before the redevelopment.
There are a small proportion of residents who moved in through renting or
exchanging among the survey respondents.
This residents group is disadvantaged compared to commercial housing dwellers and
better off compared to those evictees to the suburb. Residential satisfaction study on
this specific group will shed light on the redevelopments social impacts studies on
other residents groups. A future study comparing these three groups of residents is
Research Questions
In Beijing, newspaper reports on the completion of inner city redevelopment projects
are always titled as Xiqianxinju, which means original residents happily moving
back to newly redeveloped apartments. Are residents still satisfied years after
moving back?
Based on the inner city redevelopment background in Beijing and the theoretical
background, the leading empirical question that this dissertation asks is:

Are residents living in these redeveloped neighborhoods satisfied with their current
redeveloped housing? And why?
This follows the series of questions as,
1. Is residential satisfaction different in neighborhoods redeveloped at different
periods of time in history?
2. What are residents satisfied for and dissatisfied for in these neighborhoods?
3. Are residential satisfaction findings in Chinese cases different from those in
western studies?
4. What can we learn from this study to inform the redevelopment policy making?
Related to this series of empirical questions, the general theoretical question is:
How will residential satisfaction research in Chinese cities context contribute to the
overall conceptual framework of residential satisfaction research?
For neighborhoods redeveloped at different period in the past fifteen years, residential
satisfaction may vary. Selecting four cases which were redeveloped at different time
in history aims to explore the change of residential satisfaction along the time and the
dynamic of redevelopment policies and processes in the past fifteen years. During the
survey, randomly selected residents were asked about their satisfaction with the
redeveloped area shortly after returning to the neighborhood. Since there was no
satisfaction data available at the time of moving in, we asked residents to tell us what
their satisfaction had been when they moved it. In general initial residential
satisfaction at time of move in was high according to responses. These original
residents felt privileged because they felt they were better off than the groups who
were displaced to the suburbs. Their new housing condition was also better than those
who still lived in un-redeveloped inner city neighborhoods. Overall, they were fine
with their new dwellings when they moved back in.
However, the research hypothesis is, their residential satisfaction might not last.
Comparing the commercial housing development nearby, these redeveloped

neighborhoods residents may overall feel being deprived, and not happy at all. On the
other hand, there also have been factors that possibly contribute to the change of
residential satisfaction as time passing by, mostly along the decreasing direction: the
deteriorating and lack of maintenance of their housing, and the improving overall
housing development standard. The deteriorating of living condition and poor
maintenance certainly lead to dissatisfaction. Earlier redeveloped housing dwellers
might feel dissatisfied when they see new redevelopment projects provide better
conditions than what they used to have. The improvement on living conditions could
not overcome the low social and economic status of the neighborhood and their
population. Relocation policies allowed some residents to stay in the inner city
neighborhoods. But the low housing standards might not sustain the residential
satisfaction in these neighborhoods.
Chinas transitional economy brings the dramatic transformation of social and
physical environment of cities. It also offers an opportunity to test urban theories in
an interesting political economy setting with the mix of power and market forces.
This dissertation will also investigate whether the residential satisfaction research
findings show differences in the Chinese context.
Research Methods
The research is overall using the case study method to study neighborhoods
developed at different period in the history, based on data collected in a field trip in
Beijing from July 22nd to November 2nd, 2003. Case studies are best performed in
pairs since it allows comparisons (Yin 2003). Four cases are chronologically coded as
A, B, C, and D in this dissertation (Table 2-1). Interviews with planning officials,
designers, and developers, among others, have helped in identifying these cases to

make sure that they were representative of each of the redevelopment stages in the
Moreover, case studies allow the linkage between the qualitative and quantitative data
in which they benefit each other in studies during the design, data collection and
analysis processes (Miles and Huberman 1994: 41). The field work in Beijing
attempted to collect both survey questionnaire data and interview data. In the data
analysis, the qualitative and quantitative data support each other in the discussion.
The survey data can help analysis by showing the generality of specific observations,
correcting the holistic fallacy, and verifying or casting new light on qualitative
findings. On the other hand, the interview data can validate, interpret, clarify, and
illustrate survey findings.
Since the beginning of inner city neighborhood redevelopment in the late 1980s,
relocation policies have continued to change in the context of urban economic reform.
These changes have contributed to the socio-spatial restructuring of inner city
neighborhoods. This study investigates residential satisfaction using data from
household surveys with semi-structured and open-ended questions in four selected
neighborhood redevelopment cases. The four cases are chronologically coded as A, B,
C, and D in this dissertation (Table 2-2). A total of 105 questionnaires were collected
with an average respondent rate of 60%, which captured about 7% of households
across the four neighborhoods. Data on household living characteristics, socio-
economic data, living conditions prior to and after the redevelopment, comments
about redevelopment, and satisfaction level, among others, were collected in the
survey. Overall residential satisfaction was evaluated on a five-point scale: very
satisfied, satisfied, okay, not satisfied, and extremely dissatisfied.
The interview data with informants is analyzed using content analysis method,
providing rich qualitative interpretation for the survey data to understand the process
of change. Other than survey and interview data, archival data was also collected in

the field trip, including official documents, archives, and plan drawings. The
geographic boundary of this research is within the redeveloped housing
stock/neighborhoods targeted to accommodate original residents. The survey
respondents are the current residents in these redeveloped apartment buildings. The
interview respondents are personnel involved in the redevelopment processes,
including planning officials, planners, designers, developers, journalists, among
Limitation of Research Design
Due to difficulties in accessing household data in Beijing, this study has some
limitations in data collection and the overall research design. Altogether, there are
three groups of residents who have been involved in inner city redevelopment
processes: original residents who stayed in the inner city after redevelopment, those
who moved to suburbs and newcomers who live in commercial housing
redevelopment projects. The geographic boundary of the research is within the
redeveloped neighborhoods for original residents. This study only focuses on people
who currently live in these neighborhoods. A control group is lacking due to the
restriction on the surveys in the commercial housing redevelopment area in the inner
city, and the difficulties of tracing displaced residents in the suburbs.
Ideally this study could study residential satisfaction among all groups involved in the
redevelopment processes. It was impossible because in some redeveloped
neighborhoods surveyors are not allowed to enter. There were security guards
standing at the entrance, so that sales persons and social surveyors were stopped. For
some places, there is no way to reach the housing unit door if the visit does not have
any specific persons name. They need to call first to confirm with the residents.
Some neighborhood management officers are also sensitive to a survey request as if

they have some dark secret. The researcher was once watched all the way out by the
security guard after the survey intention was proposed. The arguments in this paper
could be better grounded if one made comparisons among these three groups of
residents. Future research should attempt to include other different groups involved in
the redevelopment processes to make useful comparisons.
Household survey method was chosen is because no other reliable data was available.
Available official data was not useful for this research. Main reason is the cross
neighborhoods management of residents committee. It has general data within a
certain district boundary, redeveloped overlapping with dilapidated buildings.
Moreover, more than 27 percent of households in Beijing live in places that are not
their population registration location. The questionnaire survey became the only
possible means of quantitative data source. However, because of the lack of funding
and research support, the whole survey was conducted by the researcher with two
part-time assistants. It was not able to cover a larger sample size of households. Also
neighborhoods selected in this research are mostly medium to small size
The insecure feeling among residents affects the survey response rate. Women were
likely to accept the questionnaires. Middle-aged man mostly refused. Some old
people also refused perhaps because of illness, insecurity, or illiteracy.
Because the research questions were finalized in the field, the research design did not
have comprehensive theoretical support before conducting the field work. The
questionnaire failed to address some of the issues that should possible be addressed in
satisfaction survey, such as the differentiation of satisfaction between social and
physical environment, as well as between the housing and neighborhood. Hopefully
these issues could be addressed partially under the help of qualitative interview data
in this dissertation, and fully addressed in future research.

Research Significance
The purpose of this dissertation research is to evaluate whether this group of residents
who live in inner city redeveloped apartments for original residents are satisfied with
their current living conditions. It investigates the consequences of redevelopment
policies and processes in a transitional economy context, and assesses the success of
redevelopment in the past fifteen years. The findings are potentially relevant not only
to urban redevelopment in other developing countries, but also in more developed
countries where supply and demand dynamics have played a dominant role.
Research on residential satisfaction in western countries has contributed both
empirical and theoretical insights into the underlying processes. This dissertation
research, specifically in the context of Chinas unique transitional economy, helps to
clarify whether these insights can be transferred to developing countries with
different spatial, social, economic, political and global contexts.
Chinas transitional economy brings the fast transformation of social and physical
environment of cities. Redevelopment in the inner city Beijing also brought
substantial transformation of both social and physical environment. Chinas urban
development offers an opportunity to test urban theories in an interesting political
economy setting with the mix of power and market forces. Studying the residential
satisfaction among these specific redeveloped neighborhoods dwellers provide the
opportunity to assess the urban redevelopment policy and housing reform in Chinese
transitional economy. It also helps informing the future policy-making in the current
urban restructuring process which is emerging from macroeconomic and social
processes such as globalization and social stratification.
The residents group studied in this research is the disadvantaged group comparing to
the commercial housing dwellers moved into the inner city area, and better-off

comparing to those who were displaced to suburbs. Research focused on this group
could shed light on social impacts on other groups of residents involved in the
redevelopment processes. Residents comments on redevelopment clearly shows their
evaluations on the redevelopment process and product, which highly relates to the
way they respond to residential environment. An understanding of the factors that
facilitate a satisfied or dissatisfied response can play a critical role in making
successful housing policies. This dissertation research examines the residential
satisfaction across neighborhoods redeveloped at different periods in history. It
assesses the past redevelopment projects, aims to inform the future policy-making
process, for more satisfied and successful redevelopment projects. In the process of
exploring residential satisfaction in Chinas context, the comparison between China
and studies in other political economy contexts could contribute to the theoretical
understanding of the residential satisfaction concept in general.
The mix of market forces and administrative power reinforces social inequalities in
accessing redeveloped housing stock. However, the privilege that the sitting tenants
hold in the redevelopment process implies that social mobility in Beijing is more
complicated than what happened in western countries. The social conflicts that arise
through redevelopment processes are becoming increasingly significant. In China, the
government has been co-opted by the market reform to undertake a pro-growth policy,
and there is very little evidence of a civil society providing a viable counterweight to
over-development. This dissertation research on the social impacts of such
development policies from the perspective of residential satisfaction seeks to
encourage policy-makers to rethink strategies to balance growth with social equity for
future projects.

Dissertation Structure
Since the late 1980s, continuous large-scale urban redevelopment has caused
increasing building demolition and urban residents relocation in inner city Beijing.
Redevelopment policies have kept changing its social component on original
residents relocation. This dissertation research studies residential satisfaction in
redeveloped neighborhoods, based on data collected in Beijing in the fall of 2003.
Empirically, it investigates the redeveloped neighborhoods which accommodated
original inner city residents, and examines whether redevelopment at different times
in the past fifteen years has made differences in original residents satisfaction.
Theoretically, this dissertation tests the residential satisfaction conceptual framework
formed in western studies in a Chinese transitional economy context. It identifies the
gaps in the original framework, and attempts to address them with a revised
conceptual framework. The structure of the dissertation basically follows the order of:
background information, assessing residential satisfaction, addressing the gaps and
proposing a revised framework, testing the new framework, and research significance
policy implications.
Chapter One states the research background, question and methods. Chapter Two
introduces the history of redevelopment in the past fifteen years in inner city Beijing.
It categorizes the redevelopment history into four phases, and introduces four studied
neighborhoods redevelopment history and background information. It sets up the
stage of understanding the dynamics of policies and processes of neighborhood
redevelopment in Beijing.
Chapter Three assesses residential satisfaction in these four redeveloped
neighborhoods, analyzing the survey results collected in the field work. The survey
finding suggests that satisfaction in all four neighborhoods is overall low. Residential

satisfaction is higher in neighborhoods that were redeveloped later. There are no
personal socio-demographic data found to be significant in predicting the satisfaction.
The housing unit size is a positive significant predictor of satisfaction. Using the
conceptual framework Weidemann and Anderson (1985) proposed, it points out the
limitation of this conceptual framework which failed to understand residential
satisfaction in Chinas context.
Chapter Four discusses the research findings and investigate the difference between
the Chinese and western housing markets. The similarities of Chinese cases with
western public housing studies bring the focus toward the subsidized housing
distribution system. From the study of Chinese cases, it first identifies two major gaps
in the framework: the mix of forced moving-out and involuntary moving-in within
moving behaviors, and the lack of psychological understanding of satisfaction. Then
the dissertation proposes a revised conceptual framework and attempts to address
these two major gaps identified. The new framework attempts to differentiate moving
behaviors into different stages, and looking for the differences between Chinese and
western moving behaviors. The revised framework highlights the subsidized
housings impact on residential satisfaction. Residents individual housing needs are
the reference of their housing expectation. The discrepancy between expectation and
experience is their residential satisfaction.
Chapter Five uses the revised conceptual framework to analyze the survey data in
Beijings cases. It is able to explain some variances in residential satisfaction in these
redevelopment cases. It concludes that the involuntary characteristics in these
neighborhoods blurred the effect of socio-economic difference, and widened the
discrepancy between expectation and experience. Residential satisfaction should be
studied as a criterion in evaluating housing policy rather than as a predictor of moving
behavior in the Chinese context. It is the larger national and international political
economy that sets conditions for neighborhood change and residential satisfaction.

Chapter Six is a conclusion. It stresses the significance of residential satisfaction
research in current China. Both the transitional nature of political economy towards a
more market-oriented economy, and the increasing social, political and economic cost
on redevelopment processes due to social conflicts, are calling for more satisfaction
research to investigate the underlying processes and inform future policy making. The
dissertation finally provides some policy implications and recommendations for inner
city redevelopment in Beijing.

This chapter focuses on the history of neighborhood redevelopment in inner city
Beijing, under the context of Chinas transitional economy, and the larger framework
of land reform and housing reform in China since the late 1980s. This is a descriptive
chapter. It discusses policy changes at different hierarchies: a national level economic
framework change, the change of urban land policy, Beijings overall development
policy change, and then to the inner city redevelopment policy change. This chapter
divides the redevelopment history into four phases with big policy change as turning
points. It sets the stage for later redevelopment phases in selecting neighborhood
projects. Data from Xicheng District (West City District) planning office about the
redevelopment projects will be discussed.
The history of the redevelopment policy change directly affects the redevelopment
processes and residents relocation choices. This sets up the stage in understanding
factors that result in a satisfied or dissatisfied neighborhood.
Dilapidated Courtyard Housing
In the late 1980s, the condition of a big part of the courtyard housing in the inner city
was dilapidated. Residents lived in crowded rooms, sharing kitchen and toilets with
other families. There was no courtyard existing in the courtyard houses any more.
Most yards were filled with temporary shabby structures with people living inside.
In Beijing, many people moved to the city to work without proper provision of
housing, many families had to share courtyard housing which previously belonged to

one big family. As the households grew, the crowding problem became more critical.
Another event, the 1978 big earthquake affected Beijing inner city courtyard houses
in that it brought up a big boom of temporary structure construction in the yards,
which changed the physical layout ofcourtyard basically. Lots of courtyard
dwellers were scared of living inside, built temporary light structures in the courtyard
for living. After the earthquake, since there was also the need of more living space,
these structures stayed and were upgraded to a better condition.
In the late 1980s, the inner city courtyard houses had been deteriorating and really
bringing up urban problems in 1980s. Due to the housing shortage in the city,
residents still strived to live in this dilapidated built environment. The social life in
the inner city is still active and rich. What has caused the dilapidated condition of
these courtyard houses? They existed in the inner city for centuries; why did the
deterioration become such an urban problem in 1980s? Even though this is not the
central theme of this dissertation, it is worthwhile to explore a little more here.
This question should be discussed within Chinas different social, economic and
demographic contexts, different political and economic systems and different levels
of industrialization (Wang and Murie 1999b). The fast population growth and large
scale migration from rural to urban areas, combined with socialist governments
investment interest more in production than consumption (Wang and Murie 1999b:
141) led to the lagging behind of housing investment and created the housing
shortage problem.
These explain why these courtyard houses were overcrowded in late 1980s, but can
not explain why these houses were also deteriorating. If these houses were well
maintained, crowding should not be the reason of deteriorating. What makes the
disinvestment on maintenance and repair of these courtyard houses? Some would like
to argue that the extremely low rents is the main cause of a series of housing
problems, including shortages of housing and investment, the poor quality of new
housing and poor management, repairs and maintenance (Yang and Wang 1995;

Wang and Murie 1999b). However, the fundamental reason of poor condition of
housing is due to the ongoing transfer of ownership, private owners will not invest
any more in the housing as they do not own it any more (Ma 1981). The low rent
collected from the dwellers could not cover the cost of maintenance of public housing.
One of the interview journalist respondent also pointed out that the public ownership
of housing was the main cause of fast deteriorating of courtyard housing after the
socialist revolution. Courtyard housing survived in the inner city Beijing for centuries,
but failed to do so when the property rights collected all by the government.
As to the over-crowded and dilapidated courtyard housing, people perceive the built
environment in different ways. On the one hand, many novels and movies described
the poor living conditions of people living there and following social problems, such
as a tree growing in the middle of a bed, fights on water and electricity bills among
neighbors, suspicious on loss of personal belongings. On the other hand, some people
appreciate the courtyard settings as a good environment for social contact and
communication among neighbors. It has the most vivid social activities and
interactions happening within the special built environment. There is no doubt that
the poor living condition has brought lots of living inconvenience and social conflicts
among courtyard residents. But many still believe that the vivid social interaction
would be missing if people move to apartment buildings.
Western studies always criticized the modem apartment buildings for its lack of
opportunities for social interaction. For them the higher interaction would lead to
higher neighborhood satisfaction (Varady and Preiser 1998). However, critics from
another perspective pointed out outsiders and insiders perceive things differently
(Relph 1976), those who appreciate social interactions are mostly outsiders. Insiders
who suffered from the poor living conditions in the dilapidated courtyard housing
would hardly appreciate the social interaction and be desperate to move out. Later in
CHAPTER 4, this dissertation will further address this issue from the perspective of
housing needs hierarchy.

Four Phases of Redevelopment
The redevelopment of Beijing inner city neighborhoods is a process highly
interrelated with the housing reform processes in China. Started from the early 1980s,
housing reform became the only practical choice in China due to the critical financial
pressure in the housing system (Yang and Wang 1995). The political economy reform
since the late 1970s provided the conditions for the housing reform. The process of
inner city redevelopment in Beijing is thus further embedded in the housing reform
Housing reform in China has followed a pragmatic process, with experiments carried
out in various locations before nationwide policies were formulated. It is a
decentralized process with the central government laying out the reform framework
and the local governments deciding the speed and actual process of the reform
according to local situations (Huang 2004). State-wide, there have been several
cornerstones through the housing reform process since the 1980s. At the city level,
redevelopment in Beijing also experienced the related policy changes. Table 2-1
shows the timeline of development policy change in the past 20 years in China and in
Beijings inner city redevelopment. Detailed introduction on housing reform in China
can be found in many studies (e.g. Wang and Murie 1999a; 1999b; 2000; Wu 2001).
The dynamics of local housing context set up the background of housing reform.
Comparing to the state-wide reform, although Beijing was lagging behind in housing
reform policies, the pragmatic approach of reform started from the beginning of state-
wide reform. Beijing formally established the Housing Reform Office in March 1988,
and set up the Housing Reform Steering Group (Wang and Murie 1999b: 165). A
housing reform framework was issued in 1992, and the comprehensive reform
scheme was issued in 1994 (Huang 2004).

Table 2-1 : Housing reform and Beijing redevelopment policy time table
Phases Housing Reform Policy Beijing Inner City Redevelopment Case studied
Before Administrative allocation of Government led small experiments; A (earliest
1988 housing; Housing reform experiments. Housing compensation & relocation by preference with a wide variety of choice. moving-in Oct.89)
Phase I 1988, State Council No.l 1, Nationwide reform launched; Start of land using right; Trial of commercial housing; Government practice real-estate development, commercial and infrastructure development led large scale redevelopment; Relying on work-unit purchasing; Housing compensation & moving-back limited to some original residents. B (earliest moving-in Feb. 92)
Phase II 1994, State Council No. 43, Rent reform, Housing Provident Fund, Sale of Public housing, Affordable housing Empowered local government Developer separated from government. Large scale & Work-unit purchasing Encouraging 30% moving back rate; Relocation considers size & population C (earliest moving-in Oct.99)
Phase III 1998, State Council No. 23, Declare the end of welfare housing. Lack of profitable land, new policy housing reform led redevelopment, Housing + monetary compensation, encouraging moving out2. D (earliest moving-in Sept. 02)
2003 Overheating of real estate Pressure for conservation, Courtyard preservation ???
2 This policy clarified the tenure confusion, but disadvantaged group becomes a problem.

The changing roles and rules of Beijings inner city redevelopment are highly
intertwined with the state housing reform framework. In the late 1980s, the
experiments of redevelopment started. The original purpose of municipal government
was to improve the dilapidated living conditions of inner city residents. The program
was initially intended to maintain significant portions of original residents on site and
to redevelop the city in a manner which is consistent with its historic context (Lu
1997). There were totally three small projects. They all made effort to respect the
historic inner city. The redevelopment design had the concern of its historic contexts.
As to the relocation, two projects had almost all original households moving back to
the redeveloped inner city neighborhoods, and the other one kept 30% of original
residents, 70% moved in from other places. Original residents who had to move to
other places, the relocation policy considered all kinds of available means. Residents
relatively had several choices in relocation. Also these options were mostly in better
locations, within or around the inner city area. These options were later running out as
more and more redevelopment involved relocation went on.
The large scale inner city redevelopment started from early 1990. Large scale
residents displacement was driven by either comprehensive real estate
redevelopment or infrastructure development. Commercial space and housing
development dominated the comprehensive redevelopment, which means that
residents had no chance of moving back to the place where they used to live. A few
projects provided a small piece of land for redevelopment for relocation of the
minimal number of original residents. The relocation policy has to set up rules to
decide who could move back.
Beijings redevelopment focused its attention primarily on making projects
financially viable. The municipality introduced a differential pricing scheme (World
Bank 1992). Original households who would move back purchased them at a
subsidized price. Commercial housing developments were sold at market price mostly

to rich work units or individuals who could afford the market price apartment housing
at that time. The commercial housing sales subsidized the high relocation cost of
original residents. As a result, the new housing and commercial space is priced at two
to four times its economic cost (Dowall 1994). This creates severe housing market
In earlier years, commercial housing buyers were mostly work units and then they
redistributed to their employees. Few individuals could afford new housing at that
time. The sales of these apartments were not by unit, but by buildings or tens of units.
Developers also tried to limit the number of households moving back in order to
increase the development profit. Criteria were set up to restrict households relocation
choices. They include the size of living space households used to have, the number of
family members, and the cost of new redeveloped apartment. After all the screening,
most households were not qualified and had the only choice of moving to the suburbs.
Residents were discontented that most of them were excluded from the choice of
moving back to the inner city. Only the better-off among original residents, who had
bigger living space, and/or who could afford the subsidized price, could move back.
This big wave of large scale redevelopment continued until the late 1990s. A small
turning point along this was the institutional change in 1994, when the developers
were separated from the government. Before this, the local government performed as
real estate developers. Although the developers later were institutionalized as a
separate individual unit, their connections with government were still very close.
Many people changed their roles from government officials to real estate developers
during this time. Their personal connections with the city planning offices still
provide significant help in their real estate businesses, in the way of being better
informed with new development information. This gives them more opportunities to
get projects and gain faster approval from the planning offices. Although their names
were separated, the close personal connections under the table benefited both players

for a long term.
Moreover, large scale displacement in early 1990s has generated discontent from
residents. Relocation policies this time encouraged redevelopment keeping 30% of
original residents on site. From a totally market perspective, the sitting tenants
privilege of subsidized housing was criticized as increasing the cost of redevelopment
and further commercial housing price, which shows an inefficient transitional
economy (World Bank 1992; Dowall 1994). The relocation policy was from the
social concern to offer opportunity for residents to stay in the inner city, in order to
provide an option of moving back. Actually, those who could afford to purchase were
better-off among original residents.
After around one decade of large scale redevelopment, the dilapidated areas with
extremely high density and poor infrastructure became the leftover in the inner city.
The increasing compensation standard of relocation could not attract any developer to
these remaining areas of shack dwellers (Wu 2002). Also at this time, the housing
reform had a critical move toward establishing an urban housing market: the
termination of welfare housing provision in 1998 (Wang 2001). The termination of
housing provision cuts the physical and management linkage between housing and
employment, but still sustains the economic linkage with huge housing subsidies
(Wang and Murie 2000). People working in better work units can still have more
housing funds, which means they can still get better housing in the market.
For residents living in dilapidated inner city housing till around 2000, it is highly
possible that their work units were not able to provide better housing for them. They
were mostly retired, unemployed, or self-employed. The lands population density
was so high that no developers could afford the relocation cost. During this time it
was also hard to find big work unit buyers. Thus the redevelopment stayed very slow
for two years till the end of 1999.
It is within this background that the municipal government issued a new policy to

facilitate the redevelopment in 1999. The new policy combined the housing reform
into redevelopment. It allowed residents buy the redeveloped housing first, so that
developers do not need to borrow money from the bank. It solves the financial
problem and developers could start the project with zero investment. This policy
became the incentive for another wave of redevelopment. Inner city Beijing
experienced the great leap forward of demolition3 in 2001 and 2002. Xicheng
district alone moved out around 20,000 households every year, four times more than
the years from 1994-98.
The great leap forward of demolition rung the bell to the city in 2003. During the
field trip, there was a file sent out from the municipal government that called off all
demolition in the inner city area. The over-heating redevelopment in the inner city
area dramatically changed the inner city historic pattern. There was an urgent call for
conservation of Beijings historic and cultural city districts. This gave a break to the
inner city redevelopment. How long the break would stay, and what will happen after
the break is released, these remain question marks, and are interesting research
questions for future work.
Redevelopment Background of Four Cases
This dissertation research empirically studies the residential satisfaction in four
redeveloped neighborhoods. Four neighborhoods surveyed represent different
redevelopment stages in the history. Table 2-2 gives a general comparison of these
four neighborhoods, regarding to their apartment units sizes, residents involved in
moving back and displaced, relocation compensation, moving back housing cost, title,
and overall development size and function. Just from the table, it is evident that the
3 This term was used by the Relocation Director in the Planning office.

relocation housing size is increasing, and compensation is moving toward monetary
compensation. These housing titles are transferring from public to private ownership.
Apparently, their prices are stepping up dramatically across four neighborhoods.
Table 2-2: Comparison across four cases
size of 1/2/3 bedroom unit (m2) 30+/40+/50+ 43/57/n.a. 50+/60+/70+ -50/70+/90+
Moving back/out (household) 305/1 260/3000 173/2376 400+/500+
Relocation compensation Housing Housing Housing Housing or money
moving back cost 0 $85/ m2 $85-200/ m2 $200-620/ m2
housing title public housing partial title partial title full title
Overall development size 1.5ha 20.48ha 31.32ha 5 ha
Development function housing & hotel housing and commercial housing and commercial housing and commercial
District Boundary
Figure 2-1: Location of four cases

Case A Xiaohoucang
Case A was one of the first three redevelopment experiments in Beijing (See Figure
2-2). Experimental projects started in 1988, and totally about 500 households were
involved. Comparing to later projects, projects at this time were in smaller scale.
They had the purpose of experimenting and gaining experiences for later more large-
scale redevelopment.
Case A provided 325 units for 298 original households. It offered all households the
choice of moving back. Some large families were even provided multiple apartments
to accommodate their extra needs. Only ten units were sold at market prices. There
was a high level of residential participation throughout the design process. The
designer created fifty-three different unit designs to accommodate various household
needs. To fit in the inner city built environment, the design also attempted to preserve
the original hutong pattern and created small courtyards for ground level dwellers.
Constrained by money and inner city
building codes, residents agreed to
have smaller units but they all stayed.
The average unit is twelve square
meters less than the standard unit size.
The average person living area space
was 7.3 m2, which was 2.6 m2 more
than before the redevelopment. In
response to the small units, residents
tried to increase their living space by
adding and extending structures into their yards, on their balconies or around their
windows. The original design of platform and courtyard were now mostly boarded
Figure 2-2: Plan of Case A Xiaohoucang

up and used as interior space (See Figure 2-3). This was the primary way of housing
adjustment that residents conducted when they didnt have enough living space.
The entire redevelopment process went smoothly with the participation of residents. It
took only a month for all residents to move out. They were paid or provided housing
during the period of construction. To make the redevelopment economically feasible,
the designer attempted to include a 3,000 m2 hotel on the site to balance the
redevelopment cost. The government provided an initiative fund of $300,000. By
moving back, residents kept their previous status of ownership, which was mostly
public housing. Later after the housing reform, some residents paid money to get part
or all of their housing title.
Since the relocation policy allowed all original residents to stay, the neighborhood
kept the socio-economic pattern and went through the natural growth through years
after redevelopment. Young people grew up and moved out after marriage. The
average household size decreased 20%. The density of this neighborhood has
decreased from 800 persons/ha to 500 persons/ha. As a result, the average person

living area space was increased to 11.7 m2. Comparing to the current redevelopment
subsidized standard area space 15m2/person, Case A living conditions are still
crowded. Residents spent effort in planting trees in the neighborhoods in early years,
and it won the Garden Neighborhood model in Beijing. Many elder people always
gather around in the neighborhood and there is lots of social interaction among
Case B Yutaovuan
After the redevelopment experiments,
the Municipal Government made the
decision ofspeeding up dilapidated
housing redevelopment in April 1990.
The whole Yutaoyuan Phase I project
covered 23.8 ha land, with 283,800 m2
floor space. Around half of the floor
space in the plan was residential and
the other half was commercial. Among
residential, most were for commercial sale. The whole project started in 1992. By
2001, 3,258 households had moved out, and 220,000 square meters of housing units
were finished. Among these, only 260 units were for original residents. The average
unit size was fifty square meters. It accounts for 6% of the total housing development.
Yutaoyuan is the neighborhood which accommodated the group of 260 original
households (See Figure 2-4).
Case B is a smaller part of this large ongoing project. By 1999, 2262 households
involved in were displaced due to this Phase I project. To restrict the number of
Figure 2-4: Plan of Case B Yutaoyuan

households, options for moving back were limited to those whose previous living
space was larger than 25 square meters. Large households were allocated multiple
units. It is important to note that these houses were not free as were those in case A.
Residents paid approximately $90 per square meter. Beijings average annual
household income was only $400 in 1992. Even with the subsidized price, the
average household needs to spend their more than eleven years of income to pay for it.
In the early 90s, this cost strained the average households earnings, even though the
price was only one fourteenth that of commercial housing. This price was still above
affordability of most residents. Many households had to move to suburbs, living in
apartments bigger but free.
Those commercial housing units were
purchased by rich work units, and then
distributed to their employees.
Consequently, these two kinds of
redevelopment caused spatial
segregation among the residents.
Those work units always purchased
several buildings (or even paid before
the design started) and enclosed them
with fencing and security guards. As a
contrast, the group of buildings
developed for original residents were
poorly maintained. In case B, every
walkup has four units on each floor.
Developers again modified the
construction plan, downsizing the units
to gain more profits. As a result the units functioned poorly. There have been many
Figure 2-5: Yutaoyuan neighborhood

conflicts between residents and developers. Residents refused to pay utilities for
almost five years (See Figure 2-5).
Due to the strict relocation policy, few people could possibly move back. Case B was
half vacant at the beginning of moving back and there were people later moving back
at a higher price. One lady whose family moved back in April 1998 informed that
they paid $175 per square meter. Some vacant units later were also sold at the market
price. A 57 m2 two bedroom unit at half-basement was sold at $18,000. The inner city
property price sky-rocketed.
Those who moved back were thus still better-off among all original residents. The
relocation policy allowed the breaking-up of large families who used to live together.
An old lady in her 70s told that her family was able to have three units in this
neighborhood. According to their original housing size, 49.5 sq m, they could only
buy two units. They later found someone who was qualified to move back but did not
want to, and paid that household for the right to purchase another unit. They totally
paid more than $10,000 in total and got three units. Families with more than $10,000
savings in 1992 were few. She was happy with the current condition. Her complaint
was that the relocation policy did not allow them to buy three adjacent units.
The Yutaoyuan Project is still ongoing today. Commercial development along the
second ring road was suspended. Another piece of residential development which is
called Taoyuan Phase II was newly finished during the field trip. It covers another
34.05 ha land east of Phase I. Similar to Case D, a much higher percentage of
residents were able to move back at a much higher price.
Case C Yulansvuan
Residents moved back in Case C around 1999. Redevelopment at this time was still
large-scale. Comparing to Case B, the unit standard was higher than previous

redevelopment, and there were fewer redeveloped neighborhoods bought by big work
units. Some redevelopment at this time might be a part of an on-going project which
started earlier. The main redevelopment policy did
not have any qualitative change, but the quantitative
change was evident.
Units in Case C have a higher maintenance and
management standard in comparison to Case B. The
neighborhood has a metal fence and a security guard
(See Figure 2-6). However, the fence has broken parts
and people can walk through. The security guard
mainly guards the cars rather than preventing
unsolicited guests from entering the area. The open
space between apartment buildings does not provide
space for residents to interact, other than walking
through pathways and grass (See Figure 2-7).
The relocation policy at this time encouraged
sustaining 30% of original residents. This was a ratio
developed during the experimenting process from the Ju-er hutong project (Chen
1995), and also because of the increasing resentment of original residents. Extremely
low moving back rate in previous phase, such as Case B, brought up resentment from
residents. The municipal government provided this ratio and encouraged
redevelopment projects to follow. Moving back option still depended upon the
previous house size and household size. The cost of the apartment was around $200
per square meter in case C.
Fewer work units at this time could afford to buy several buildings at once because
the wealthier work units already resided in other locations. During this time, a new
form of segregation appeared, segregation among walkups. Case C has two walkups
Figure 2-6: Plan of Case C -

with much larger unit sizes designed for Dangguande (people with power). Their
walk-up entrances are relatively separated from the rest. There is only one unit in
each floor, almost three times the unit size of the original residents. Even so, it seems
that most of them were not used regularly. Those who own these units were likely to
own more than just this one.
Figure 2-7: Yulangyuan neighborhood
Case D Xiaoshikou
Case D is the most recent case and residents returned to the redeveloped units in 2002.
It is located right north of the second ring road and belongs to the Xicheng district.
The site was packed with dilapidated row houses with extremely high population
density before redevelopment. It was left untouched for so long since no

developers would be interested in it. It was the new housing reform led
redevelopment policy that made this project possible. The original residents were
among the very low social group. During the moving process, there was not even a
kezhang, the lowest rank leader in a work unit, found in the neighborhood.
Case D is a mixed use project (See Figure 2-8). The block meant for original residents
has the first floor facing street space for commercial renting. The other nearby block
was built to house a supermarket with the upper floor being used for commercial
apartments. During the time of survey, the commercial apartment dwellers were in the
process of moving. They are individual buyers rather than work unit purchase. In the
block for original residents, most have lived there for a year and still about one third
of the units were vacant. Since the relocation policy does not allow selling relocation
housing at commercial price, these vacancies can not be sold in the housing market.
Most of them will be sold under the table through networking at a price of economic
and comfortable housing, which is lower than the market price, and higher than the
The original households paid the
subsidized price of $200/m2 for up to
15 m2 per household member. Any
floor area above this limit was offered
at the economic and comfortable
housing price, $620/m2. This price is
still much lower than the commercial
housing price of more than $1000/m2
at this location. According to this policy, around 40% of original residents moved
back. Others could choose to receive either monetary compensation or housing
compensation in the suburbs. Monetary compensation is according to their previous
housing size. It was around $1,000 per square meter of prior living space.
subsidized price for moving back residents.
Figure 2-8: Plan of Case D Xiaoshikou

Figure 2-9: Xiaoshikou neighborhood
Even though Case D is not fully occupied, the neighborhood appears to be crowded
due to the high density design. Little open space is provided to the residents. The
original underground bicycle parking was changed to a hostel, and the public space
was rented as a public parking lot (See Figure 2-9).
All relocated residents received their full housing rights. The unit design is relatively
spacious. However, the housing cost for residents with small households increases
substantially. Household with fewer members would have to pay much more for a
same apartment than those larger households. This policy favored those large
households, and also encouraged residents kept their hukou (registered population) in
the inner city for gaining more redevelopment compensation.

This chapter will illustrate and analyze the survey data on residential satisfaction in
four redeveloped neighborhoods. First it will review the residential satisfaction
research and bring up the theoretical framework that has been generalized in western
studies. Using the framework, it then discusses the survey data in this research.
Finally, differences and similarities between this research and other research findings
are discussed.
A conceptual framework establishes a system of perspectives for exploring a problem,
which is different from a model or theory, which predicts or explains a certain result
(Rapoport 1985). In this way, the residential satisfaction conceptual framework
should remain valid in different social, cultural and political contexts, possibly with
different models generated. By transferring the conceptual framework developed in
western studies to the context of China, this study provides an opportunity to
investigate it in a different political economy. The following section applies the
conceptual framework proposed by Weidemann and Anderson (1985) to study the
survey data collected in Beijing.

Residential Satisfaction Research
Western Conceptual Framework
Social psychology scholars dominate satisfaction research that varies from consumer
satisfaction, job satisfaction, to patient satisfaction. To understand peoples
satisfaction evaluation toward a product or a service, it is believed that improvements
could thus be found and allocated to the right place and direction, which will finally
enhance the efficiency of the production or service provision. Residential satisfaction
research deals with the housing products consumer satisfaction, and aims to inform
the housing policy and planning intervention.
Research on residential satisfaction has attracted psychologists and social scientists
attention since the 1970s. Social psychologists have suggested that there are three
general categories of responses to any social-physical object: the affective, the
cognitive, and the conative or behavioral (Rosenberg and Hovland 1960). These
environmental perceptions are also referred by designers as a process of knowing,
feeling and doing (Rapoport 1977). These categories create a useful framework in
understanding the theoretical development of satisfaction research (Weidemann and
Anderson 1985; Francescato et al. 1987). As a result, residential satisfaction is not
only used as an indicator in evaluating housing policies, but also by many researchers
as a predictor of housing mobility (e.g. Speare 1974; Marans 1976; Rossi 1980).
In Weidemann and Andersons conceptual framework, residential satisfaction is
affected by the combination of home environment (physical and social environment)
and personal characteristics. The physical environment affects a persons

satisfaction through his/her perceptions and assessments of environmental attributes
such as building style, density, and location (Marans et al. 1981). The social
component of home environment includes social class and life cycle stage (Marans
and Rodgers 1975), as well as social bonds (Oh 2003), which include friendship,
social cohesion and trust, informal social control, and neighborhood activities.
Moreover, Weidemann and Anderson (1985) also proposed that the home
environment should be extended into five levels: community, neighborhood, site,
building, and room. The individual variables are a persons characteristics, which
include personality and socio-demographic. These characteristics are also important
in predicting satisfaction in the conceptual framework.
Later empirical studies continue to discover the weakness of this framework. Parkes,
Kearns et al (2002) and Greenberg (1999), among others, question the over-reliance
on socio-demographic variables in informing neighborhood rating, for which
personality characteristics are proven to be more useful. Although there are some
limitations and constraints (Francescato et al. 1987) in measuring residential
satisfaction, this method is still a valid way to assess the overall performance of the
housing system as a criterion. High satisfaction levels have been considered an
indication of the success of specific policies, programs or designs. The overall
research significance is to identify what aspects of the housing system are more
important in the eyes of the inhabitants. An understanding of the factors that facilitate
a satisfied or dissatisfied response can play a critical part in making successful
housing policies.
Residential satisfaction is an evaluation process, which goes from the objective
attributes, through perceptions, and to the final assessment (Campbell et al. 1976:
220). Molin and Timmermans (2003) use hierarchical information integration
approach and add housing and location evaluations as a middle stage toward the
final satisfaction decision. The causal structure of residential satisfaction is one way

linear that socio-demographic variables affect only the housing and location attributes,
housing and location attributes affect housing the location evaluation, and evaluation
affects satisfaction. Being a complex decision, residential satisfaction is a process of
making higher order construct, evaluating each construct, and finally integrating for
an overall evaluation. This hierarchical information integration model thus explain
that residential satisfaction is only influenced by constructs evaluation, neither the
housing, location construct, nor the socio-demographic variables. However, it is
impossible to separate the construct with its evaluation.
Overall, the western conceptual framework was built on a common assumption:
residents are able to perform the moving behavior voluntarily (Speare 1974;
Campbell et al. 1976; Weidemann and Anderson 1985). It thus excludes the
involuntary move, those who are forced out through eviction, or military families, etc.
Rossis (1980) study on mobility also excluded forced moving out when analyzing
residents complaints, but included all when discussing the moving-in decisions. The
difference of freedom of moving-in and moving out stages of moving behavior
becomes the main perspective that this research cuts in.
In the western context, there are also involuntary moves, such as public housing
provision. Residential satisfaction research among this group of dwellers showed a
different result (e.g. Onibokun 1976; Varady and Preiser 1998). These researches
studied a unique group of urban dwellers, which was out of the main-stream
residential satisfaction research. Residents studied in Beijings cases also share some
similarities with western public housing dwellers. This research attempts to find out
how they are different from the common residential satisfaction research.
Challenge from Chinas Housing System
The Chinese context of a transitional economy sets up a unique stage for testing urban

theories. There are a few studies relating to residential satisfaction, such as housing
preference (Wang and Li 2004), life satisfaction (Ekblad et al. 1992) and residential
mobility (Li 2004). Regarding the physical settings, Wang and Li (2004) found that in
general, neighborhood variables are more important than dwelling variables in the
choice of housing in Beijing. Respondents show strong preference for districts with
good reputations. Western studies suggest that people are less satisfied and less
healthy after moving into crowded modem dwellings. However, research by Ekblad
et al.(1992) found that as long as the traditional Chinese life style, that is a good
social relationship at home and with neighbors, remains strong the effects of
overcrowding and side effects from a modem life style in high-rise and mid-rise
would have little negative effect on stress, health and wellbeing. Housing mobility
was found to be less applicable in adjusting housing policy in transitional China than
in cities in the West (Li 2004). Structural variables (such as development policies)
have been identified as affecting housing mobility among migrant groups, which is
independent of satisfaction and intentions (Wu 2002). Migrants choice of living in
Beijing is based on proximity to the place of employment, and they are less
dissatisfied with the poorer conditions than locals.
For local residents, most moving choices were still listed among the involuntary
category such as work unit allocation, redevelopment relocation (Wu 2004). This
involuntary moving choice implied housing subsidies, and the current housing market
is still out of the reach of most residents affordability.
Housing commodification and economic liberalization were found to bring higher
rate of residential mobility in some socialist countries (Daniell and Struyk 1997). But
it did not happen in China. Housing mobility research in Beijing has found that the
mobility rate from 1980-2000 is average at 4.29% per annum, peaked in 1985, and
showed a slightly downward trend till 2000 (Li 2004). He revealed both similarities
and differences between Beijing and cities in the West. Marital status, job change,

CCP membership, and educational attainment all enhance the mobility rate; whereas
the partial property right lower a great more on mobility in terms of homeownership
effect. The birth of a child does not predict the moving behavior. Thus using
residential mobility research as a housing adjustment process is less applicable to the
case of Beijing than it is in cities in the West.
However, residential satisfaction is still a valid way in partially measuring
redevelopment success (Vale 1996). It is believed that residents mobility is not only
decided by satisfaction, but also related to satisfaction. Higher mobility may not be
because of dissatisfaction, and lower mobility, on the other hand, may not mean
satisfaction. They might be due to constraints on other living or employment
decisions. The inability to compete in the housing market, the feeling of being
exploited, are also affecting the residential satisfaction. This research will use survey
data to explore the reasons behind a satisfied or dissatisfied neighborhood, and its
relationships with housing mobility.
Survey Data Descriptive Statistics
All four cases were selected from within the Xicheng (West city) District, with three
located inside the second ring road, and one just outside it (Figure 2-1). This selection
controls for the economic and administrative variables that differ among different city
districts. All four neighborhoods accommodating original residents are part of larger
projects. Projects to which cases A and D belong are relatively bounded, redeveloped
in a smaller scale, and were finished in a relatively short time. Cases B and C are each
a small part of a large project which still has unfinished redevelopment phases. The
comparisons among the four cases first focus on their redevelopment background, and
later on the differences in their socio-economic composition after redevelopment.
Based on 105 valid survey questionnaires collected in the survey, the quantitative

analysis uses an ordinal logistic model. It is more appropriate than the regression
technique due to the ordinal nature of the dependent variables representing
satisfaction (Lu 1999). The limitation in the survey design and sample size of this
research also limits the power of the statistical analysis. The numbers only provide
the basis for the qualitative discussion rather than significant statistical evidence.
Socio-economic Comparison of Four Cases
Socio-economic composition is not a fixed characteristic. This survey only suggests
the status around the fall of 2003. The aim of this analysis is to identify the pattern of
socio-economic composition, if any, in these cases. Socio-economic data in four cases
will be compared using descriptive statistics about the household size, household
head age, education, income, and the tenure of their housing.
Generally speaking, on the one hand, residents who still lived in the inner city
dilapidated housing till late 1980s were among the disadvantaged social group in the
Chinese society. Residents who worked in a better work unit should have already
moved out of the inner city poor conditioned courtyard housing. Other better-off
residents can resort to the new market methods to relocate, rather than relying on
allocation of public housing units. However on the other hand, among all inner city
dilapidated housing dwellers, those who could move back to the inner city
redeveloped neighborhoods are among the better-off within the group of inner city
original residents. So residents studied in this research are not the most disadvantaged
social group, who could only choose to move out to the suburb apartment that were
free or at much lower price than moving back to the inner city.
Household size varies among the four neighborhoods. Three-person families
dominate the sample, but the composition of these three is not necessarily a core
family. There are some school-aged children living with their grandparent(s). Case D

has the biggest average household, 4.2 persons per household. Case B has the
smallest, only 2.6 persons. The difference between cases is highly dependent on the
size of the unit. It is also related to the change of the life cycle, the split of large
families, and the presence of private renting families. Household heads are dominated
by males. All together, 72% households have their hukou (registered population) in
the same neighborhood, which matches with the overall renhufenli rate (percentage of
residents who do not live where their hukou is registered) at 27% in Beijing.
Among the four neighborhoods studied, the average age of the household head varies.
Compared to cases B and C, cases A and D have older average household heads. And
also more than two thirds of households in these two cases have retirees. In all four
cases, most households have family members studying at school.
Overall, the younger the household head, the higher the education background. Cases
A and D have lower than average household head education level. Cases B and C,
with younger household heads, have a higher education level. All those who have less
than five years education are over 60 years old. The only two household heads with
post graduate degrees are both younger than 30 and living in privately rented
Income data is not very reliable since hidden income is an important component and
respondents are likely to under-report their income. Statistically, the older the
household head, the less monthly income they reported. Self-reported income
significantly relates to their perceived income group. No household thought that it
belonged to the high income group. Only two out of 97 valid samples reported
themselves as the middle-high income group. Half of the samples categorized
themselves in the middle-low income group. This is true in all inner city dilapidated
neighborhoods. Those who need to wait for neighborhood redevelopment to improve
their living conditions are those who were left out from other source of housing,
either work unit housing allocation or commercial housing purchase. In other words,

they either work in a poor work unit, or do not work at all.
Tenure forms in these neighborhoods are mixed, mainly owner-occupied. However,
the definition of ownership also varies. In case D, owner-occupied households
dominate more than 90% of the whole neighborhoods. Owners have full title and are
able to resell. However, in case A, housing reform took place after residents had
moved in. Those who bought only paid a subsidized price and they do not have full
resale rights. Residents had the choice of paying more to buy this right, but not many
people did this. The use value of these houses is still higher than the exchange value.
As long as they do not plan to sell, they would like to keep the status. About one third
of the households still pay rent. In the history of case B, there were conflicts about the
tenure certificate and building qualities. For many years residents were unclear about
their housing right.
Private renting happens across all four cases. In total, eleven of them were identified.
All private renting households are young, all in their late 20s or early 30s. Apparently
they have a higher education background, either undergraduate or graduate. The
relatively young household head for Case B is also due to the higher percentage of
private renting households which are mostly young graduates and newly married
couples. Young age, higher education and rental tenure do seem to explain the level
of satisfaction, but the small sample size did not allow statistically rigorous analysis
of the effect of these three variables.
Historical Neighborhood Change
Even though the policy attempts to lower the population density in the inner city
districts, practices in the past fifteen years failed to do so. Redevelopment replaced
courtyard houses with high-rise apartment buildings or commercial space, some
original residents moved out and more new dwellers moved in. The inner city

experienced a partial population exchange.
The demographic composition in these neighborhoods changed after the relocation,
and kept changing thereafter. Some residents moved out and rented or sold their
apartments to others. Private renting is evident in all four neighborhoods. It is able to
identify two groups of tenants. One group is composed of young single or couples
with high education background. They have strong moving intention or have already
a moving plan. Living in the inner city is only for transition. The other group is
migrant renters. This group mostly refused the survey and their data were from
interviews with other residents. Usually four or five of them share a one-bedroom
apartment to lower the living cost in the inner city. All these two tenant groups
average younger age than original residents. Their moving-in changed the age
composition in the neighborhood. But both groups of renters do not plan for long-
term residing, with high housing mobility.
This field work only found migrant renters in Cases A and B, which might be due to
the poor physical condition and relatively low rent. This study failed to survey
migrant workers as tenants, and this informal rental market is hidden to the public.
Research on floating populations housing condition is not the goal of this dissertation,
and also the migrants living in the inner city Beijing is decreasing and minimal in this
research. As more and more inner city neighborhoods were redeveloped, the decrease
of cheap dilapidated courtyard housing resource is diminishing. Data shows that
migrant workers in Beijing are now moving out of the inner city and most of them
live between the third and fourth ring road.
The household composition has also changed through the redevelopment processes.
The relocation policy considers the possible separation of un-desired sharing of one
unit by more than one family, such as the married son or daughter still living with
their parents. Through the redevelopment, some households were able to gain more
than two units, to accommodate their needs. Offering big families with multiple units

enables the average household size generally drops right after the redevelopment.
Another general trend of the demographic change in the redeveloped neighborhoods
is the drop of the overall population and the average household size as time passes.
This is mainly because of the life cycle change: children grew, married, and moved
out to their own dwellings. In case A, the population density dropped from 800
person per hectare at the time of relocation, to 500 person/hectare right now. Since
this case was fifteen years ago, most of children at that time have married and moved
out. The remaining residents are mostly old people. Case A has the highest average
age of households head. Its average household size also dropped from 3.5 person to
2.8 person. A new household composition is kids living with grandparents. Their
parents moved out but leave the kid living in the inner city for the easy access to
better schools.
Overall Satisfaction Comparison
Survey data were entered into SPSS to assess residential satisfaction. Simple general
linear regressions were run to explore what characteristics relate to the satisfaction
level. The unequal sample size in four cases only affects the statistical power rather
than interpretation (Judd and McClelland 1989). Since satisfaction is time-sensitive,
this data only shows the difference during my field trip time. For the purpose of this
study, open-ended survey question answers and interview data are used to
compensate for the limitations in the survey design.
There is an overall skew towards dissatisfaction. In the five-point Likert scale (Likert
1932): very satisfied, satisfied, okay, dissatisfied, extremely dissatisfied, only case D
has a mean satisfaction level slightly over okay. Satisfaction level significantly
increases across four continuously redeveloped neighborhoods. The satisfaction
levels in the four neighborhoods are significantly different. Four cases are coded as

Helmert contrast to explore whether each of them were different from those
redeveloped before (see Table 3-1). The Univariate analysis demonstrates that
satisfaction in case B does not show much difference from case A. Case C and D are
both significantly different from previous cases.
More regression analysis shows that RS in these four redevelopment cases is
significantly different. In spite of the overall dissatisfaction, residents living in these
four neighborhoods are showing increasing residential satisfaction towards their
living conditions across four cases. This would be a rather welcome finding for the
policy makers. But a more critical question is also brought up: is the increasing
satisfaction due to the failure of sustaining satisfaction in redeveloped neighborhoods?
An apartment buildings lifetime is at least set to 100 years in Chinas construction
standard. How could the first fifteen years living experience lead to such a low
satisfaction level? If residential satisfaction keeps falling with the passage of time,
then perhaps 12 years later, case D will have a similar satisfaction level as case A
today. Inspecting the trend of residential satisfaction is more critical (Varady and
Carrozza 2000). The trend in these Beijing cases does show that the redevelopment
process is problematic in some way. It is necessary to explore in detail.
Table 3-1: Satisfaction level comparison using Helmert contrast code
Contrast Estimates Standard Error Significance
Full model .000***
D vs. A, B, C -.624 .183 .001***
C vs. A, B -.711 .217 .001***
B vs. A -.233 .258 .369

Factors Predicting Residential Satisfaction
An ordinal logistic model is used in this research since it is more appropriate due to
the ordinal nature of the dependent variables representing satisfaction (Lu 1999). In
SPSS, Ordinal Logistic Regression means the proportional odds model. The model
estimates a set of n-1 cut-points, dividing the sample into the n ordinal categories.
These can be considered as representing the ordinality of the categories on the
underlying linear dimension, effectively in terms of the proportions above and below
each binary comparison point). It then estimates a single p for each independent
variable, suggesting that the effect of independent variables is the same across the
In this dataset, lets consider the probabilities:
7t, = probability of totally unsatisfied
n2 = probability of feeling not very satisfied
713 = probability of feeling okay
714 = probability of feeling satisfied
715 = probability of feeling very satisfied
Then we can construct the cumulative logits:
logit(0,) = ln( 0j/( 1 - 0,)) = ln(7Tj/(7t2 + 7t3 + n4 + 7t5))
logit(02) = ln( 02/(l - 02)) = ln((7T, + 7T2)/(7t3 + 7I4 + 7T5))
logit(03) = ln( 03/(l - 03)) = In ((71, + 7t2 + tt3)/(tc4 + 7i5))
logit(04) = ln( 04/(l - 04)) = ln((7t, + 7t2 + tc3 + tc4)/ 7i5)
Only two factors in the data analysis are tested significant in predicting residential
satisfaction: the length of stay, and the current unit size. The ordinal regression model
for this satisfaction test is the following:
logit(0,) a; + px, i = 4.

Table 3-2: OLM test of individual variables and satisfaction
ln(e,/(l-e,)) ln(02/(l-02)) ln(03/(l-03)) ln(04/(l-04)) Location
Dwelling length -3293(471)** -1.312(317)** 1.115(335)** 2.739 (.602)** -.019 (.004)**
Current unit size .0240 (.629) 1.6% (.624)** 4.035 (.745)** 5.825 (.944)** .033 (.009)**
Note: Only significant variables are listed; the numbers in the parentheses are
standard errors; ** Significant p<=.01.
The negative coefficient (-.019) for dwelling length indicates that longer dwelling
time in the neighborhoods decreases the probability of higher level of satisfaction. It
is clear to say that dwelling length reduces the logit of at least versus at most a
particular residential satisfaction level. The probability decreases non-linearly but
monotonically with longer dwelling time in the neighborhood. The positive value for
current unit size shows that larger units increase the probability of achieving higher
residential satisfaction. These two effects are both strongly significant.
Other than these two independent variables, no other household or neighborhood
characteristics (social or physical) are significant predictors of residential satisfaction.
Age and education of household head, hukou status (population registration),
household income, family size none of these explains the variance in the level of
residential satisfaction. The self-reported household income data has no relationship
with residential satisfaction. The survey also attempted to investigate residents
perceived income level, asking people which income group they think they belong
to. But the statistical analysis still does not show a significant relationship with their
Variables on physical environment were categorized as neighborhood and housing
variables. Since these four neighborhoods are all inner-city redevelopments, location
difference is discarded in the analysis. At the neighborhood level, the living density is
irrelevant. Case D has the highest density (household/ha), but it has also the highest
satisfaction level, this confirms Ekblad et al.( 1992) research in China that as long

as the traditional Chinese life style remains strong, the effects of crowding and side
effects from a modem life style in high-rise and mid-rise would have little negative
effect on stress, health and wellbeing.
Many other factors relating to the dwelling, such as tenure, monthly payment,
previous residence, and the ownership of a second residence, are not significant in
predicting satisfaction either. This creates a complicated picture of residential
satisfaction among redeveloped neighborhoods in inner city Beijing. Some of the
apparent inconsistencies might be due to the limited sample size of this survey. Future
research should try to enlarge the sample size to achieve a better understanding of
these factors. This research will divert to the relationship between residential
satisfaction and housing mobility.
Compared to the number in the U.S., in which over 88% residents are satisfied with
their neighborhood (United States Bureau of the Census 1998), the overall low
residential satisfaction and the decreasing trend are worth a careful examination. It is
necessary to take a close look at unit size and the dwelling length. The unit size
predicts the residential satisfaction. Another related variable, the household crowding
situation i.e., average floor space per person is not as significant as the unit size.
Crowding is the major complaint affecting satisfaction among these redeveloped
neighborhoods. The relocation policy allowed households with more members to
move back at lower prices. As a result, people tried to keep more members hukou
registered at this location to benefit from the redevelopment. The survey most
probably reported more family members than those actually living there. As a result,
the crowding situation was not as severe as what was reported. This explains the
lower significance of crowding than the overall unit size.
The other variable predicting satisfaction is the dwelling length, the number of
months that households have lived in these neighborhoods. People living in newer
neighborhoods were more satisfied than those living in older ones. Many western

studies have found that the longer people live in the neighborhood, the more satisfied
they become (Parkes and Kearns 2003). This survey found that the opposite seems to
be true in Beijings redevelopment neighborhoods. This trend predicts a decreasing
residential satisfaction over time, which apparently should not be what the
redevelopment policies aim to. Inspecting the trend of residential satisfaction over
time (Varady and Carrozza 2000) is important in informing future redevelopment
policy making process. Reasons underlying this trend are in need of exploration.
This study on Beijings redeveloped neighborhoods found limited support for the
predicting factors of residential satisfaction in Western literature, which include both
the social and physical characteristics. Some variables are tested to be useful in this
study, like unit size, but not in western literature. The dwelling length has the
opposite impact on residential satisfaction. However, this study in Beijings
redevelopment context shows quite a few similarities with public housing cases in
western context (e.g. Onibokun 1976; Varady and Preiser 1998). The following
section will first discuss more in detail about these cases. The findings lead to a
questioning of the assumptions of Western studies.
Survey Data Qualitative Interpretation
Other than Case A, residents who currently live in these redeveloped neighborhoods
are overall the better-off among the original residents. They were among the group
who could afford to move back to the inner city. The most disadvantaged households
were displaced to apartments built in the suburbs. However, the better-off status of
those in the redeveloped neighborhoods did not lead to better residential satisfaction.
Even for residents who just moved into the newly redeveloped Case D, their
residential satisfaction level is only a little above okay. What went wrong?
These redeveloped neighborhoods were mostly the only choice under varied

family constraints. To achieve the goal of staying in the inner city, households always
compromised many other housing needs. Their residential satisfaction was not high
when they made the moving-back decision. When these residents moved in, they
again experienced the poor design and construction of their apartment buildings, and
poor maintenance and management of their neighborhoods, which only led to lower
residential satisfaction. Residents showed strong desire for moving out, and some had
short-term moving plans. However, the majority had to stay although they were not
satisfied. The following explains further the factors that led to low level satisfaction,
using interview data and open-ended survey question answers.
Choice of Moving Back
The majority of original residents would prefer living in the inner-city environment,
where they have been living for generations, and feeling attached to the surroundings.
During the past fifteen years of real estate development in Beijing, the property value
in the inner city has skyrocketed. The underlying benefit attracts most people to stay.
Redevelopment projects give inner-city residents the only relatively affordable
chance to improve their living conditions while staying in the inner-city
neighborhoods, since they were unable to afford the commercial housing market price.
As a result, these residents in the survey who were able to live in the inner-city
redeveloped neighborhoods were better-off compared to residents who were
displaced to the suburbs. Comparing to commercial housing dwellers, they were still
On the one hand, these residents selected the prefered choice between inner city
and suburban neighborhoods. On the other hand, they were given no choice in
selecting neighborhoods, and very few options in selecting their prefered dwelling
units. If one chose to move back to the redeveloped neighborhoods, there is only one

neighborhood she or he could possibly live in. Residents who moved to the
redeveloped neighborhoods were given the only built environment to dwell in, rather
than a preference among options. Further, there were only very few choices in unit
selection within their households qualification. The options of units are closely
related to households previous living space and households number of registered
members. Residents only choices are in the sense of choosing a different story or
different unit facing.
The given redeveloped neighborhood is not necessarily what they prefered; rather, it
is the only choice they had to take if living in the inner city was their higher priority.
Neighborhood redevelopment with social concern is in practice being undermined by
the exigencies of the growing real estate industry (Lu 1997). Residents had little say
on what kind of redevelopment design they would like. The limited housing resources
led residents to compete and further compromise their housing needs. These residents
would thus find it hard to achieve higher residential satisfaction from the beginning.
Poor Development Standard & Changing Needs
The neighborhoods redeveloped for original residents were always constrained by
economic feasibility and balance with other real estate projects. Residents understood
their future dwelling only in terms of number of square meters per apartment unit.
Since these parts of the redevelopments were mostly subsidized by other commercial
redevelopment, the cost of construction was minimized for the maximum profit. The
design of the neighborhoods is high density, little public space, small unit size, and
low standard infrastructure facilities. The construction processes also involved some
cheating in cheap materials and secretive modification of design. For example, during
Case Bs construction, the developer changed the design and made every unit kitchen
30 centimeters narrower, which later became the main complaint of the residents: it

was impossible to set up necessary furniture in the kitchen. Although later residents
fought for some compensation due to developers cheating, the condition and quality
of the living were already highly sacrificed.
There was also compromise. During the Case A redevelopment period, residents were
more involved in the design process. It was one of the first experiment projects. Even
though it allowed all original residents to move back, the inner city building code
could not permit enough building space for all of them. Designers and residents came
up with a compromise solution. All residents accepted the fact that their average unit
size would be 12 square meters less than the standard size. Residents were happy
when they moved to the new, although small, apartments. As time passed by and the
families evolved, babies 15 years ago has grown up to teenagers, the design of Case
A could not satisfy many basic needs of today. Buildings that used to be considered
the best are now among the poorest. Residents suggested in the survey,
You should go look at some new projects; ours is again dilapidated
and in need of a second redevelopment.
It is surprising to see a project come to this stage in only fifteen years.
Also, new design problems keep coming out although the units seemed satisfactory at
the beginning. For example, parking has become a critical problem as more and more
households own their cars. None of these neighborhoods considered car parking space
in their design. The little open spaces in the neighborhoods are always packed with
cars in the evening. Moreover, out of safety concerns, all apartments which hadnt
had anti-theft doors installed in the construction period later got them installed either
by the households or neighborhood committees. However, limited space in the
stairwell made it difficult to open the anti-theft doors at the same time, which created
a very dangerous situation in the case of fire.
On the other hand, what is considered good design for designers is not necessarily
good for the dwellers. For instance, the design of Case A was awarded many prizes
in the early 1990s. In architectural design terms, it tried to instill traditional

courtyard-style built environment in the modem apartment design. The fencing wall
of the yards mimicked the form of historic hutong in Beijing. But residents do not
appreciate it. Over 70% of the survey respondents thought that building style was the
last concern in purchasing an apartment. Some people complained that money spent
on traditional symbols of the building design was in vain. An old man in Case A said:
These buildings are too close to each other... the little yard is
useless.. .it could be much better if all the buildings were designed into
slabs and in paralleled layout.. .This fancy design wasted both labor
and materials. We do not need something called traditional
characteristics. We only need something practical and useful.
For residents, a good design of the neighborhood and apartment means spacious
public space, and efficient unit arrangement. However, these were always
compromised by developers in the design of neighborhoods for original residents.
The low design and construction standard, plus the fast-changing housing needs of
residents, together initiated the process of declining of these neighborhoods.
Poor Maintenance and Management
Compared to the commercial housing redevelopment within the same project,
neighborhoods redeveloped for original residents were inferior not only in design and
construction, but also during the ongoing maintenance and management. The already
low building standards and high population density, plus the lack of maintenance and
management, accelerate the deterioration of the built environment. It certainly leads
to decreasing residential satisfaction among residents.
This has created a circle that is hard to break: because of the lower standards,
residents pay fewer fees; fewer fees mean a lower standard of maintenance. Broken
light bulbs in stairwells were common in these neighborhoods. Case B went to the
extreme. Residents were so angry at developers poor design and construction. Those
who moved in at the beginning organized together and refused to pay for utility

bills for almost five years. Developers might also have a guilty conscience since there
were lots of law suits against them. They kept quiet, and finally made an agreement
with residents after five years. Residents gained a little compensation by not paying
utility bills, but suffered more on the poor living conditions.
Complaints from residents living in Case D relate to the fact that the originally
designed underground bicycle parking was refurbished to become hotel rooms. The
public space in the neighborhood was opened to the outside as public parking lots.
Public facilities were designed for residents but were not used by residents. The
money-driven activities in the neighborhoods maintenance processes demonstrate the
lack of regulation and the protection of residents rights in Chinas current transitional
economy. Residents complained that the management office only look for money,
do little work. The survey field work also experienced obstacles from the
neighborhood managers, as they refused any interviews and drove researchers away
from the neighborhood. Their attitudes showed their secrecy in the money-driven
decisions that they made in their neighborhood.
Neighborhood Environment and Safety
Residents in all four neighborhoods showed more interest in living in the inner city
location than in the specific neighborhoods. Their attachment to the neighborhood
community is rather low. They rather appreciate the location of their dwelling which
provides easy access to every part of the city. Since they have little power in changing
their neighborhood environment, lots of money is spent in interior decoration of
apartments, to create a cozy environment for retreat from the outside chaos. Although
the staircase-well was dark and windows were broken, inside every apartment, you
can still feel the comfortable home feeling. As to the neighborhood, their main
complaint is about the safety and poor maintenance of the building.

Although all four cases in this study have shown different levels of gating in the
community, safety still is a critical problem. Gating is only a spatial control over the
neighborhood. It has the psychological effect that people who do not belong will not
cross the gate. However, for security reasons, the gate does not do much in preventing
unsolicited person. All these four neighborhoods are gated in physical terms. Case C
and D even have security guards standing around their gates. It seems that this brings
a higher security level, but residents still complained that they were set up for
guarding cars, not the unsolicited persons. The frequent losses of bicycles were the
Gated communities are not a new concept to Chinese people. Work units always
fence their land and allowed all activities happened inside. The city was composed of
large work units enclosures. People have been used to living in a gated territory
where they both work and live. Comparing to the gated community in the west which
are mainly for the needs of the rich and middle classes, it has been the housing form
for the majority of Chinese residents for decades. Thus when the land use
specialization slowly separates the housing from other land uses, being gated easily
became a common norm inherited from the history.
When gated community is widespread in the society and becomes a norm in housing
development, it becomes a quick solution to crime control which directly contributes
to social stability without further burdening the police force (Miao 2003). In Beijing,
the municipal government issued an order requiring that all residential quarters fit to
be gated should be so. Xicheng district started gating its residential quarters in 1997.
There is much higher level of patrol surveillance in those commercial redeveloped
neighborhoods. They were sold at market price to some rich work units to redistribute
to their employees. Security guards have more responsibility and they could easily
recognize the neighborhood residents and strangers. Survey research is not allowed in
these neighborhoods. Comparing to these neighborhoods, the gate and security guards

in the studied neighborhoods are no more than a decoration.
Other than gating and security guards, the entrance anti-theft door and door phone for
a whole walk up residents are widely used. The newly developed apartments like
Case D had it installed before the construction finished. Case C was installing it
together during the survey period. Case B did not have a residential committee
organize the installation, so residents collected money and did it collectively. Some
residents did not agree to contribute so that some walk-up entrances do not have the
door phone. Case A is the only one without walk-up entrance anti-theft doors.
It is evident that all these physical means of security prevailed with multiple levels of
surveillance or anti-theft technologies. All these are to offer the crime protection or
just the feeling of safety. All these means of crime prevention have their limitations
on its effect of reducing the crime rate, which was not only shown in US gated
communities (Blakely and Snyder 1997), but also in Beijings gated apartments with
substantive cases of robbery and burglaries (Miao 2003). They are mainly for a
psychological feeling of safety rather than crime reduction.
Even though todays China has maintained a lower crime rate when compared
internationally in absolute numbers, Chinese residents increasingly feel insecure as
they compare their life with that of yesterday. The insecure feeling and the fear of
crime is evident. Survey field work in these neighborhoods also became the origin of
the fear. People were unfriendly, skeptical about the survey, refusing to open the door,
and even driving the researchers out of the buildings. It is not the purpose of this
dissertation to find out why these residents have such severe insecure feelings, and
whether it only applies to the group of residents in this survey or all city residents. It
might be due to the changes that occurred in the social and cultural realms.
Traditional shared values such as communism and Confucianism have lost believers,
while no new ideals have been established (Miao 2003). But it is evident that this
feeling of insecure directly affects residential satisfaction as a whole.

Using the conceptual framework Weidemann and Anderson (1985) proposed, it is
apparent that most of the times our research findings are not consistent with those of
other scholars in western countries, other than some public housing research. In this
chapter, the dissertation first identifies the gaps in the residential satisfaction
conceptual framework. A revised framework is then proposed. It attempts to address
the two major gaps identified earlier: the voluntary and involuntary moving division,
and the lack of psychological understanding of satisfaction.
Gaps in Residential Satisfaction Conceptual Framework
Using the conceptual framework western scholars proposed, it is apparent that most
often factors predicting satisfaction in western studies do not apply to Chinese cases.
Socio-economic data of residents does not relate to satisfaction at all. Unit size is the
only independent variable that significantly correlated with satisfaction. The
conceptual framework should have been able to establish the factors and perspectives
that affect satisfaction, even though the direction of effect might be different. The
length of stay is useful but has opposite impact in Beijings redevelopment cases.
Research findings from survey data show that generally those factors predicting
satisfaction in western studies do not predict satisfaction in the Chinese context.
Findings from public housing in western context on the contrary show similarities
with this study. It seems that the division is not geographic.

Then, what makes the difference? Does the overall low residential satisfaction
indicate the failure in redevelopment and relocation policies in Beijing? Should we
question the conceptual framework of western residential satisfaction studies? What
are the similarities between this study and public housing in western countries that are
different from their housing market? This leads to a close investigation of the
conditions of residential satisfaction research.
Since the conceptual framework is only providing the perspectives from which we
discuss problems, it is most probable that there are some gaps in the western
conceptual framework that failed to capture the factors affecting residential
satisfaction in Beijings cases, and the public housing studies. In the next step, this
dissertation investigates possible gaps in the western framework. Two main gaps
identified are the lacking understanding of personal needs, and the different meaning
of involuntary moving behaviors.
Gap One: Understanding Personal Needs
Before we come up to the conclusion on whether redevelopment policies in inner city
Beijing are successful or not, it is necessary to explore why satisfaction research
findings varied to this group of Chinese residents, and whether the conceptual
framework proposed by western scholars has some gaps that couldnt accommodate
Chinas special contexts. Residential satisfaction is an individual evaluation of living
condition. Collectively in social research, it has the power to evaluate the housing
policys performance, and possibly predicting the housing mobility. To examine the
difference in residential satisfaction as a combination of residents individual housing
evaluation, it is necessary to explore it both individually and collectively. As a result,
this calls for a research on residential satisfaction across psychological and
sociological perspectives, which studies at both individual and social level.

Most studies on residential satisfaction have been focused on some social goals,
which include assessing housing policy as a measure and forecasting housing
mobility as a predictor. The assumption behind housing policy research is that higher
satisfaction levels are a good indication of the success of specific policies, programs,
or designs (Francescato et al. 1987). The assumption for housing mobility research is
that mobility results from the increase in dissatisfaction beyond a persons threshold
or tolerance level (Speare 1974). Satisfied residents choose to stay rather than moving
out. The focus of the residential satisfaction research is to determine which
components of the housing system most strongly and consistently predict residential
satisfaction, so that it can be used to direct efforts in those directions and to those
aspects in which an intervention is likely to yield the most beneficial effect. The ideas
of aiming to intervene in some components of the housing system have tilted the
research focus more towards the physical and social environment in the housing
system, away from the individual characteristics.
The conceptual framework does include person characteristics as part of the factors.
Many researches have proved the powerful personality data and the lesser usefulness
of socio-demographic data (Bruin and Cook 1997; Greenberg 1999; Parkes et al.
2002). Useful personality variables include mistrust of authority, negative emotions,
pessimism (Greenberg 1999). However, there is not any systematic model to measure
individual personality as a psychological concept and what personality is composed
of. It shows the lack of psychological understanding in residential satisfaction
research, and the greater focus has been put on sociological understanding. Even
though psychology research has increasingly incorporated situational and contextual
variables (Sundstrom et al. 1996), the fundamental exploration from a psychological
perspective is lagging behind in the conceptual framework. As a result, the effort to
understand the individual psychological differences in their residential satisfaction
evaluation process is necessary.

Gap Two: Meaning of Involuntary Move
In western studies, in most cases, families voluntarily leave their homes and do so for
reasons are directly related to housing. Mobility is a 'natural' outcome of life stage
changes (Rossi 1980). In these cases, residents dissatisfaction towards their current
dwellings at some level will bring about a move. Thus in residential satisfaction
research, Weidemann and Andersons (1985) conceptual framework pre-requires that
residents are able to perform the behavior, a requirement for competency, physical,
financial, demographic or whatever. The required volitional behavior of individuals
thus excludes the involuntary move, those who are forced out through eviction, or
military families, etc (Speare 1974). Only when residents can move voluntarily is
residential satisfaction a valid predictor of housing mobility.
In the western housing mobility research, many scholars have identified the
constraints in moving behavior. Rossi (1980) groups all moves into two: free choice
moves and forced moves. He uses forced moves to include all moves that are
unrelated to characteristics of the former dwelling, in which involuntary moves is
only a subcategory that includes evictions, dwelling destruction, or severe income
losses. Forced moves were excluded from the study on the role of complaints in the
decision to move. But in the choice of the new dwelling, there is no difference
between free choice moves and forced moves households.
This definition of involuntary does not apply to the Chinese context. During the
time of central-planned economy, administrative allocation of housing was almost the
only reason of moving. Newly-married and divorced which were reasons of forced
moving in western context do not always bring up a move in China. It is very
common that a newly-married couple keep living with their parents for many years
until their work units provide housing. With the increasing divorce rate, many

divorcees still live in a same apartment due to the limited ability to move out. Some
work units tried to accommodate this increasing need and lent small apartments to
one side. Most could not allocate them another apartment. This close attachment of
the housing to the employment messed up the motivation, to change either a job or a
house. The provision of an apartment many times became the main attraction of a job.
In the market economy, the market provides the housing choices. Satisfied residents
would stay and those dissatisfied would choose to move. There is also moving
behavior that is unrelated to previous dwelling like eviction or job related moving. In
the central-planned economy, housing is mostly distributed through administrative
allocation, regardless of residents satisfaction or not. There is no other choice
residents could possibly access the housing resources. During the transitional stage of
political economy, the housing distribution shows features of a mix of market and
administrative forces. Features of moving choices in market economy and central-
planned economy co-exist in the current transitional economy (See Table 4-1).
This shows that residential satisfaction has a complicated relationship with housing
mobility in a transitional economy. The moving-out decision and moving-in choice
are different stages, and the differentiation of these two stages discovers the
difference in moving behavior between Beijings cases and western cases. The case
of public housing moving shares some similarities with Beijings case in terms of
forced relocation choices.
Two major gaps exist in the western residential satisfaction conceptual framework.
The first is the lack of understanding of satisfaction as an individual needs
fulfillment. The other is the failing to include residents who move involuntarily in
their housing choices. To address these two gaps, the following session first explores
these two gaps individually. Then a revised framework is proposed to also consider
different moving behaviors in transitional economy, and highlight the psychological
understanding of satisfaction as the fulfillment of housing needs.

Table 4-1: Comparison of moving behaviors in different housing system
Housing Distribution Stayed Residents Decision to Move out Moving-in Choice
Active Forced
Market distribution Satisfied Dissatisfied with previous dwelling Reasons unrelated to previous dwelling: Voluntary Choice(s) provided by market
evictions, newly married, divorced, etc. specification reasons, or comparative attractions of alternate opportunities.
Transitional economy Inner city redevelopment as an example: money compensation; pay a subsidized price; move to suburbs free.
Central- planned distribution Satisfied or dissatisfied N/A Reasons out of individual control. Involuntary One house provided by central/local government or work unit, no choice.
work unit housing allocation, redevelopment relocation, etc. Provision of one available dwelling.

Personal Needs and Residential Satisfaction
Residential satisfaction is an individual evaluation of living condition. To examine
residential satisfaction as a combination of residents individual housing evaluation, it
is necessary to investigate both individually and collectively. In this section the
dissertation addresses this gap, and tries to establish a framework for psychological
understanding of residential satisfaction. The main theory drawn upon is Maslows
needs hierarchy theory (Maslow 1970).
Maslows Needs Hierarchy
Scholars have tried to approach residential satisfaction from the psychological
perspective (Bruin and Cook 1997; Greenberg 1999; Parkes et al. 2002). The
conceptual framework does include personal characteristics, which are conceived of
as including both personality and socio-demographic characteristics. Greenberg (1999)
identified useful personality variables which include mistrust of authority, negative
emotions, pessimism. However, there is not any systematic framework of
approaching individual personality which related to residential satisfaction as a
psychological concept and the composition of personality.
As we agree that research in residential satisfaction is a valid way to assess the
overall performance of the housing system as a criterion (Francescato et al. 1987), it
is important to explore the meaning of satisfaction from the individual perspective.
Literally from Marine-Webster, satisfaction means the fulfillment of a need or
want. Studying satisfaction requires the real understanding of the individual needs.
Research from the psychological perspective of human needs will be useful to
investigate the individual need. It is very critical to examine the residential
satisfaction from their individual housing needs.

Maslow (1970) proposed the well-known needs hierarchy theory in his book
Motivation and Personality. He thinks that basic human needs are organized into a
hierarchy of relative prepotency. Once a need is satisfied, it ceases to motivate
behavior. However, man is an ever-wanting animal. As soon as one of his needs is
satisfied, another appears in its place. Thus needs forms a hierarchy which include the
physiological needs, the safety needs, the belongingness and love needs, the esteem
needs, and the need for self actualization (see Figure 4-1). Maslow's hierarchy of
needs states that we must satisfy each need in turn, starting with the first, which deals
with the most obvious needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of
physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher
order needs of influence and personal development. Conversely, if the things that
satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, people are no longer concerned about
the maintenance of our higher order needs.
Figure 4-1: Maslow's hierarchy of needs
This needs hierarchy theory has been widely used in many fields, mainly in business
and management domain to provide help on how to stimulate employees motivation.

Many other scholars have worked on refining and reconstructing the need hierarchy
(e.g. Wahba and Bridwell 1976; Heylighen 1992). Most did empirical research to test
this theory in the working environment (eg. Kamalanabhan et al. 1999). The needs
hierarchy clearly set up the levels of hierarchy which individuals have tried to pursue.
Each lower level needs satisfaction will motivate the desire for the next level. This
theory has been tested to be useful in job satisfaction and customer satisfaction
research. It also has the potential to help in our residential satisfaction research.
Some researchers have tried to use this theory in the setting of living environment.
Turner (1972) borrowed from Maslows theory and suggested material and existential
needs and priorities in housing choices, in which the existential functions includes
identity, security, and opportunity. Turners main argument is that in any given
context, housing priorities across different income groups shows differences in their
vital needs. Greenberg (1999) tried to combine Maslows needs hierarchy, but he
failed to explore the full coverage of this theory and only stated that controlling crime
and physical blight are the basic prerequisite for a satisfied neighborhood.
A housing needs hierarchy exists, in which studies are mostly focused on different
levels. Many studies on residential satisfaction have found that the fear of crime, or
the feeling of safety, is the dominant predictor of satisfaction (Miller et al. 1980; Lee
1981; Spain 1988; Taylor 1995). Research in US has found out that crime and severe
physical blight are in the must not list of a neighborhood (Greenberg 1999). Feeling
safe and no disgusting physical decay in the neighborhood are the prerequisite for a
better neighborhood. To achieve a satisfied living environment, there exists the needs
hierarchy in the residents housing consumption. Little effort has been paid on
exploring the hierarchy. Following the needs hierarchy theory developed by Maslow
(1998), the housing needs hierarchy is constructed to understand factors that lead to a
satisfied or dissatisfied neighborhood.

Housing Needs Hierarchy
Using Maslows needs hierarchy theory this dissertation proposes the housing needs
hierarchy. Residential satisfaction is determined by the fulfillments of individual
housing needs, which is basically determined under the condition of what level of
housing needs is pursued. Unless one level needs is largely satisfied, they remain in
consciousness and become the prime determinants of behavior. When a house can not
satisfy residents physiological needs, residents dissatisfaction will mostly come out
of this level needs. There is less consciousness of the desire for higher order needs. In
other words, for those residents who do not have sufficient living space in their
apartment, they care little about how the historic design of their building could affect
their satisfaction. On the other hand, the effect of satisfying higher order needs will be
neutralized if the lower-order needs are not fulfilled or partially fulfilled. Figure 4-2
shows the housing needs hierarchy formed referring to the needs hierarchy theory.
Figure 4-2: Housing needs hierarchy

The physiological needs refer to the quality of shelter provided by housing and its
location. The location of the housing should be within acceptable distance from
working place. Using available transportation type, the daily commute distance
should be acceptable. The house has to be a permanent structure, with necessary
ventilation, access to clean water, electricity, and supply. All these physical supply
can be varied in different society and geographical location, and are among the pre-
requisite norm in the housing selection process. The size of the unit should be enough
to accommodate all family members, providing necessary separation of rooms for
different generation, gender members.
When the minimum needs of housing are satisfied, residents will start pursuing the
next level, security needs. It includes the physical, emotional, and financial security
(Turner 1972). Their living condition should be secured with appropriate structure
and supply. Also average people prefer a safe, orderly, predictable, lawful, organized
dwelling environment where they need to feel emotionally secure. It means a safe
environment free of crime and eviction risk. They want their properties staying free
from damage or theft. Crimes happened to their neighbors could generate the insecure
feeling. The broader aspects of the attempt to seek safety and stability in the world are
seen in the very common preference for familiar rather than unfamiliar things, or for
the known rather than the unknown. If residents already have satisfied their minimum
living needs, they start considering the fulfillment of their safety needs.
Social needs come after the security needs. When the first two level needs are fairly
well gratified, there will emerge the love and affection and belonging needs. In the
living environment, these needs will be mostly towards their family members and
neighbors. Residents expect affectionate relations with family members and look for
friends among their neighbors. It is the need to become part of the small society,
feeling of belonging to a group. They would want to participate in activities and
contact their neighbors. Especially for new comers who just move into a new

neighborhood, and whose proponent needs are all gratified, this level need will start
The esteem needs is the desire for a stable, firmly based, usually high evaluation from
others. It is the desire for being recognized and respected by people around you. In
the living environment, it relates to the desire for reputation, prestige, authority and
appreciation from others. The form of esteem needs includes the desire for living in a
neighborhood with good reputation, and being respected by neighbors. Satisfaction of
esteem needs leads to the feeling of self-confidence, being useful and necessary in the
Self-actualization refers to mans desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency
for him/her to become actualized in what he/she is potentially. Within the housing
needs hierarchy, it refers to the desire for achieving a living environment true to his
own nature. Possible forms of self-actualization might include the personalized
interior design of dwelling, and the customized designing or constructing his house.
The clear emergence of these needs usually rests upon some prior satisfaction of the
proponent needs.
This housing needs hierarchy is only a framework for general residents. It might have
differences to different group of people like children or old people, that wont be
explored in this research. However, the change and upgrading of peoples needs as
the societies develop are evident. US experience on evaluating quality of life has
shown that the indicators of quality have shifted from goals which are basically
economic (a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot) to goals which are
essentially psychological (Campbell et al. 1976). The quality of life has taken a new
dimension, from the concern of food and shelter to the needs for equity, participation,
respect, challenge, and personal growth.

Gratification of Housing Needs
As part of the conceptual framework of residential satisfaction research, the
fulfillments of individual housing needs should have the significant status. For people
with different housing needs, the same housing condition could bring different
satisfaction levels. Residential satisfaction is basically formed under the condition of
what level of housing needs is currently pursued. Unless one level needs are largely
satisfied, they remain in consciousness and become the prime determinants of
behavior. The living condition that is currently pursued forms the housing expectation
of the individual, which is highly related to the overall residential satisfaction.
In the housing research literature, from various perspectives there have been many
studies separately addressing different level needs of individuals and social groups, or
its significance in informing policies. Marcus (1995) studies the self-actualization
level and she believes that housing is like a mirror which has a powerful effect on our
journey toward a state of wholeness. Research on social needs in housing
environment has been proliferated in which social capital (Jacobs 1961; Putnam 1995)
is the focus. Social capital generally refers to the social trust, norms, and networks
that people can draw upon to solve common problems. In the US there is a growing
consensus that social capital constitutes an important new dimension of community
development (Lang and Homburg 1998). The security needs of housing extend to a
big variety of research. Newman (1972) addresses the relationship between built
environment and security using his theory of defensible space. Related to the security
issue, there is proposals and projects on urban renewal (Gans 1967; Holcomb and
Beauregard 1981; Smith 1996), debate on the gated community (e.g. Wilson-Doenges
2000), and the following social issues of residential segregation (Hamnett 2001).
Housing needs as a shelter are mostly concerned by those who struggle for these
needs, the homelessness, and/or affordable housing.

As a result, all these social research on housing are possible to be grouped within a
system relating to different needs hierarchy. Individually, every household is
motivated to pursue the higher level needs in the housing needs hierarchy.
Collectively, it brings social issues regarding the processes of different level housing
needs gratification. Variations in housing priorities are so big that cities residential
sector has to provide a very wide variety of dwelling types with all forms of tenure.
Residents are the most satisfied only when their current housing needs are gratified.
The satisfaction is a dynamic variable that will not stay unchanged. Soon there will be
other higher level need coming up and motivating residents to pursue.
Households who are dissatisfied are likely to consider some form of housing
adjustment. They may attempt to make in situ adjustments to reduce dissatisfaction
by revising their needs and aspirations to reconcile the incongruity, or by improving
their housing conditions through remodeling. They may also move to another place to
bring their housing into conformity with their needs. Both migration and in situ
adjustments are subject to the constraints posed by financial resources one has at
ones disposal and by information regarding alternative adaptation opportunities
(Morris and Winter 1976). Thus moving behavior is only one type of adjustment
residents perform during the time of dissatisfaction of housing needs.
Clarification of Moving Behavior and Satisfaction
Different Meaninfi of Involuntary Move
Even though there are also forced moves in western countries, it implies different
meanings from what is involuntary in Chinas context. Table 4-1 shows the
comparison of residents moving decision and choices in different housing

distribution systems. The big difference between market and central-planned housing
allocation lies in the nature of involuntary move-in housing mobility. Previous
literature has often used involuntary and forced moving as interchangeable. So the
difference within involuntary moving behaviors is blurred. It is necessary to break up
the moving behavior to explore the difference between market economy and central
planned economy.
Rossi (1980) has outlined the accounting scheme for moving decisions as three stages:
decision to leave the old home, search for a new place, and choice among alternatives.
Since the searching process and the alternatives are highly interrelated, this
dissertation will simplify three stages as two parts: moving-out decision and moving-
in choice. The western housing mobility research considers the constraints of moving.
It categorizes moving behavior into voluntary and involuntary according to the
moving decision making processes. The moving choice is always voluntary chosen,
whether a familys move is voluntary or forced is somewhat irrelevant to its choice
of a new place in which to live (Rossi 1980: 202).
Western residential satisfaction research studies residents who voluntarily move to
the current dwellings even though some moving-out decisions were involuntary. The
clarification of differences between moving-out decision and moving-in choice in the
moving behavior enables the differentiation of involuntary move between market and
administrative allocation. Voluntary or involuntary nature can either apply to moving-
out decision or moving-in choice.
The provision of housing in a market economy is always through the market.
Involuntary moving means other reasons unrelated to housing push household to
move and choose again in the housing market. The moving decision is forced because
of other reasons unrelated to previous dwellings. But the final moving choice is still
after comparing attractions of alternate opportunities or some specifications. Housing
mobility in central planned economy brings up a different dimension of moving
behavior: both moving decision and moving choice are involuntary in the way that

households do not have free choice on when to move and where to move. The only
choice is what is offered.
Chinas transitional economy further complicates the pattern of moving behavior by
mixing up the features of moving both under administrative and market forces. The
housing distribution is going through the transition from administrative allocation to
the market. Residents moving decision and choices also experience the change from
one option to a mix of conditioned options. In Beijings earlier redeveloped housing
compensation, such as in Case A, it shows the strong administrative feature of
distribution. The recent redevelopment projects with increasing adoption of monetary
compensation, allows residents to enter into the housing market and make voluntary
To make this differentiation clearer, this dissertation attempts to define them with
different terms. The moving behaviors are separated into decision to move out and
choice of move-in two processes. The previous definition ofinvoluntary obscured
the difference between moving-out decision and moving-in choice. From here
onwards, the moving decision is termed as active or forced moving out, while the
choice of move-in is called voluntarily or involuntarily. Thus the nature of public
clearance or urban renewal projects in market and administrative housing distribution
are the same in the way forcing residents to move out in the moving decision making
stage. However the choices of the house to move in are different. The administrative
allocation of housing provides only one choice without any other options, which is
involuntary. The housing market on the other hand allows people to choose from
alternate options according to their financial ability.
Various Moving Behavior and Satisfaction
In western countries market economic system, even though there are households
forced to move out, most people voluntarily move into current dwellings. Rossi (1980)

excluded forced moving cases in his study of the role of complaints in the decision to
move. Also in residential satisfaction research, Weidemann and Andersons (1985)
conceptual framework pre-requires that residents are able to perform the behavior, a
requirement for competency, physical, financial, demographic or whatever. The
required volitional behavior of individuals thus excludes the forced move, those who
are forced out through eviction, or military families, etc (Speare 1974). The main
reason here is that residential satisfaction or complaints about the previous dwelling
play little role in moving decision if the moving is forced. The major reasons for
moving-in such cases are unrelated to the characteristics of the former dwelling.
In many housing mobility researches, residential satisfaction is included as a predictor
of moving (e.g. Marans 1976; Nathanson et al. 1976). This is not true in a central
planned economy when the moving decision is forced and moving choice is
involuntary. The administrative allocation operates the distribution of housing, which
is unrelated to individuals perception of housing environment. There is a
disconnection between residential satisfaction and housing mobility, since the
individual has little mobility upon their wishes. Administrative allocation attempted
to consider basic housing physiological needs in the provision process, such as
number of family members, genders of children. Most often residents might not be
satisfied due to the limited resources. Their satisfaction is mostly achieved through a
comparison either between what they used to live in and what they have now, or
among living conditions of similar group households. Residential satisfaction in
administrative housing allocation system is not connected with moving decisions.
In the transitional economy, moving behaviors started to show the mix feature of
market and administrative forces: either work units purchased apartments and
allocated to their employees free, or original residents purchased at a subsidized price.
All these characteristics show the primitive stage of housing market, in which the
transitional housing system is a combination of commodity, partial-welfare, and
social security housing (Zhu 1999).

As Chinas housing market grows mature, more households will enter into the market
to choose their dwellings voluntarily. But currently, involuntary choice of housing
dweller is still dominant among residents. The recent research in Shanghai identified
that only 35.5% of residential relocation was voluntary (Wu 2004) in which these
better-off residents can resort to the new market methods, rather than relying on
allocation of public housing units. In Beijing, a city concentrated with many central
government institutions, the commercial housing purchase has always been lagging
behind. Li (2003) studied the 1996 survey and found that private housing in Beijing
was almost nonexistent. The rate of purchasing commercial housing in Beijing was
40.3% in 1998, and 61.2% in 1999, which was still lower than the national average of
80.1% in 1999 (Liu 1999). Most purchasing was paying for their current dwellings.
Although the voluntary moving dwellers are increasing, satisfaction research in China
is still facing the majority of involuntary moving dwellers.
The housing market is the sorting mechanism in the market economy, in which the
purchase of commodity housing is largely based on affordability, and moving
behavior is selective among different social groups. The western conceptual
framework on residential satisfaction thus is able to capture the satisfaction
differences among different social groups. However, in the centrally-planned
economy, the move-in choices are mostly involuntary in which work units are the
main decision makers. The western research framework is based on the market
distribution of housing. Residents in central-planned economy would evaluate their
living condition following a different framework.
This dissertation attempts to differentiate involuntary move-in choice existed in
Chinas housing system. Figure 4-3 shows the difference in moving behavior cycles
in different political economy. Studies approaching the understanding of residential
satisfaction through political and economic factors beyond social and physical factors
are more relevant to the context of market transition in China, in that both
administrative and market forces contribute to their satisfaction.

Stage I Stage II Stage III
Figure 4-3 : Comparison of moving behaviors in different stages

Chinas Unique Moving Behavior
Active or forced moving-out does not exist as the pure dichotomy. Most often it is a
spectrum of weight in between, as well as the voluntary or involuntary move-in
choices. Residents make moving decisions possibly due to a combination of
complaints on the previous dwelling and the change of job.
The transitional economy further mixes the pattern of moving behavior in both
market and central-governed economy. In Beijings redevelopment case, original
residents are forced out of their old houses. Generally they have three choices:
relocating to the suburbs free, moving back to redeveloped apartments with
subsidized payment, and receiving monetary compensation. In this sense, they have
some freedom of choosing among alternatives. However, other than the group which
receives monetary compensation and enters into the housing market later, the
alternatives are limited within what project developers can provide.
Involuntary does not always mean not satisfied. Among residents involved in the
inner city redevelopment, the group of people who moved into the inner city
redeveloped project through work units housing allocation is happy. They moved
into these apartments involuntarily, since there was no other alternative and these
apartments were given by their employer as welfare. Work units who could purchase
in the inner city were always rich, and they set up specific standard housing for
developers to build. These apartments were always in higher standard and better
condition than those built for original residents. Work unit housing allocation always
generates the highest space return to households, and redevelopment relocation has
the lowest space return (Wu 2004). The 1998 housing reform terminated the welfare
housing provision. But the transition has been gradual. Some work units were still
able to develop housing and sell to its employees at subsidized price in 2000. Beijing
residents received more housing subsidy in 1999 than in 1998 (Huang 2004).

Voluntary and involuntary components exist in most moving behaviors. Voluntary
housing choice is limited. The selection process is conditioned upon the affordability,
distance to work, etc. The final choice is a balance of many factors. On the other hand,
involuntary move might also have a few options within a smaller scale, such as
selecting your preferred apartment orientation and floor level within a certain project.
There is always a waiting list in selection and those who are listed earlier have the
priority to choose.
Chinas transition towards a market-oriented economy creates a setting that various
patterns of moving behavior coexist. Differentiating the moving decision and moving
choice enables a further understanding of the unique set of moving behaviors in
current China. The difference in moving options leads to the different conditions of
housing provided through market, developers, or work units.
Although pragmatic concerns for social stability plus strong tenancy rights help inner-
city households gain increasing compensation in residential relocation, urban
redevelopment still generates the lowest space return (Wu 2004). As in the Beijings
cases, the money compensation was not enough to purchase a decent apartment in the
inner city area, and moving back to redeveloped housing means a big amount of
investment from personal savings. Consequently, the economically disadvantaged
group could only choose to move to the suburbs free. As a result, households
economically rich enough or those owning a second dwelling could possibly accept
the other two offers: either moving back after redevelopment or receiving monetary
compensation. In this sense, residential relocation is also selective among different
social groups. The sorting mechanism of urban restructuring is slowly including the
market forces over and above the previous administrative power.
The western residential satisfaction conceptual framework studies residents that
voluntarily move into their current dwellings. Although they might be forced out of
the previous dwellings, they were still able to perform the behavior voluntarily in
moving into the current dwellings (Weidemann and Anderson 1985). It ignored cases

of involuntary moving-in such as military families relocation (Speare 1974). Public
housing research findings are different since they share more involuntary moving-in
features with Chinas cases than other market choice cases. This points to the gap in
the western conceptual framework that overlooks the different processes that lead to
residents current living situation.
Beijings redevelopment cases have made it clear that another type of moving
behavior exists among a large population. Their satisfaction is toward the dwellings
that they involuntarily moved in, rather than out of their wish upon affordability.
Their moving behavior is more determined by the policies and processes of the
housing system, regardless of residential satisfaction. The housing policies and
distribution processes are so much attached to the housing itself that their evaluation
of their dwelling can not be separated from them.
Freedom of Moving
Voluntary and involuntary moving-in nature does not account for the main difference
in residential satisfaction findings. Goetz (2002) finds out that both voluntary
mobility programs for low-income households and involuntary relocation of families
through government action did not show different level of improvement in living
conditions from other public housing groups. In Chinas cases, there are residents
who are very satisfied with their work units provision of housing, whereas others are
very dissatisfied with the relocation options through redevelopment. The
differentiation of voluntary and involuntary moving-in behavior is not to conclude
either one will lead to a higher satisfaction. No matter how people move into the
current dwelling, voluntarily or involuntarily, their satisfaction can varied very much.
The moving-in time residential satisfaction is only a one-point measurement. The
change and trend of satisfaction is more useful in the research.