GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2008, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (5): 1003-1016.doi: 10.11821/yj2008050004

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The characteristics and their mechanisms of social spacein the peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun

FENG Jian1, WANG Yong-hai2   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. College of Geographical Science and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2007-10-30 Revised:2008-07-13 Online:2008-09-25 Published:2008-09-25
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Current research of China's urban social space emphasizes more on the macro-level than on the micro-level social space. There are relatively few research papers on the micro-level social space, such as the characteristics of residential quarters. Based on the methodology of qualitative research and deep interviews, taking a number of peripheral communities around Peking University campus as research cases, this paper tries to analyze the characteristics and their driving forces of the social space of peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun. The authors found that the social space of peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun experienced the transformation from the period of homogeneity to that of heterogeneity. Social stratification and social differentiation exist in these communities. Higher fluidity happens in such communities, and is correlated with not different social class but the same one. The social network link is strong within the same social class, however, it is weak among different social classes. To the floating population from outside Beijing, they tend to bring some of their network links in their hometown to Zhongguancun or Beijing, and they often affiliate with not residents of other social classes in their communities but friends or relatives, who come from their hometowns and live out of these communities. As a result, to some extent, segregation of social class exists in peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun. Under the operation of both universities and market, the social spatial structure of the peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun exhibits a complex pattern of both chaos and order. Finally, the authors attempt to put forward a model of interlaced mechanism of the forming of social space of the peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun at the macroscopic, mesoscopic and microcosmic levels. Under the background of market economy, a new social space, which is charactered by higher fluidity and incompact social network, has been built both by external population and by original residents in the peripheral communities of campus in Zhongguancun. Most important of all, this new social space will help to understand the relationship among the fluidity, the features of social network and the maturity of social space.

Key words: urban social space, fluidity, social network, peripheral communities of campus, Zhongguancun