Social and spatial differentiation of high and low income groups' out-of-home activities in Guangzhou, China

Suhong Zhou, Lifang Deng, Mei Po Kwan, Ruogu Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With China's rapid urbanisation driving its growing economy, the enlarging socio-spatial inequalities in the cities have received wide attention. Rather than following the largely studied residential spaces, this paper focuses on socio-spatial differentiation based on the spaces of one's out-of-home activities. Using data of 1006 individuals collected by door to door questionnaires, this paper sets up the spatial and temporal autocorrelation GT coefficient to examine the spatial heterogeneity characteristics of high- and low income groups' out-of-home activities in a continuous spatiotemporal framework. The factors and different mechanisms influencing the clustering of the activities are discussed to better understand social diversity in post-reform urban China. The results suggest that there is obvious spatial and temporal variation in high- and low income groups' out-of-home activities, indicating that differing social spaces are not just limited to the macro-static residence-based living space, but also exist in the individual's daily-activities space. Both high- and low income people have drastically different activity spaces and they may not interact much with each other. This is socially very significant because it means that there is considerable social isolation or segregation for both groups. The results also show that within the same income group there exists a divisive cluster with different formation mechanisms, including the job-housing relationship, the correlation of activity opportunities with those surrounding residential areas and the individual's ability to access activities (that is, space-time accessibility). Structural transition can also impact on activities choices of various social groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • China
  • Social diversity
  • Spatiotemporal behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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