Residents’ sense of belonging in (gated) communities in urban China





Social cohesion, gated communities, community identity, sense of communities


Communities or neighborhoods are specific places in the research field of place identity that links between environment and psychology to address the sense of belonging as one of crucial human needs. This article explores the community identity in Chinese urban communities to investigate differences between sense of communities, and community satisfaction. Since 1980s, gated communities (Xiaoqu) are the dominant form of residential development in urban China and sometimes have the same boundary as the community (Shequ). Thus, this article sheds light on different understanding of gated communities in and outside of China. It is approached via deductive research to assess four specific hypotheses based on the concepts of communities, neighborhoods and gated communities. Four gated communities from Suzhou Industrial Park in China are used as study sites, where primary data was collected and then analyzed via multiple linear regression model and logistic regression model. Interestingly, the finding shows that having an active homeowners’ committee, which is considered as a socio-political force, is negatively associated with a sense of community. In addition, representation is positively associated with community identity in general. The findings imply that property management fees play an important role in residents’ community identity. In addition, the finding also supports that sense of community is a social rather than a physical construction.



Author Biography

Meiling Jin, TU Dortmund University

Meiling JIN is a PhD student at the Department of Spatial Planning and interested in policies in neighborhood. Jin’s PhD thesis is supervised by professor Dr. Christa Reicher and professor Dr. Frank Othengrafen.  


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