From enclave urbanism to sustainable cities : comparing gated and non-gated housings form in China from syntactical and morphological perspectives

Yang, Yufeng; (2022) From enclave urbanism to sustainable cities : comparing gated and non-gated housings form in China from syntactical and morphological perspectives. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 1622-1629. ISBN 9781914241161

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Aiming to achieve more sustainable cities, a new directive issued by China's government in 2016 announces an upcoming housing reform to halt new gated housing constructions and gradually open the built-up ones. Since then, researchers have been focusing on the policy, management, and benefits of un-gating residential areas. However, there is a need to understand the gated and non-gated housing form through a spatial perspective beyond the physical boundaries. This paper thus attempts to address this point by adopting approaches from space syntax and urban morphology. Taking Wuhan City as a case study, analyses were conducted at three levels. Investigation at the macro level focuses on the overall distribution of gated residences in the urban area and the social logic behind it. At the meso level, six pairs of cases (i.e., twelve cases) were carefully chosen to compare their density and typomorphology via Spacemate diagram. Moreover, two pairs of cases were further selected to compare spatial centrality and movement interface using the space syntax approach. The findings suggested that the distribution of gated housing corresponds to the evolution process of the city. Moreover, the Spacemate diagram also evidenced that compared with non-gated ones, gated estates tend to create a larger proportion of open space for a smaller number of residents. Finally, the non-gated layouts demonstrated higher centrality and greater movement interface than gated layouts at the local, neighbourhood, and city scales. This indicates that the non-gated estates have better connections and embeddedness to the surroundings and a greater probability for encounters. Therefore, simply removing gates or physical boundaries may not change the performance of a gated compound, as its inherent spatial structure would remain the same. This paper provides a new perspective to understand better the gated housing forms and suggestions for the ongoing housing reform in China.

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