Next Article in Journal
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emission Reduction Potential in East and South Coastal China: Scenario Analysis Based on STIRPAT
Next Article in Special Issue
Assessing the Climate Change Impacts of Biogenic Carbon in Buildings: A Critical Review of Two Main Dynamic Approaches
Previous Article in Journal
Research on Financial Pressure, Poverty Governance, and Environmental Pollution in China
Previous Article in Special Issue
An Occupant-Oriented Calculation Method of Building Interior Cooling Load Design
Article Menu
Issue 6 (June) cover image

Export Article

Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1835; doi:10.3390/su10061835

Comparing Characteristics of Environmental Behaviors and Spatial Types in Open and Gated Housing Blocks: A Case Study of Changchun, China
Graduate School of Engineering, Hokkaido University, North 13, West 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan
Division of Architectural and Structural Design, Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Kita13 Nishi8, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018


Physical characteristics of residential areas affect many aspects of living sustainability, including the environmental behavior of residents. Based on the policy issued in China in 2016, the guideline of transforming existing gated housing blocks into open mode is being gradually implemented in some cities. However, the transforming of boundary walls and internal roads has changed the living environment such as the open space that residents have been accustomed to and has affected environmental behaviors correspondingly. From perspectives of spatial types and environmental behaviors, this research compared an open housing block (which is reconstructed from gated one) with a comparable original gated housing block. The Behavior Mapping Method was used to capture environmental behaviors in two housing blocks; factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to extract spatial characteristics and classify spatial types; and finally differences between the open housing block and the gated housing block were shown by comparing the distribution of environmental behaviors in each space type. The results indicate that the presence or absence of the enclosing walls affects the division of space types and environmental behaviors in housing blocks. For gated housing blocks, spaces with strong privacy attract various types of activities, which are overwhelming in categories and the number of people, while in the open housing blocks, this situation is not as obvious as in the former.
housing blocks; reconstruction; environmental behaviors; spatial types; China

1. Introduction

1.1. General Context and Its Peculiarities

China’s urbanization rate has increased from 17.92% in 1978 to 57.35% in 2016 [1], which was also accompanied by massive housing developments and continuous growth of urban traffic pressure [2,3,4,5,6]. The gated housing block has also been developed in this background and has become the dominant residential form in China. This kind of blocks covers a large area and is usually zoned by urban arterial roads, whose lengths are 300–500 m. It is isolated by bounded walls, fences, plants, gates, guard houses, etc., and has certain shared community facilities and internal roads inside. The wide existence of this kind of housing blocks has caused some traffic problems such as limited connectivity and low density of road network [7,8]. Because of this state, the central government of the People’s Republic of China released a guideline in February 2016 to address “obvious issues” and “urban ills”, such as making traffic networks intensive and unclogging the urban roads by two main approaches: (a) promoting open housing blocks with small areas among newly-built residential areas; and (b) reconstructing gated housing blocks by removing bounding walls and connecting internal roads with urban roads [9]. After the guideline was promulgated, the part of transforming residential type immediately ignited the topic and became a domestic focus.

1.2. The Purpose of this Work and Its Significance

As mentioned above, this guideline is traffic oriented, while the contents towards residential type in it, especially towards the existing gated housing blocks, may bring unexpected impacts on residents’ lives such as social interaction and places of it due to the change of space features [10,11,12,13]. The residents have been accustomed to gated housing blocks for a long time; this traffic oriented transforming of boundary walls and internal roads has changed the living environment, and might affect environmental behaviors of residents correspondingly. Since there will be a lot of reconstruction throughout the country, it is necessary to understand what this effect is. As the impact from architectural and environmental behavior aspect is still unclear, this research attempted to reveal the influence of spatial transformation on outdoor behaviors of residents. Meanwhile, it also aimed to point out in which type of outdoor spaces that residents are affected. These aims were pursued through crosswise comparison between open housing blocks and comparable gated housing blocks. After studying and understanding these effects qualitatively and quantitatively, we could put forward reasonable suggestions for following extensive transformation in China.

1.3. Research Status

In the two years since the policy was enacted in 2016, some researchers, national press and local news report have also responded to the question. From the sociality and the policy level, they have combed the development of the closed block and the possible impact of the transformation [14,15,16]. Experts from the China Urban Planning and Design Research Institute and the National Development Reform Commission have also largely expressed their support. In their opinion, the reforms would help to transform Chinese cities into “truly modern ones that are open and defined by their public places and services” [17] (Xinhua News 2016b).
While on the other side, some researchers are still skeptical of this massive reconstruction, and the reform guideline still faces many problems of policy enforcement and legal contradiction. As of December 2016, the guidelines have been deemed to be policies at the party and state levels. According to the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of China, the reforms would still have to be legalized because they implicate property rights issues related to the affected owners and business operations [18] (Li 2016). Some experts have suggested that there ought to be a transition phase to prepare and implement complementary policies that would address the potential tensions arising from the guidelines [19] (Guangzhou Daily 2016), and the complementary policies should relate to property management, security and property rights, as well as the planning and allocation of public amenities and services [20] (Han and Wang 2016). Kan argued for more tempered, light-handed approaches and cautioned against a complete rejection of the superblock [14]. The Vice-Minister for Housing and Urban-Rural Development clarified that the initiatives to “open up” existing enclosed neighborhoods and work unit compounds were “not intended to remove their walls”, but to “open the gates” instead [21] (Wu 2016a). Although the clarification itself is still somewhat vague, it suggests that the new guidelines will not necessarily usher in the end of gating as a practice.
However, in many cities, reconstruction of existing gated housing blocks has already begun and has been completed in some places. The authors conducted screening and sampling of cities in China prior to April 2017, involving open housing blocks and reconstructed gated housing blocks, and found different phases of reconstruction in Beijing, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Changchun, etc. It cannot be neglected that the physical conditions and space environment of closed residential areas have been transformed already. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the impact of spatial transformation on the environmental behavior of residents after transformation.

1.4. Controversial and Diverging Definitions

To understand the definition of “gated housing blocks” and “open housing blocks” more accurately, a similar concept, gated communities, needs to be clarified.
Chinese scholars have been using the same term “gated communities” to refer to gated private housing developments in Chinese cities [6,22,23,24]. At present, there is no exclusive fixed definitions of gated and open housing blocks in China in academic circles and design codes. Some concepts are borrowed words, such as “gated communities”, “closed communities” and “enclosed communities”, while due to the translation they are apt to be mixed and confused. The term of gated communities described in “Fortress America” has certain differences with Chinese gated settlements.
Different from the suburban island distribution in United States, Chinese gated housing blocks exist in various districts of cities. With diverse prices, this kind of gated communities served all social classes. Moreover, on the scale characteristics, most Western gated communities have the characteristics of small scale and low density, while, in China, more gated housing blocks have the characteristics of large scale and high density. From the closed degree, gated communities are often wall distance, taking strict security measures, and need identification to enter residential areas. Chinese gated housing blocks are mainly isolated from low walls, fences or green belts, and might be equipped with guards [16]. As above, the socioeconomic connotation of gated communities in the US is not applicable to many gated housing complexes in Chinese cities including private housing complexes for low-medium income households (affordable housing), work-unit compounds, and traditional housing complexes [22]. In other words, “gated housing blocks” in China is a broader concept than “gated community” in the US, and it emphasizes more on the physical form of enclosure, not the legal and social aspect.
The “gated housing blocks”, a spatial concept, is defined as a China-typical residential quarter in this study. It is written as gated housing blocks to correspond with the “open housing blocks”. Based on the guideline issued in February 2016, the definition of open housing blocks comes to describe another category of residential areas: without boundary walls, and internal roads of open housing blocks connect with urban roads for public use. The opinions attempt to promote two kinds of open housing blocks: newly-built open housing blocks and reconstructed housing blocks from the gated. Since few newly-built open housing blocks have been founded, it mainly refers to reconstructed type in this research.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Identification of Case Studies

By April 2017, Beijing, Shanghai, Changchun and six other cities were reported to promote open housing blocks after the opinion was issued, yet most of these cities only stay on the propaganda level and have not begun to implement construction or reconstruction. Changchun city, located in north of China and the provincial capital of Jilin province, is chosen as the research area for this study by screening and sampling because of the following reasons: 155 housing blocks have been completed reconstruction to open from gated, covering many districts and involving comprehensive categories especially the most general category of residential patterns in China. All these characteristics make Changchun a good sample to represent typical region of China cities for learning the transforming of housing blocks.
Compared with five other districts in Changchun city, Lvyuan district was selected to be the survey area due to the appropriate quantity and categories of housing block reconstruction. After a one-week observation in this district, CHANGKEB and QICHECHANG34 were randomized to be comparable experimental and control groups, as these two sites have a lot in common. CHANGKEB, the reconstructed open housing blocks, is abbreviated as CKB. The gated housing block, QICHECHANG34, is shortened to be Q34 later. The location of cases and the detailed characteristics are shown in Figure 1 and Table 1.
The open housing block CKB and gated housing block Q34 in this paper belong to the Changchun Bus Factory and the Changchun First Automobile Factory, respectively, which are the unit settlements for employee in the two factories. Changchun Bus Factory and Changchun First Automobile Factory were established in 1954 and 1953, respectively. They are the heavy industrial bases that China’s first five-year plan had focused on and have developed rapidly since the reform and opening up in the 1980s. The two existing settlements were built during this period: CKB in 1988 and Q34 in 1985. They are not only similar in socio-economic context, but also have common physical features such as location, area, construction age, building layers, etc. (Table 1). This similarity excludes many other factors besides openness, making them highly comparable for this study.

2.2. Investigation of Activities in Outdoor Spaces by the Place-Centered Behavior Mapping Method

The investigation was conducted during 4–10 September; two weekdays and two weekend days were chosen to avoid dramatic phenomenon. The routes that consists of six sections and passes through the entire residential area were set in two housing blocks, respectively (Figure 2). The author walked on the predesigned routes, and recorded outdoor activities on the base map by place-centered behavior mapping method [25,26]. Staying for about 15 min on each section of the route, and making sure the accuracy of information recording, the whole route took around 1.5 h. A 12-h day, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., was divided it into six periods, such that each period could meet the time requirement to finish the whole route. Information was recorded in all six periods per day.

2.3. Data Processing

Averaged the amount of behaviors of four days, 1004 behavior points were found in two housing blocks, behaviors of six time periods were recorded and overlapped to be a whole one (Figure 3).
The behavior maps of resident activities of CKB and Q34 are roughly divided into 43 and 41 sections, respectively, according to space locations (Figure 4). The elements of these areas were extracted and classified by factor analysis and cluster analysis for learning the relation of space types and environmental behaviors. A area refers to the boundary space, where housing blocks has relationship with the public space. In the open housing block CKB, these boundary spaces are totally open to the public, and is defined as Ao area; for the gated housing block Q34, residential areas have relationship with public spaces through gates, and is defined as Ag type. B area means the intersection space of housing blocks, while internal roads in CKB have been reconstructed to urban roads, this kind of spaces is defined as Bo type; and the similar space in Q34 is Bg type. C area, the unit front road space, is also divided into Co and Cg type in CKB and Q34 due to the difference of road functions. The typical space of each housing blocks can be seen in Figure 5.

3. Results

3.1. Characteristics of Residents’ Behaviors

Behaviors were divided into two main categories based on their movement (Table 2): (staying activities) and (non-staying activities). The duration of non-staying activities is very short; people are usually just passing by when they do these activities. Comparing with staying activities, these behaviors are relatively less dependent on the environment and the space. Since we wanted to understand the relationship and its differences between spaces and behaviors, we focused on staying activities, which stay in a certain space longer and are more related to the space. Four kinds of activities are extracted from staying activities: (1. standing activities); (2. sitting activities); (3. certain group activities); and (4. others).
In the open housing block CKB, resident behaviors were recorded 425 times, consisting of 219 non-staying activities and 206 staying activities, which is quite equal. Among the staying activities which is more related to physical environment, sitting activities rank first with 101 times; standing activities come next with 46 times, the same as certain group activities; and other activities were last with 13 times. Gated housing block Q34 showed different situation from CKB. Staying activities account were recorded 384 time, more than twice as many as non-staying activities (161). Sitting activities also ranked first in this gated housing block, with 169 times; certain group activities followed with 110 times; and standing activities and other activities came as third and fourth, with 73 times and 32 times, respectively. Although the two ranks are in a similar order, the frequency of human behaviors in the gated housing block are much higher than in the open housing block. Nevertheless, sitting activities were popular in both housing blocks. In addition, gated housing block Q34 had obvious “certain group activities”, which is not so obvious in the open housing block.

3.2. Spatial Types Analysis According to Classification of Elements in Outdoor Spaces

3.2.1. Classification of Space Elements

Data related to the elements of a space, such as boundary, interfaces, and relation to buildings and roads were collected and tabulated. These elements were classified according to their existence or non-existence in each section (Table 3) as 1 and 0, respectively. The spatial elements in CKB and Q34 were analyzed using Factor Analysis method. The result shows that the cumulative contribution rate is over 80% and 70%, respectively. Data can be seen in Columns 1–3 of Table 4.
In Table 4, there were negative eigenvalues in Column 1 for features (facing the unit building) and (near the unit entrances), while positive eigenvalues for features (facing the side of the unit building) and (having more than two roads crossed). Therefore, Column 1 compares spaces near unit buildings. The negative eigenvalues in Column 2 indicate constituting elements of closure by (having 2 or more enclosure interfaces), while the positive eigenvalue indicates openness by (adjacent to urban space). Therefore, Column 2 indicates the openness and closure of spaces. The maximum eigenvalue of Column 3 indicates features (having partition between residential and urban space), which is similar to Column 2. Therefore, Column 3 indicates the boundary and closure of spaces.
Only two columns were extracted by factor analysis in gated housing block Q34. The negative eigenvalues in Column 1 indicated features (facing the unit building) and (near the unit entrances), while the positive eigenvalues indicated features (facing the side of unit building). Therefore, Column 1 compares spaces near unit buildings, which is similar to the phenomenon in CKB. The negative eigenvalue in Column 2 indicates constituting elements of closure by (having 2 or more enclosure interfaces), and the positive eigenvalue indicates openness by (having more than two roads crossed). Therefore, Column 2 indicates the openness and closure of spaces from another way.

3.2.2. Classification of Space Types

Spatial types in two housing blocks were summarized by clustering analysis which is widely used in Typological analysis (Figure 6) [27]. Four types were extracted in open housing block CKB defined as To (Type of open). Three types were picked in gated housing block Q34 named as Tg (Type of gated).
In CKB, To1 consists of seventeen Co areas, referring to the area located on unit front roads in open housing block. There are some subtle differences inside, such as Co17 and Co18, which have a cross road. To2 is a special space type because it only made up a single area of Co14. Although it has a similar location with other Co areas in Type 1, Co14 is different from others in the enclosure. It is close to urban space. There is no partition or unit building between it and outside, therefore, visually and spatially, the privacy of Co14 is lower than other Co areas. To3 is formed by all Ao areas, which represents the boundary space in CKB. In this type, Ao7 looks difference with other Ao areas on the interface. It is located between the side face of two unit building, and it has two solid interfaces accordingly, which is different from other boundary spaces with one only. Areas of To4 all belong to Bo, which are intersection spaces. Bo1 and Bo5 see one difference of location. They are closer to urban space than remaining Bo areas. As can be seen, To2 is the most special type in the open housing block CKB. Before CKB was transformed into an open block, one side of this type is the apartment building, and the other side is the enclosure of the urban space. The demolition of the space elements is similar to other Co areas while dismantling boundary walls made this area separate from other Co areas and became a new type of space, To2. Meanwhile, in the other three types, there are also differences within space types accordingly because of the different spatial elements in each region.
In gated housing block Q34, areas are classified into three types only. There are 18 areas belonging to Tg1 (Tg: Type of gated), most of which are located in the Cg area of unit front roads, but Bg6 and Bg15 at the road intersection also belong to this spatial type. There are different spatial interfaces between Bg6 and Bg15 and other intersection areas. These two regions have three solid enclosure surfaces. Compared with other Bg spaces, they have weaker openness. The composition of Tg2 is relatively clear, which is the rest of all Bg regions, and there is no significant difference between this type of region. Tg3 includes all Ag areas, which are boundary spaces. Obviously, the internal difference exists in T3. Ag1, Ag2, Ag3, Ag4, Ag5, and Ag13 are different from other space, as these six boundary spaces are located on the two sides of the residential area and close to the entrance of the cell building. This means that people are more likely to appear in such spaces, while the other Ag spaces are far away from the cell exit.

3.3. The Distribution of Behaviors in Space Types

To understand the reflection of behavior on the type of spaces, we compare the distribution of four activity categories in each space type.
In open housing block CKB, 22 areas were recorded to have [standing activities]. As the average frequency in these 22 regions is about 5%, the number of occurrences over 5% is defined as “high frequency”. In Figure 7, three areas in Type 4 are higher than 5% (Bo6, Bo8 and Bo4), while there are only one or two areas of other types. Twenty-four regions were found to have [sitting activities], and the “high frequency” is also set as 5% similar to the last behavior type. Three regions in Type 3, Ao1, Ao6 and Ao13, exceed this standard. For the [certain group activities], it is noticed in nine areas, thus the frequency standard is defined at around 10% accordingly. Type 1 has several areas whose frequency is higher, especially for Co3 area (17%). For the [other activities], eight regions of this category have other activities. Using the general standards of 10%, Co15, Co10 and Co13 in Type 1 were picked as noticeable areas. As above, each type of space attracts specific activities, particularly for Type 1, which is the high-frequency area of [certain group activities] and [other activities], but the overall distribution is relatively even.
In gated housing block Q34, 21 regions are recorded for the [standing activities]. Since the value of high frequency is set to be higher than the average probability of 5%, four regions in Type 1, Cg6, Bg15, Bg6 and Cg7, looks higher than this figure, especially Bg6, which is about 14%. For [sitting activities], as it is noticed in 30 areas, the frequency standard is defined at around 4%. Type 1 sees higher frequency in eight areas, especially for Cg7 area (10%). Nine regions were found to have [certain group activities], and the “high frequency” is also set around 10%. Two regions in Type 1, Cg13 and Bg15, exceed this standard. Bg15 has a relatively high value of 37%. Thirteen regions of this category have [other activities]. Using the general standards of 8%, Bg15 and Bg6 in Type 1 were picked up to be noticeable areas, and the behavior frequency in Bg6 ranks first, which is higher than 15%. Different from the situation in CKB, remarkably, four categories of behaviors all show highest frequency of occurrence in Type 1.

4. Discussion

The impact of demolishing wall and changing internal roads on the environmental behaviors have not been demonstrated in previous studies yet, while many scholars have explored the impact on environmental behavior with these physical characteristics [28,29,30,31,32]. The importance of bounded walls and internal roads are also confirmed in some series of studies. In the case of open housing block in this paper, the removal of walls and the change of internal roads did affect the division of space types, the attraction of various space types to residents, and the characteristics of the residents’ activities. By contrast with gated housing blocks, these effects are presented more clearly.
However, this article has some limitations in the comparative study. It is more accurate to discuss the influence of the transformation by comparing the statuses before and after reconstruction of the same housing block, while, due to the implementation of the policy, the settlement is often in the state of being transformed when it is publicized, and it is difficult to find it in advance and commit research. In addition, some studies have chosen longitudinal comparisons, such as drawing historical maps through interviews and then comparing them with current situation [33]. This kind of comparative study is reliable in presenting the physical features, yet it is not applicable to the study of environmental behaviors because the memory of activities is often vague and easy to change with the passage of time and changes of residential status. In this study, the crosswise comparison was finally adopted, and a fairly comparable control group was paired for the experimental open case, which is similar in area, layout, surroundings, and population. Therefore, the accuracy of this comparative research could be guaranteed to a certain extent.

5. Conclusions

This research compares open and gated housing blocks, the CKB and the Q34, from aspects of resident behaviors, space types and the distribution of residential behaviors in each space type. From these three aspects, a series of conclusions are drawn.
In the staying activities, which is more related to the space, [sitting and chatting] has the highest frequency in both open housing block CKB and gated housing block Q34, but the number in Q34 is more than twice as in CKB. As the CKB have in common with the Q34 population and area, this phenomenon is presumed to be associated with a significant difference of two housing blocks, open–closed state.
After the factor analysis of space elements in two housing blocks, it is known that influencing factors in open housing block are “near unit buildings”, “openness and closure of spaces” and “boundary and closure of spaces”, while influencing factors in gated housing block are “near unit buildings” and “openness and closure” only. Therefore, the spatial classification will be more explicit and steady in the latter. In the subsequent cluster analysis, the CKB and the Q34 were divided into four and three main spatial types, respectively. In particular, Co14, To2 of CKB was distinguished from other Co areas to be an independent type because dismantling boundary walls changed the elements of this region.
By analyzing the distribution of residents’ behavior in space types, we can see that, in CKB, the frequently occurring locations of the four main activities are scattered in the various types of To1, T3, and To4. In these types, Ao13, Bo6, and especially Co13 appear many times. These areas are located at the boundary of the residential area, the road node of the residential area and the position of the unit front road of the residential center. However, there is a more dramatic situation in Q34; all high frequency locations of activities belong to Tg1, of which Cg7, Cg15, and especially Bg6 should be paid attention. These areas are located in the front road of unit buildings, and two of them have three solid interfaces, with a strong sense of space and privacy.
The presence or absence of the enclosing walls affects the distinction of space types in housing blocks. In the case of gated housing blocks, closed space and strong private space attract various types of activities, which are rich in category and number of people. In the case of open housing blocks, closed space and strong private space still attract most kinds of activities, but the other two types of space located at the intersection road and the boundary also attract other activities.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.H.; Data curation, J.H.; Formal analysis, J.H.; Funding acquisition, S.M.; Investigation, J.H.; Methodology, J.H., S.M. and R.N.; Project administration, J.H.; Resources, J.H.; Supervision, S.M. and R.N.; Validation, S.M.; Writing—original draft, J.H.; and Writing—review and editing, J.H.


I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to CSC, China Scholarship Council, for aiding my research financially. High tribute is paid to my supervisor, M.S., for supporting my transportation expense.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC). China Statistical Yearbook 2017; National Bureau of Statistics of China: Beijing, China, 2017; Volume 4.
  2. Liu, X.; Liu, H.; Chen, W.; Zhang, Z. Spatiotemporal Fragmentation of Urban Residential Land Use: A Case Study from China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1096. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Zhou, X.; Chen, X.; Zhang, T. Impact of Megacity Jobs-Housing Spatial Mismatch on Commuting Behaviors: A Case Study on Central Districts of Shanghai, China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 122. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. Yang, S.; Hu, S.; Li, W.; Zhang, C.; Torres, J. Spatiotemporal Effects of Main Impact Factors on Residential Land Price in Major Cities of China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2050. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Zheng, Q.; He, S.; Huang, L.; Zheng, X.; Pan, Y.; Shahtahmassebi, A.R.; Shen, Z.; Yu, Z.; Wang, K. Assessing the impacts of Chinese Sustainable Ground Transportation on the dynamics of urban growth: A case study of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. Sustainability 2016, 8. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Miao, P. Deserted streets in a jammed town: The gated community in Chinese cities and its solution. J. Urban Des. 2003, 8, 45–66. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Sun Scale and Borders: A Reflection on the Enclosed Neighborhoods on the Periphery of Chinese Cities [Chidu Yu Bianjie: Fansi Zhongguo Chengshi Bianyuan Fengbishi Zhuzhaiqu]. Beijing Plan. Rev. 2007, 1, 136–141.
  8. World Bank; Development Research Center of the State Council, the People’s Republic of China. Urban China: Toward Efficient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Urbanization; World Bank: Washington, DC, USA; Development Research Center of the State Council, the People’s Republic of China: Beijing, China, 2014; ISBN 9781464802065. Available online: (accessed on 17 February 2018).
  9. Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. State Council Issues Some Guidelines to Further Reinforce the Management of Urban Planning and Construction [Zhonggong Zhongyang Guowuyuan Guanyu Jinyibu Jiaqiang Chengshi Guihua Jianshe Guanli Gongzuo De Ruogan Yijian]. Xinhua News Agency, 6 February 2016. [Google Scholar]
  10. Gehl, J. Life between Buildings—Using Public Space; Arkitektens Forlag: Hørsholm, Denmark, 1996; p. 174. [Google Scholar]
  11. Alexander, C. A Pattern Language; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 1977. [Google Scholar]
  12. Jacobs, J. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Reissue edition; Vintage: New York, NY, USA, 1992; ISBN 067974195X. [Google Scholar]
  13. Gehl, J. Public Spaces—Public Life—for the 21st Century; The Danish Architectural Press: Copenhagen, Denmark, 2007. [Google Scholar]
  14. Kan, H.Y.; Forsyth, A.; Rowe, P. Redesigning China’s superblock neighbourhoods: Policies, opportunities and challenges. J. Urban Des. 2017, 22, 757–777. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Zhao, W.; Zou, Y. Un-gating the gated community: The spatial restructuring of a resettlement neighborhood in Nanjing. Cities 2017, 62, 78–87. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. Sun, G.; Webster, C.; Chiaradia, A. Ungating the city: A permeability perspective. Urban Stud. 2017. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Xinhua News. China Outlines the ‘Blueprint’ for Future Urban Developments [Zhongguo Gouhua Weilai Chengshi Fazhan ‘Luxiantu’]. Xinhua News, 21 February 2016. [Google Scholar]
  18. Gao, L.; Cui, S.; Yang, D.; Tang, L.; Vause, J.; Xiao, L.; Li, X.; Shi, L. Sustainability and Chinese urban settlements: Extending the metabolism model of emergy evaluation. Sustainability 2016, 8, 459. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  19. Daily, G. How Difficult Will it be to Open Enclosed Neighborhoods? there Ought to be a Transitory Phase [Fengbi Xiaoqu Kaifang Shixing Nandu You Duo Da? Ying You Guoduqi]. Guangzhou Daily, 23 February 2016. [Google Scholar]
  20. Han, J.; Wang, Y.B. Opening Neighborhoods isn’t Simply a Case of ‘Tearing Down Walls and Opening Compounds’, Complementary Suite of Policies and Amenities also Needed [Kaifang Xiaoqu Bu Jin Shi ‘Chai Qiang Po Yuan’, Xu Peitao]. Xinhua News, 23 February 2016. [Google Scholar]
  21. Wu, W. Vice-Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development: To Open Enclosed Neighborhoods is to Open the Gates and Not Demolish the Walls [Zhujianbu Fubuzhang: Dakai Fengbi Xiaoqu Shi Kai Men Bu Shi Chai Qiang]. Beijing News, 1 April 2016; 13–15. [Google Scholar]
  22. Logan, J.R. Urban China in Transition; Blackwell Publishing Ltd.: Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2008; ISBN 9781405161459. [Google Scholar]
  23. Giroir, G. The Purple Jade Villas (Beijing): A Golden Ghetto in Red China; Glasze, G., Webster, C., Frantz, K., Eds.; Routledge: Abingdon, UK, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  24. Wu, F.; Webber, K. The rise of foreign gated communities in Beijing: Between economic globalization and local institutions. Cities 2004, 21, 203–213. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Jan Gehl, B.S. How to Study Public Life; Island Press: Washington, DC, USA, 2013; ISBN 9781610915250. [Google Scholar]
  26. Graumann, C.F. The Phenomenological Approach to People-Environment Studies. In Handbook of Environmental Psychology; John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2003; ISBN 0471405949. [Google Scholar]
  27. Li, Z.; Munemoto, J.; Yoshida, T. Analysis of Behaviors along the Waterside in a Chinese Residential Quarter. J. Asian Archit. Build. Eng. 2011, 10, 85–92. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Haiwen, L. Concept and charactristics of communication space on community road. J. Shanghai Jiaotong Univ. 2013, 31, 51–57. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Dai, Y. The Thinking and Research of Residential Exterior Space form in China; Tianjin University: Tianjin, China, 2007. [Google Scholar]
  30. Zhang, J. Public Space in Walled Community; Tongji University: Shanghai, China, 2008. [Google Scholar]
  31. Chai, Y.W.; Ta, N.; Mao, Z.D. Urban Spatial Reconstruction in Cities in China from the Perspective of Danwei. Mod. Urban Res. 2011, 26, 5–9. [Google Scholar]
  32. Sun, L.; Luo, X.; Huang, J. Study on Outdoor Spatial Morphology and Communication Behavior in Determinant Danwei Community. Mod. Urban Res. 2017, 25–30. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  33. Zhang, C.; Chai, Y. Un-gated and integrated Work Unit communities in post-socialist urban China: A case study from Beijing. Habitat Int. 2014, 43, 79–89. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. Location of the case studies.
Figure 1. Location of the case studies.
Sustainability 10 01835 g001
Figure 2. Behavior mapping route: in CKB (a); and in Q34 (b).
Figure 2. Behavior mapping route: in CKB (a); and in Q34 (b).
Sustainability 10 01835 g002
Figure 3. Environmental behaviors: in CKB (a); and in Q34 (b).
Figure 3. Environmental behaviors: in CKB (a); and in Q34 (b).
Sustainability 10 01835 g003
Figure 4. (a1,a2) A area-boundary spaces; (b1,b2) B area-intersection space; and (c1,c2) C area-unit front road space.
Figure 4. (a1,a2) A area-boundary spaces; (b1,b2) B area-intersection space; and (c1,c2) C area-unit front road space.
Sustainability 10 01835 g004
Figure 5. Typical areas in CKB and Q34.
Figure 5. Typical areas in CKB and Q34.
Sustainability 10 01835 g005
Figure 6. Cluster of areas in: open housing block CKB (a); and gated housing block Q34 (b).
Figure 6. Cluster of areas in: open housing block CKB (a); and gated housing block Q34 (b).
Sustainability 10 01835 g006
Figure 7. Distribution of four activity categories in each space type in open housing block CKB (To1, To2, To3 and To4) and gated housing block Q34 (Tg1, Tg2 and Tg3).
Figure 7. Distribution of four activity categories in each space type in open housing block CKB (To1, To2, To3 and To4) and gated housing block Q34 (Tg1, Tg2 and Tg3).
Sustainability 10 01835 g007
Table 1. Details of samples (from the sub district offices, 2017).
Table 1. Details of samples (from the sub district offices, 2017).
Nameopen housing block: CKBgated housing block: Q34
LocationLvyuan DistrictLvyuan District
Area60,952 m283,430 m2
Agecompleted in 1988completed in 1985
Building Amount2122
The Aged28.4%29.7%
Residentsemployees of Changke factoryemployees of the Yiqi factory
Table 2. Behavior frequencies in two housing blocks.
Table 2. Behavior frequencies in two housing blocks.
Behavior Frequency in CKB
Non-Staying ActivitiesCycling37141
Passing by94
Walking dog10
Walking baby3378
Walking together45
Staying ActivitiesStanding activitiesStanding1746
Standing and chatting25
Standing with cellphone1
Standing with wheelchair3
Sitting activitiesSitting18101
Sitting and chatting77
Sitting with tea table1
Sitting with newspaper2
Sitting together with pets3
certain group activitiesPlaying cards2246
Playing chess18
Other activitiesKids playing813
Sweeping around1
Washing car2
Airing clothes2
Behavior Frequency in Q34
Non-Staying ActivitiesCycling14127
Passing by103
Walking dog10
Walking baby3434
Staying ActivitiesStanding activitiesStanding1873
Standing and chatting55
Sitting activitiesSitting19169
Sitting with cellphone1
Sitting with pets1
Sitting and chatting148
certain group activitiesPlaying cards16110
Playing mahjong60
Other activitiesKids playing1832
Doing exercise3
Airing clothes2
Washing car1
Sleeping on the bench3
Table 3. Existence and Non-existence of spatial elements in two housing blocks.
Table 3. Existence and Non-existence of spatial elements in two housing blocks.
ElementAo1Ao2Ao3 Ao14Bo1Bo2Bo3 Bo11Co1Co2Co3 Co18 Ag1Ag2Ag3 Ag14Bg1Bg2Bg3 Bg15Cg1Cg2Cg3 Cg16
adjacent to urban space111 1100 0000 0 111 1000 0000 0
partition b/w residential & urban space000 0100 0000 0 111 1000 0000 0
having more than two roads crossed111 1111 1000 1 000 0111 1000 0
the width of road is more than 6 meters001 1000 1000 0 100 0000 0100 0
facing the unit building000 0000 0111 1 000 0000 1111 1
facing the side of unit building111 1111 1000 0 111 1111 0000 0
having 2 or more enclosure interfaces000 0111 1111 1 111 1011 1111 1
having plants000 0111 1111 1 111 0111 1111 1
near the unit entrance101 0000 0111 1 111 0000 1111 1
Table 4. Rotated Component Matrix of two housing blocks.
Table 4. Rotated Component Matrix of two housing blocks.
adjacent to urban space0.3500.8550.1740.6580.709
having partition between residential and urban space0.1550.0370.9190.6580.709
having more than two roads crossed0.8470.2850.0240.194−0.876
the width of road is more than 6 m0.3400.477−0.5270.168−0.562
facing the unit building−0.885−0.3920.018−0.9240.028
facing the side of unit building0.8760.3930.0220.950−0.147
having 2 or more enclosure interfaces−0.227−0.8380.1920.0370.481
having plants−0.047−0.7530.046−0.611−0.427
near the unit entrances−0.9150.100−0.030−0.8410.307
Cumulative contribution rate38.01%29.22%13.26%41.88%29.09%

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top