Leverhulme project

Can spatial decentralisation achieve sustainable urbanisation?


With rapid urbanisation in China, the separation of home-work locations in megacities has become evident and triggered numerous challenges. By adopting innovative research methods from multi-disciplines, this project will examine changing spatial interactions of residence and employment and the underlying factors especially the institutional ones relating to land, housing, and labour market. The research will use the Tongzhou Sub-centre of the Beijing Metropolitan Region as a revealing case to assess whether spatial decentralisation led by the government can promote the integration of jobs and housing, and achieve sustainable urbanisation, which will create academic and policy impacts in China and beyond.


(1) develop a conceptual framework to capture key variables and interactions in shaping the job-housing relationships;

(2) examine the changing spatial configuration of land use, employment and housing in the BMR;

(3) explore the forces underlying the changing job-housing relationships in the Tongzhou sub-centre;

(4) assess the implementation of top-down planning initiatives on integrating residence and workplaces at the neighbourhood level;

(5) explore the role of spatial planning in sustainable job-housing relationships and draw lessons for policy learning for cities undergoing rapid urbanisation in developing world.