Understanding jobs-housing imbalance in urban China: A case study of Shanghai


  • Weiye Xiao Department of Geography, University of Utah
  • Dennis Wei Department of Geography, University of Utah, and Department of Land Management, Zhejiang University
  • Han Li Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami




urbanization; jobs-housing imbalance; spatial mismatch index; spatial inequality; Shanghai; China


Shanghai has experienced a rapid process of urbanization and urban expansion, which increases travel costs and limits job accessibility for the economically disadvantaged population. This paper investigates the jobs-housing imbalance problem in Shanghai at the subdistrict-level (census-level) and reaches the following conclusions. First, the jobs-housing imbalance shows a ring pattern and is evident mainly in the suburban areas and periphery of the Shanghai metropolitan area because job opportunities are highly concentrated while residential areas are sprawling. Second, structural factors such as high housing prices and sprawling development significantly contribute to the jobs-housing imbalance. Third, regional planning policies such as development zones contribute to jobs-housing imbalance due to the specialized industrial structure and limited availability of housing. However, geographically weighted regression reveals the development zones in the traditional Pudong district are exceptional insofar as government policy has created spatial heterogeneity there. In addition, the multilevel model used in this study suggests regions with jobs-housing imbalance usually have well-connected streets, and this represents the local government’s efforts to reduce excessive commuting times created by jobs-housing imbalance.



Author Biography

Weiye Xiao, Department of Geography, University of Utah

Ph.D. Candidate


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How to Cite

Xiao, W., Wei, D., & Li, H. (2021). Understanding jobs-housing imbalance in urban China: A case study of Shanghai. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 14(1), 389–415. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2021.1805