The jobs-housing relationship and commuting in Beijing, China: the legacy of Danwei

Donggen WANG*, Yanwei Chai

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    280 Citations (Scopus)


    China's market-oriented reform has not only revitalized the economy but also changed the physical structure of Chinese cities, which used to be largely determined by the socialist Danwei (or work unit) system. In order to understand the impacts of the reform and the influence of Danwei on jobs-housing relationships and commuting behavior, this study investigates whether there are differences in commuting behavior between individuals who live in houses provided by Danwei and those who reside in houses from private market sources in urban China. We apply the structural equations model to investigate the interactions between housing source (from Danwei or not), jobs-housing relationship, transport mode and commuting time in Beijing, the capital city of China. The results show that Danwei housing commuters have shorter commuting trips and higher usage of non-motorized transport mode than those who live in houses from the market sources. This finding implies that the diminishing influence of the traditional Danwei system and the market-oriented reform in urban development may have changed the jobs-housing balance and increased travel demand in Chinese cities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)30-38
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Transport Geography
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Transportation
    • Environmental Science(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Beijing
    • Commuting
    • Danwei
    • Jobs-housing balance
    • Structural equations model


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