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Studies have shown that for any city to be competitive at the global scale, it needs to be attractive to capital, international investors and highly skilled professionals. Korea has proclaimed its goal to upgrade Seoul's position from a national capital to a global city by becoming a leading business hub in Northeast Asia. Similarly, China wants to turn Shanghai into a global financial center. Towards this ends, Shanghai's strategy is manifested in the form of heavily planned and separate foreign enclaves, whereas Seoul provides an interesting contrast by having foreign communities which are relatively unplanned and physically undifferentiated in their neighborhoods. This paper compares two cities' planning strategies and their resultant foreign residential communities. First, the strategies of the two governments are reviewed in relation to the countries' globalization context and global city discourse. Their stated goals concerning residential environments are scrutinized. Second, the current status of the foreign communities is delineated by tracing how the discourses, contexts and urban strategies are reflected in the different spatial formations of foreign communities of the two cities. The spatial distribution and physical features of expatriate communities are analyzed and compared. The extent of segregation and congregation among foreigners is noted and referred to the socio-economic context of their local neighborhoods and amenities. A final reflection will be given to the enquiry on whether, or to what extent, the making of exclusive foreign communities really matters in attracting highly skilled foreign professionals deemed essential in enhancing the global competitiveness of the city.
Seoul, the administrative and economic capital of Korea, and Shanghai, the financial capital of China, are taking aggressive measures to transform themselves into global cities and to be ranked among the top in the global hierarchy. Attaining global city status is achieved by attracting capital and highly skilled professionals, integrated in the networks of transnational corporations. These corporations have become important sources of foreign investment which can lead to greater employment, higher productivity, more advanced skills and technology, and generally contribute to a better standard of living for people living in cities where they are located. For example, approximately 53 million jobs are currently generated by foreign affiliates of some 64,000 transnational corporations, and intra-firm trade account for one third of all global trade. However, as globalization is characterized by the mobility of "wealth, in both physical and human terms," (Marshall 2003: 22), it is not enough for cities to capture it; they need to hold on to it. Cities need to develop their competitive advantage to secure capital by "creating 'sticky places', to which transnational companies are more attached and become less mobile" (Park 2005: 868).
Attracting highly skilled workers, who are usually university educated and work in knowledge and information industries, is crucial to successful economic development. Florida (2002) has argued that a city's success depends on its ability to attract 'the creative class.' According to him, an advanced industrial economy has a labor force consisting of three classes, namely the traditional working class, the service class and the creative class. Simply put, the traditional working class work mostly in manufacturing, while the service class in moderately paid service industries, such as hospitality and food preparation. The creative class consists of 'professionals' subdivided into 'the super-creative core' working in information and communications technologies, and 'the creative professionals' working in value added service industries, such as finance. Even though his work has its critics, Florida has convincingly linked 'quality of place' to urban competitiveness.
In the early phases of globalization, governments around the world competed with each other to attract FDI by providing infrastructure to support the actual production of the global economy. These included international airports, convention centers, industrial zones, advanced IT and communications services. These provisions, however, soon lost their competitive edge as every major city in the region acquired similar infrastructure. It increasingly became apparent that other factors, such as "cultural and social vitality; social capital and innovative capacity; high-quality environment; low levels of poverty; amenities; participatory governance; and political stability" (Douglass 2002, 60), were needed to appeal to the international investors and professionals in choosing one city over another. Douglass (2002) specifically has argued that the competitiveness of a city is increasingly linked to the livability of the urban environment and its quality of life. Human capital, key to the economic success of a city, is drawn to livable cities with good housing and residential amenities. Tomaney and Bradley (2007) have also noted that there are specific types of housing that are preferred by the highly skilled:
The creative class may use high quality rented housing for shorter transitional periods but is likely, in the longer term, to want to invest in properties which will appreciate in value and be an asset in the later stages of the lifecycle. They will want access to good quality neighborhood facilities, including schools and they will want environments that are tolerant and safe. If they cannot find these environments in a particular location they will move to the places where they can find them. This may mean that they commute a longer distance into work where they need to attend a place of work or it may mean that they will prefer to work in those cities and towns which provide that kind of environment. In either case cities which provide aspirational housing opportunities are more likely to be attractive to individuals with choice and this is more likely to contribute to the environment in which creative industry and the knowledge economy thrives. (Lee and Murie, 2004: 243; quoted by Tomaney and Bradley 2007: 515)
Urban planning is used as a coordinating tool by government "to regulate space, mobilize resources and coordinate factors that shape cities" (Wu and Barnes 2008: 365). Since the early 1990s, Shanghai has implemented a strategy in which urban planning has played a crucial role in securing foreign direct investment (FDI) into specific locations in the city. Seoul has belatedly become aware of the importance of 'directed' urban restructuring in attracting capital and labor and thus has designated special places that have different regulatory rules which are intended to encourage greater economic globalization.
This paper compares the two cities' planning strategies and their resultant residential communities of the highly skilled professionals. In Seoul, the foreign communities have formed without government intervention, whereas Shanghai's foreign communities have been channeled into specific urban areas. In Seoul, the residential areas of foreigners are relatively dispersed and physically undifferentiated from neighboring local communities while the Shanghai's foreign population typically lives in gated communities which are guarded by high security cameras, guards and systems. First, the strategies of the two governments are reviewed in relation to the countries' globalization context and global city discourse. Their stated goals concerning residential environments are scrutinized. Second, the current status of the foreign communities is delineated by tracing how the discourses, contexts and urban strategies are reflected in the different spatial formations of foreign communities of the two cities. The spatial distribution and physical features of expatriate communities are analyzed and compared. The extent of segregation and congregation among foreigners is noted and referred to the socio-economic context of their local neighborhoods and amenities.
As both Korea and China have undergone the globalization process later than the more developed nations, the paper will focus on the developments since 1990s when both countries actively began to experience and implement measures to become global cities. The primary objective is to determine the similarities and differences between the two approaches through analyzing their different experiences. The focus is on foreign residential communities in each city which are a part of a broader urban strategy to promote global competitiveness. There is very little study on determining how much residential environment influences the economic development of a city. The secondary objective is to raise a broader question concerning whether, or to what extent, these different residential environments really matter in attracting highly skilled foreign professionals deemed essential in the global competitiveness of the city.
Globalization, highly skilled professionals and transnational spaces
Accelerating globalization is forcing Seoul and Shanghai to compete intensely for global city status not only with each other but also with other cities, especially those in Asia. They are shifting towards knowledge-based and higher value-added industries which require mobile capital investments from transnational enterprises. Global cities are noted for the concentration of highly mobile "technocratic-financial-managerial elite" (Castells 2000: 445) who bring "specific knowledge, skills and networks into the city which contributes significantly to their agglomeration economies, wealth creation and global reach" (Beaverstock 2002: 525). These highly skilled professionals are a part of the 'space of flows', and their social and cultural practices as well as their international networks are articulated in the city as transnational spaces (Hannerz 1996; Smith 2001).
Before globalization, cities were regarded as being interrelated yet consisting of basically autonomous individual urban spaces. This perception has changed since the 1980s. Cities are now seen as 'space of flows', part of a large network society subjected to constant flows of capital and information (Castells 1996). Most notably, Friedmann (1982, 1986, 1995) and Sassen (1991, 1995, 1999, 2000) showed global cities such as London, New York, Tokyo to be agglomeration and coordination centers and 'nodes and hubs' where global circuits of people, information, capital, and goods converge. Critics have pointed out, however, that the global city paradigm was based on limited empirical studies of cities in developed countries (Hill and Kim 2000; Wei and Yu 2006). Moreover, in their influential paper, Hill and Kim (2000) have argued that Tokyo and Seoul, situated in developmental states with similar state-centered bureaucratic systems, have different characteristics from New York's market-centered bourgeois system. Shanghai is also a city which, despite substantial liberalization, is still under significant state control (Olds 1997; Wu and Ma 2006; Wei et al 2006; Wei and Yu 2006) and does not conform to the New York system.
For globalizing cities like Seoul and Shanghai, attracting foreign investments and the highly skilled professionals are essential for economic growth and global competitiveness. Their governments are intensely involved in the pursuit of global city status by not only assisting with allocation of resources and implementing policies but often leading the globalizing process (Douglass 2002; Olds 1997; Park 2005). Seoul and Shanghai are considered to be growth engines for their nations. Since the 1990s, both cities have been recipients of enormous amounts of FDI which have brought not only greater affluence but also significant changes in their urban landscape. Previous studies of globalization have been mostly through economic, social or political lenses with scant attention to how the city has been affected spatially.
As cities become increasingly integrated into global networks, the spatial dimensions of the economic restructuring, migration of people, advances in communications and transportation technology associated with globalization is growing in importance. Urban spaces in the global economy act as 'transnational spaces' where the 'global' meets the 'local'. These spaces of convergence, even though located within a national territory, are as much affected by global as by local or national forces. Thus they are locally situated and yet globally oriented, embedded in the physical but not bound to it (Smith 2001, 2005). The most often cited examples for these transnational spaces are business districts, special economic zones, airports, but they also include residential areas where the transnational elite congregate to live as a community. Castells (2000: 446) writes that "the nodes of the space flow include residential and leisure-oriented spaces which, along with the location of headquarters and their ancillary services, tend to cluster dominant functions in carefully segregated spaces".
Numerous studies have investigated the impact of globalization in Seoul (Lee and Hobday 2003; Choe 2005; Shin and Timberlake 2006; Kim and Kang 2007; Hong 2008, 2009; Son 2008) and Shanghai (Olds 1997; Wu 2000, 2003; Wei and Leung 2005; Li and Wu 2006; Marton and Wu 2006; Wei et al 2006; Wu and Barnes 2008). However, in most studies the spatial aspects of the global city have been obscured by the economic dimensions of global city discourse. Only a few have actually 'located' the globalization process by showing how urban space is being physically affected. Even fewer scholars have made a connection between the increasing population of foreign migrants and their residential communities, a characteristic phenomenon of globalization, and the spatial restructuring of the cities. Concerning Seoul, Choe and Kang (2003) and Son (2008) have mapped the residential patterns of foreign residents, showing a strong correlation with their country of origin and the educational and occupational status. Kim (2006) and Kim and Kang (2007) have examined the formation of ethnic communities in the city, while Hong (2008, 2009) has written about Seoul's new urban planning strategy for a more multicultural society. Concerning Shanghai, Wang and Lau (2008) have looked at how the discourses of global competitiveness have guided the actions of the local authorities in developing the foreign enclaves in Gubei New District. This paper looks at the urban restructuring of Seoul and Shanghai to see how urban planning is used as a globalizing strategy, focusing in particular on the foreign residential communities in Seoul and Shanghai.
Global discourses and globalizing urban strategies
The results of major annual global cities ranking surveys are duly noted and commented upon in their national media in Korea and China. However, even though Seoul and Shanghai are moving steadily up the ranks, the hierarchical tendencies and the narrow criteria of these surveys have come under criticism (Robinson, 2005). Also, the fact that data are compiled and organized by different governments or organizations according to differing methodologies, time frames, categories has been pointed out (Short et al., 1996). Even so, cities have focused on 'global city indicators' for which they are evaluated, such as the number of multinational corporations, urban infrastructure and foreign population of highly skilled labor.
In the competition to become a global city, policies aimed primarily at economic growth at national, regional and local level have been implemented in Seoul and Shanghai. These include urban planning tools, such as special economic zones, redevelopment projects, urban mega developments, and residential planning for foreign communities. Even though the tools are similar, the way they have been implemented has been very different. As Friedmann (2005: 184) points out, "because planning â€¦ continues to be primarily a responsibility of the state even as it draws upon the contributions of other societal actors, it is deeply embedded in the political culture of the country and/or individual cities and, as such, is always historically grounded." Thus this section will look at the globalizing urban strategies and discourses employed by Korea and China in regards to housing their transnational elites.
The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 has transformed the attitude of the Korean government towards FDI. Until the crisis, the Korean government preferred foreign loans to foreign investments in order to maintain greater control over the economy. The crisis opened its eyes to the need for greater global competitiveness. For Korea, foreign investment by transnational companies has increased substantially since opening its market to the world. Starting from US$27.4 million in 1987, inward FDI surged to more than $3.2 billion in 1996 and continued the blistering pace to $15.2 billion in 2000 (Kim and Lee 2007: 164). The same time period saw also a significant increase in the number of transnational companies to Korea.
In the 1990s, Seoul's economy changed from being industry-based, labor-intensive to being technology-intensive, capital-centered. This was made possible by the creation of Korea's high-tech industry in the same period. The development of information and communications industries became the base for economic growth and the influx of FDI. A new international airport was built to upgrade the network infrastructure with the outside world. Greater autonomy for Seoul began with direct election of the mayor and city council, allowing for greater citizen participation in municipal administration and urban planning. At the beginning of 1990s, Korea became a host country for a large number of immigrant workers.
The increases of FDI and number of transnational companies were accompanied by an equally astonishing number of foreign migrants to Korea. The number of foreigners in Korea rose 67% from 163,664 in 1996 to 244,172 in 2000 (Korea National Statistical Office, 2007). Even though the number of foreign residents increased after Korea hosted the Asian Games (1986) and the Olympic Games (1988), the major influx began after the liberalization of the Korean economy in order to access much needed capital and know-how. Seoul has a population of over ten million. At the end of 2008, Seoul's foreign population from 152 countries exceeded 255,000 persons, accounting for 2.4% of Seoul's total population. This number is five times greater than the 51,000 foreigners living in Seoul ten years ago in 1998. By nationality, Chinese nationals, including ethnic Koreans accounted for 75.5 percent (192,618 persons), followed by the United States (12,821 persons), Taiwan (8,818 persons), Japan (6,840 persons) and Vietnam (4,652 persons). By occupation, professionals occupied 4.1 percent, while laborers were the most numerous at 58.5 percent. Seoul accounts for approximately 48% of the national population of 22.5 million people even though the city covers only 1% of the country. The number of foreign residents is outpacing the growing rate of native population, which has almost reached zero-population growth.
The foreign population grew in tandem with the increase in FDI, which has reached the highest level in nine years for the first seven months of 2009, totaling $6.79 billion. It is a 32.4 increase from $5.13 billion in 2008. Fortunately for Korea, inward foreign direct investment (FDI) by transnational companies has increased substantially since opening its market to the world. Starting from US$27.4 million in 1987, inward FDI surged to more than $3.2 billion in 1996 and continued the steep increase to $7.4 billion in 2000. The same time period saw also a significant increase in the number of transnational companies to Korea.
The Seoul city government's official vision for the future is condensed into the catch phrase of 'clean, attractive and global city,' espousing as its top priority to transform Seoul "into a city where people want to live and invest. Seoul is open to people from all over the world" (Seoul Metropolitan Government site: http://english.seoul.go.kr/db/kcp/vision2.php; accessed on Feb. 1, 2010). The motto is divided into the following five subsections: 'global city Seoul'; 'business hub in northeast Asia'; 'clean, healthy and green city'; 'cultureâ€¦ like air, like water'; and 'world design capita'. In other words, the motto embodies Seoul's future positioning as a foreigner-friendly, global city of finance with an attractive natural, cultural and creative environment. Validation of Seoul's competitiveness is found in global city rankings.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government is committed to enhancing Seoul's competitiveness and attractiveness as the world's leading business city. This commitment is showing results.
The November/December 2008 issue of Foreign Policy magazine ranked Seoul as the world's ninth leading global city, ahead of Sydney, Shanghai, Beijing, Osaka, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. In cooperation with A.T. Kearney and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Foreign Policy magazine produced this list of the top global cities. The level of business activities of Seoul was ranked the world's seventh, ahead of Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
In its 2008 edition of the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, Master Card ranked Seoul as the ninth most influential city in the global economy. This places Seoul within the ranks of the world's financial capitals such as New York, Tokyo, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris in the top 10 index.
(Seoul Metropolitan Government site: http://english.seoul.go.kr/gtk/tomorrow/vision.php; accessed Feb. 1, 2010)
Seoul is rapidly becoming a multicultural city with the foreign population expected to constitute 10% of Seoul's total population by the year 2015. At present the foreign population in Seoul has formed twenty-some distinctive international communities (Hong 2008: 2). These communities have been described as ethnic enclaves of different nationalities, which have apparently developed without any government intervention (Kim and Kang 2007). The German, Chinese and French residential communities located in Hannam-dong, Yeonnam-dong and Bangbae-dong, respectively, are the most distinctive and widely known. There was no urban strategic planning to accommodate the foreign communities in Seoul. It is only since 2007 that Seoul city government has identifies six distinctive foreign residential communities as "global villages," and has opened a community center in each area to provide useful information to foreigners.
Fig. Location of 'global zones' and 'global village centers' in Seoul
Source: Korea Times site (November 25, 2009; http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/12/117_56178.html; accessed on Feb. 11, 2010)
The globalization of Shanghai effectively began in the 1990s, when Pudong New Area was designated by the central government to spearhead the liberalization of the Chinese economy. The major objective was to turn Shanghai into "China's national financial center by 2000, Asia's regional financial hub by 2005, and a global financial center by 2010" (Wu and Barnes 2008 quoting Shi and Hamnett, 2002, 129). Shanghai's Pudong New Area, formerly a hinterland lying on the east side of the Huangpu River, was developed specifically to attract FDI (Wu and Barnes 2008). Bypassing the local government, China's central government directed the creation of a group of FDI-oriented themed zones in Pudong targeting particular industries. For example, the four development zones in Pudong include Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone, Jinqiao Export Processing Zone, Zhangjiang High Tech Park and Waigaoqiiao Free Trade Zone offer preferential treatment to foreign investors. Each zone has its own housing, shops, schools and recreational facilities. Pudong is attracting enormous amounts of FDI and the economic output (US$46.2 billion) in 2008 was almost 25% of the total for Shanghai. In May 2009, the area of Pudong New Area has more than doubled from 533ãŽ¢ to 1,210ãŽ¢ after a merger with Nanhui District.
Fig. Shanghai Metropolitan Area and the planning of Pudong New Area in the 1990s
Table Planning development divisions in Pudong New Area
Source: Modified from Wu and Barnes (2008: 368) quoting Sun et al. (1999)
Starting with less than 4% of the nation's total in the 1980s, FDI in Shanghai soared to US$1.8 billion of contracted investment in. FDI in 1993 which stood at US$3.8 billion multiplied into US$ 98.8 billion by the year 2005. The following passage is interesting, because it links Pudong development with FDI as well as multinational corporations.
The distribution of FDI in Pudong is highly centralized. The four themed zones were focal regions of FDI, and accounted for 65% of Pudong's FDI by 2004. In addition to the huge amount of FDI, globalization is highlighted by the growth of MNCs (multinational corporations), the influence of high-tech industries, and the role of innovation and knowledge. MNCs have become the most powerful change agents in the current global economy and have played a corresponding role in Pudong and Shanghai. In Pudong, there have been 734 MNC projects that invested over US$10 million each. One third of world's top 500 manufacturing giants listed by 'Fortune' established projects in Pudong. The capital input of General Motors, NEC, Kurabo, Iron and Kodak each reached US$ 1 billion. Japan, America and Germany were the main sources of investment for these projects, accounting for 82% of total projects and 96% of investment (Wu and Barnes 2008).
Fig. The growth of Pudong's FDI, 1990-2005 (Wu and Barnes 2008: 370)
Since 2005, the focus of FDI has shifted from the manufacturing sector to the service and manufacturing sector as the greater share went to the service industry. With this shift, the number of foreign-invested enterprises on the Fortune 500 list rose from 150 in 2000 to 260 in 2005, and especially the number of regional headquarters of MNCs leapt from 20 to 115 during the same period. At the same time, the number of foreign expatriates and overseas labor consisting of business owners, senior managers of multinational companies coming to Shanghai increased sharply in five years from 60,020 foreign residents in 2000 to 100,011 in 2005. Looking at their country of origin, more than a half came from the Pacific region, with a majority of Japanese and Koreans, while the population from Europe and North America also increased.
Table Number of residents from overseas countries and regions (Wang and Lau, 2008)
Soraemaul is a small 'naturally formed' French community in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu in Seoul. Its population of about 560 French people constitutes roughly 40% of the French community in South Korea. Most of them are employees of French corporations in Seoul. The village began to form in 1985, with the relocation of LHYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=L'Ecole_Francaise_de_Seoul&action=edit&redlink=1"'HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=L'Ecole_Francaise_de_Seoul&action=edit&redlink=1"Ecole Francaise de Seoul from Hannam-dong, a large international neighborhood located just north of the Han River. French families with children followed, as did bakeries and wine shops. The French population was more numerous in the 1990 when French corporations entered the Korean market. However, their numbers decreased as these corporations left the country due to project completion or lack of profitability. The 'French village' covers an area of 1.2 km2 which incorporates "Montmartre Park" (20,000 m²), often used for public events by foreigners.
Soraemaul is spread over three neighborhoods (or 'dong' in Korean) which include Banpo 4-dong, Bangbae-dong, and Bangbae 4-dong. Its population of 67,971 persons consists of 67,387 Koreans and 584 foreign nationals. The proportion of foreigners to the Korean population is 0.9%. Belying its name, Americans (156 persons) outnumber French nationals (116 persons). There are also 122 Chinese of Korean ancestry living in this area. The three nationalities make up about 76% of all foreigners from 28 countries residing in Soraemaul.
Table Population of Soraemaul (unit: persons)
Percentage of foreign nationals
Source: Seocho-gu population statistics (2008.3) in Hong 2009
Soraemaul is situated in the southeastern part of Seoul. Within a 2 km radius are located a major hospital and teaching university, two express bus terminals, one of the largest concert halls in Seoul, a major department store complex, three catholic churches and district level administrative office. With three subway stations within walking distance, it is easily accessible by public transportation. Overall, the area is close to high standard educational, health, and recreational amenities.
Socioeconomic status of Bangbae-dong and Seocho-gu; monthly rent
Fig. Distribution of foreign households in Soraemaul according to nationality
Source: Hong 2010
Integrated residential form and no visual differentiation from local Korean
Not segregated from the local Korean community
Pudong for most people wasn't considered a viable housing option. At that time, Pudong was commonly referred to the entire Shanghai area 'east of the river'. The past five years of rapid development of industry, schools and properties have now lead to Pudong becoming an extremely popular and important option for expatriates. Shanghai's expatriate families have more choices of housing than in the early 1990s when families were confined to the Western suburb of Hongqiao to find Western-style family housing. Shanghai's largest park, called 'Century Park' as well as two of the best golf courses in China - Shanghai Links and Tomson Golf are located in Pudong.
Beside the Jinqiao area, expat families in Pudong are spread around Century Avenue and Kangqiao areas. In the Century Avenue area, Seasons Villas and Regency Park are located close to the Subway Line 2. The Tomson golf course is an enormous golf course 10 minutes away from Century Park. While the majority of all residents are Asian, there are some Western expat families there. New properties, such as Golden Oscar and Palm Springs, are appearing near the Tomson compound. These typically offer enormous brand new mansions for the price of living in smaller places in Jinqiao. As these properties are privately owned, they typically attract wealthy Asian investors and have less North American and European resident demographics. Being somewhat removed from central areas in Pudong, there is no community feel outside of the gated compound itself. Shanghai Links is a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course which is located near the Pudong airport. Its main attraction is its easy access to the Shanghai American School - Pudong Campus. Otherwise it has the disadvantages of the remote location and extremely rural surrounding areas.
Fig. Location of international community in Pudong
Comprising an area of around 3 km2 in size, Jinqiao literally translated means 'golden bridge'. The area contains a relatively high proportion of foreign nationals and is notable for its large number of international schools. Jinqiao area has been developing rapidly over the last few years. As Jinqiao is a place with intensive foreign investment, many multi-national companies located their factories or R&D center in the area with many foreign area manager or employees. Recently it has become one of the most sought after areas for expatriate families with children. Currently its American, British and Japanese international schools are able to accommodate all grades and curriculum. There is also a substantial retail/leisure complex called Green City which includes a variety of shops along with popular chain bars/restaurants such as Starbucks, Bluefrog & Simply Thai.
In Jinqiao area are churches, hospitals, Carrefour, OBI, international schools and the China European International Business School (CEIBS). Many foreigners frequent Green City's the American and Italian restaurants as well as the centre's giant gym, Megafit. Jinqiao's open space, rare in other parts of the city, makes bike riding, rollerblading or impromptu sports games possible. Several golf courses, including the nearby Tomson Golf Court, are popular on the weekends. Century Park is one the city's largest parks and its formal, manicured grounds offer quiet walks and beautiful scenery. Locals and foreigners alike can rent rollerblades next to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum to move around the roads surrounding Century Park.
The district was designed to provide a comfortable living area for foreign residents with a large percentage of the houses bought or rented by foreigners. Jinqiao is a very safe area, with residents having little interaction with those outside their close-knit communities. With good living conditions, it is relatively expensive to live there. An apartment with 80 m2 (two bed rooms, one living room) costs about 1200 USD. Some 270 m2apartment costs as high as 4000 USD. There are many expat housing compounds in Jinqiao. The most popular include Vizcaya (a Spanish style compound), Green court (red brick apartment), Old Green Villas (English style houses), New Green Villas (different style houses), and Shimao Lakeside (a western style apartments and villas).
Spacious high-end villa communities like the Spanish-inspired Vizcaya Villas or the luxurious Green Villas are the most expensive in Jinqiao. The remaining residential blocks of Green City consist of mid-range apartments for locals and single foreigners. The average family villa budget in JinQiao ranges from $6,500 to $9000 USD/month. Most of the family sized high quality serviced apartments rent in the $3000 to $6000 range. Villa rents range from $6,500 to $9,000 USD/month. High-end property peaks around $13,000 USD/ month. Ten minutes south of Green City lies Tomson Golf Court with luxury villa homes around the golf course. All these developments include community centers, pools and plenty of room to run and play. Century Park offers slightly cheaper housing than central Jinqiao with smaller apartments and fewer villas.
Most of Jinqiao's properties are developer owned and quite new. Nearly all offer luxurious club facilities including swimming pools, gyms and children's play areas. Living in Jinqiao's villas means families are able to leave their compounds and walk (or bicycle) to other areas. Pudong offers wider roads, better bicycle lanes, less traffic and cleaner air quality. Unlike Puxi, Chinese culture and history is not felt here, which is a disadvantage voiced by many expats who wish to learn more about, and integrate themselves within Chinese culture.
Segregated from the local Chinese community
Segregated into Western and Asian expats areas
Physical differentiation and segregation: gated communities
Final reflections: Do exclusive foreign communities attract highly skilled foreign professionals?
Extent of segregation and congregation among foreigners
Emerging 'gated communities'
Physical differentiation and segregation from host communities
Social segregation in relation to local communities