Consumption-led mobilized urbanism: socio-spatial separation in the second-home city of Sanya

Yue Fang Wu, Hong Gang Xu, Alan A. Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Abstract: Tourism and recreational second-home development has increased rapidly in peripheral and lower tier cities of China in recent years. While tourism-led real estate development has been widely accepted as an effective investment opportunity, it can increase urban segregation and stratification. This pattern is seen in the resort city of Sanya on Hainan Island, China. Sanya’s recreational second homes vary in form and can be categorized into (1) elite-vacation second homes (short stay, private homes), (2) lifestyle-migration second homes (short stay, commercial homes), and (3) retirement-migration second homes (longer term, seasonal homes). Unlike the segregated cities formed by displaced labor migrants in many of China’s cities, seasonal recreational migrants are both economically better-off and are emerging as a dominant political force. The segregated residential spaces created by Sanya’s second-home development landscape further limits interaction and social network building between indigenous local residents and part-time recreational migrants. The perceived home space and feelings of place attachment towards Sanya is under drastic change, with locals feeling increasingly displaced. The new mosaic of consumption-led amenity cities in developing economies is one where traditional models of migration-based segregation are reversed. Wealthier second-home migrants have the capacity for more political power than local residents, as well as relying more on non-localized social networks and multi-nodal home spaces. Consumption-led mobility is an important determinant in building explanations of socio-spatial segregation and stratification in global cities that are undergoing dramatic development change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-154
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Amenity destinations
  • China
  • Consumption-led migration
  • Hainan
  • Sanya
  • Seasonal migrants
  • Second home
  • Socio-spatial differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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