It is widely known that neighborhoods are increasingly being differentiated and that there is a growing inequality in urban China (He et al., 2010 ; Li and Huang, 2006 ). Thirty years ago, China was a relatively homogenous society with fairly equal housing conditions and most urban residents were exposed to rather similar urban environments. The housing reform of 1998 brought about many changes, which have signifi cantly shaped the urban environment and the social geography of cities. Already at the turn of the century, Wang and Murie ( 2000 ) forecasted that spatial differentiation would occur according to differentiated areas related to construction periods. These newly divided cities show unprecedented level of diversity and heterogeneity in residential urban spaces (Wu, 2010b ; Wu and He, 2005 ).