Rapid urban expansion has radically transformed the urban landscape of Chinese cities. The new districts and the old city centre of Chinese cities have experienced different development patterns. Yet, no previous studies have systematically investigated urban form of Chinese cities at the neighbourhood level in a regional scale. With the recent availability of online mapping in China and advanced GIS techniques, we developed a new approach to measuring built environment objectively at the neighbourhood scale for Shanghai, China, to investigate the urban forms of the city. Objective built environmental attributes of neighbourhoods were measured in 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, and 800-meter buffers respectively, centred on each of the 710 public elementary schools. Statistical models were developed to predict whether a neighbourhood was located in the old city centre or new districts of Shanghai.
The results showed that, on the one hand, a divergence between the old city centre and the new districts seemed to be persistent. Neighbourhoods in the old city centre have higher residential density and are characterised with more daily routine destinations than their counterparts in the new districts in Shanghai. On the other hand, a convergence between the old and the new Shanghai has been emerged. Total street network length consistently showed a significant negative association with a neighbourhood located in the old city centre, which indicated that street layout had been transformed so much in the old city centre that neighbourhoods in the old city centre had less dense street network than their counterparts in the new districts.
Dr Lin Lin, Lecturer, Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration (SHUES), College of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University
Dr Lin Lin received her PhD in urban design and planning from University of Washington in Seattle, US. Upon her return to China a few years ago, she has been serving as a faculty member of Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration (SHUES), College of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University. Her research interests lie in conceptualizing and understanding the reciprocal relationship among the built environment, life style, and public health, with dozens of scholarly publications.