Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (7): 857-878.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1410-8

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Location patterns of urban industry in Shanghai and implications for sustainability

Weidong CAO1(), Yingying LI1,*, Jianquan CHENG2,3(), MILLINGTON Steven3   

  1. 1. College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241003, Anhui, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Beibu Gulf Environmental Change and Resources Utilization under Ministry of Education, Guangxi Teachers Education University, Nanning 530001, China
    3. School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5GD, UK
  • Received:2016-11-22 Accepted:2017-01-22 Online:2017-07-10 Published:2017-07-10
  • Contact: Yingying LI;;
  • About author:

    Author: Cao Weidong, PhD and Professor, specialized in industrial geography. E-mail:;

    *Corresponding author: Cheng Jianquan, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571124


China’s economy has undergone rapid transition and industrial restructuring. The term “urban industry” describes a particular type of industry within Chinese cities experiencing restructuring. Given the high percentage of industrial firms that have either closed or relocated from city centres to the urban fringe and beyond, emergent global cities such as Shanghai, are implementing strategies for local economic and urban development, which involve urban industrial upgrading numerous firms in the city centre and urban fringe. This study aims to analyze the location patterns of seven urban industrial sectors within the Shanghai urban region using 2008 micro-geography data. To avoid Modi?able Areal Unit Problem (MAUP) issue, four distance-based measures including nearest neighbourhood analysis, Kernel density estimation, K-function and co-location quotient have been extensively applied to analyze and compare the concentration and co-location between the seven sectors. The results reveal disparate patterns varying with distance and interesting co-location as well. The results are as follows: the city centre and the urban fringe have the highest intensity of urban industrial firms, but the zones with 20-30 km from the city centre is a watershed for most categories; the degree of concentration varies with distance, weaker at shorter distance, increasing up to the maximum distance of 30 km and then decreasing until 50 km; for all urban industries, there are three types of patterns, mixture of clustered, random and dispersed distribution at a varied range of distances. Consequently, this paper argues that the location pattern of urban industry reflects the stage-specific industrial restructuring and spatial transformation, conditioned by sustainability objectives.

Key words: urban industry, industrial location pattern, co-location quotient, K-function, Shanghai