Shanghai Metropolitan Area: A Comparative Analysis of the Circular Subdivisions between Shanghai and New York from the Perspective of Global City-Region


  • Zhuoxin Li Tongji University


Metropolitan area, Circle structure, Global city, Global city-region, Regional coordination




As the development of globalization and regionalization enters a new stage, the city has become the main body of resources integration and the basic unit of driving both development and competition, with its spatial form transforming from a single city to an urban region. In 2017, the "Shanghai Master Plan 2017-2035" formally put forward the brand-new objective of building Shanghai into an "excellent global city", meanwhile calling for carrying important national strategies and requirements through metropolitan areas from a regional perspective. Five years from then, the "Spatial Collaborative Plan of Greater Shanghai Metropolitan Area" was officially released to the public. Echoing the master plan, the spatial collaborative plan set its goal as building an "excellent global city region", which will implement China’s new dual-circulation development pattern and the national strategy for the integrated regional development of the Yangtze River Delta.

Throughout all the major global cities, as early as the 1920s, New York had become the most urbanized one and begun to compile regional plans and bring them into force under the guidance of the Regional Plan Association, eventually achieving the status of a leading global city and improving regional quality and competitiveness. Now, a century later, in the aspects of geographical location, regional energy level, urban system and industrial structure, remarkable similarities unexpectedly show between New York and Shanghai, both of which play a leading role in their global city-regions and represent their countries in international competition.

Being guided by the objective of building Shanghai into an excellent global city and an excellent global city-region, and taking into account New York's regional planning experience that has been optimized four times and the significant similarities to the Shanghai metropolitan area, this paper takes Shanghai as the research object and New York as the reference object. By dividing both of the metropolitan areas into four circles, and conducting comparative analysis one by one in terms of leadership ability, resource flow and regional collaboration, this paper examines the potential development issues of the Shanghai metropolitan area by identifying the differences in planning strategies and development levels of each circle between the two, and comes up with targeted suggestions for further optimization of Shanghai metropolitan area from the perspective of global city-region.


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