Rowe, Peter

Chenghe Guan and Peter G. Rowe. 2021. “Beyond big versus small: assessing spatial variation of urban neighborhood block structures in high-density cities.” Socio-Ecological Practice Research, 2021. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A striking feature of urban formation has been the deployment of mega-blocks, often on the order of sixteen hectares or more. On the other hand, recent urban policies give strong suggestions for smaller and finer-grained neighborhood block and grid arrangements. This paper explores the transformation of urban block structures in high-density cities beyond spatial conditions of big versus small blocks by emphasizing “place” making through the degree of spatial diversity and flexibility. Using spatial indices of urban block arrangements, road network efficiencies and gradients of transit network accessibility, the assessment on urban neighborhood block structure is applied to territories of central core, suburban and peripheral development in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen at multiple spatial scales. The results show that the overall efficiency and flexibility of urban block structures becomes more a matter of a narrowing of the range of differing block sizes among the three territories and a concomitant higher potential capacity for adaptation to a broader range of development options. Beyond the Chinese context, in high-density cities across the globe, policies on place making should adopt a multi-scale spatial analysis strategy to measure the configuration of the overall urban block structure and guide the transformation of the city.
Chenghe Guan and Peter Rowe. 2020. “Multi-criteria locational analysis for retail development in small towns.” In The Geography of Mobility, Wellbeing and Development: Understanding China’s Transformations through Big Data, 1st ed., Pp. 220. London: Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract



Big data is increasingly regarded as a new approach for understanding urban informatics and complex systems. Today, there is unprecedented data availability, with detailed remote-sensed data on the built environment and rich mineable web-based sources in the form of social media, web mapping, information services and other sources of unstructured "big data". 

This book brings together a group of international contributors to consider the geographical implications of mobility, wellbeing and development within and across Chinese cities through location-based big data perspectives. The degree of urban sprawl, productive density and vibrancy can be reflected from location-based social media big data. The challenge is to identify, map and model these relationships to develop cities at different places in the urban hierarchical system that are more sustainable. This edited book aims to tackle these issues through two inter-related geographical scales: inter-city level and intra-city level.

The text is designed for graduate courses in planning, geography, public policy and administration, and for international researchers who are involved in urban and regional economics and economic geography.

Chenghe Guan and Peter Rowe. 2017. “In pursuit of a well-balanced network of cities and towns: A case study of the Changjiang Delta Region.” Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science, 48, 3, Pp. 1-19. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Development of urban networks of cities and towns has received attention including discussions of tensions between population concentrations and overlaps with environmentally sensitive and disaster-prone areas. Moreover, certain development in broad regions of China, such as its deltas, has become a subject of debate. Contrary to some assumptions, this development within places like the Changjiang Delta (also known as the Yangtze River Delta) has proceeded in a relatively incremental manner. However, at this juncture, controlled development of larger cities, like Shanghai, has shifted to more conventional urbanization pathways forward involving larger city expansions. Nevertheless, further urban growth management appears to depend on development and maintenance of a well-balanced network of large, medium, and small-scaled cities and towns. An important aspect of this development involves definition of the Changjiang Delta region itself, and in particular, alongside its likely further economic performance. To these ends, a scenario-based Cellular Automata model of spatial distribution is deployed, reflecting separate thematic projections. A baseline for economic performance is developed, incorporating measures of fixed-asset investment in urban service, revenue from urban maintenance, and Gross Domestic Product. Revelation of a well-performing network involves spatial distribution of development at various scales, and in various concentrations within the region, moreover, location of this development, largely perpendicular to well-travelled corridors, appears as a preferable outcome, contrary to earlier depictions along the major transportation corridors.