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Accessibility analysis of protestant churches in Shanghai, China

  • Kun Zhang
  • Songlin ZhangEmail author


Geographical accessibility is closely related to people’s daily lives and has been extensively studied. One understudied area is the accessibility of churches that provide for the spiritual needs of a large number of people. Based on census data, this paper explores the geographical accessibility of Protestant churches in the inner city of Shanghai, the largest metropolis in China. Two spatial research methods, the two-step floating catchment area and the raster catchment overlay methods, are used to examine church accessibility. To determine the church catchment, this study established a 40-min public transportation radius. A WebGIS API is utilized to obtain the real transit time between the designated locations. The results show that 97% of the people living in inner cities, or approximately 10.39 million people, can travel to at least one church within 40 min via public transportation. The downtown area enjoys very good accessibility, and there are many places of worship for adherents to choose from there. Very poor accessibility (beyond 40 min) was found in the peripheral area, located mainly near the mouth of the Huangpu River and the southeast corner of the Outer Ring of Shanghai. This study could be of great significance for urban planners in considering religious services in traffic planning and for the site selection of churches.


Protestant church Accessibility 2SFCA method Shanghai 



This study was funded by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant Number 2017ECNU-HWFW028) and the Shanghai Municipal Natural Science Foundation (19ZR1459700).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Geographic Information ScienceEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.College of Surveying and Geo-InformaticsTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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