Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1364–1374 | Cite as

Urban transformation of a metropolis and its environmental impacts

A case study in Shanghai
  • Zhan Tian
  • Guiying Cao
  • Jun Shi
  • Ian McCallum
  • Linli Cui
  • Dongli Fan
  • Xinhu Li
Urbanization in China and its Environmental Impact



The aim of this paper is to understand the sustainability of urban spatial transformation in the process of rapid urbanization, and calls for future research on the demographic and economic dimensions of climate change. Shanghai towards its transformation to a metropolis has experienced vast socioeconomic and ecological change and calls for future research on the impacts of demographic and economic dimensions on climate change. We look at the major questions (1) to explore economic and demographic growth, land use and land-cover changes in the context of rapid economic and city growth, and (2) to analyze how the demography and economic growth have been associated with the local air temperature and vegetation.


We examine urban growth, land use and land-cover changes in the context of rapid economic development and urbanization. We assess the impact of urban expansion on local air temperature and vegetation. The analysis is based on time series data of land use, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and meteorological, demographic and economic data.

Results and discussion

The results indicate that urban growth has been driven by mass immigration; as a consequence of economic growth and urban expansion, a large amount of farmland has been converted to paved road and residential buildings. Furthermore, the difference between air temperature in urban and exurban areas has increased rapidly. The decrease of high mean annual NDVI has mainly occurred around the dense urban areas.


Urbanization Rural to urban migration Urban land use change Vegetation index (NDVI) Shanghai 



This work was supported by National Science Foundation of China (No. 40801043, 40921140410, 40901031, 41001283 and 70933005) and Shanghai Municipal Natural Science Foundation (09ZR1428800). We thank Haizhen Mu and Qingping Yu, Shanghai Climate Center and Laixiang Sun, London University for their contributions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhan Tian
    • 1
  • Guiying Cao
    • 2
  • Jun Shi
    • 1
  • Ian McCallum
    • 2
  • Linli Cui
    • 3
  • Dongli Fan
    • 4
  • Xinhu Li
    • 5
  1. 1.Shanghai Climate Center, Shanghai Meteorological BureauShanghaiChina
  2. 2.International Institute for Apply System AnalysisLaxenburgAustria
  3. 3.Shanghai Center for Satellite Remote Sensing and Application, Shanghai Meteorological BureauShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Shanghai Institute of TechnologyShanghaiChina
  5. 5.Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina

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