The reshaping of land development density through rail transit: The stories of central areas vs. suburbs in Shenzhen, China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - rail, land use - impacts, land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density


Urban rail transit, Land development, Shenzhen, China, Urbanization, Transportation


The ways in which urban rail transit influences land development have been extensively studied for cities in the United States and Europe; studies from less-developed countries are limited. However, the influences of rail transit on land development in developing countries such as China have drawn much scholarly attention in recent years, in part due to the unprecedented speed and scale of its urbanization and development of rail systems. The main research questions of the present study are whether rail transit attracts new developments or redevelopment to areas surrounding stations and whether the city-shaping ability of rail transit differs between central areas and suburbs. Our study focused on Shenzhen, one of the most quickly urbanizing areas in China. We utilized land parcel data in Shenzhen collected in two different years and applied multiple linear regressions with interactive terms to compare the effect of rail transit stations on land development by region (i.e., central areas vs. suburbs). The evidence supported our hypothesis that the densifying of land development brought on by rail transit is more prominent in already developed central areas than in low-density suburbs. Our research findings help illuminate the interactive relationships between transportation and land development in China; this study also contributes to the broader discussion of sustainable urbanization.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.