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The Making of a Sustainable Wireless City? Mapping Public Wi-Fi Access in Shanghai

Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
Department of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Department of Geography, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9155, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Giuseppe Ioppolo
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 111;
Received: 14 October 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2016 / Published: 26 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development)
PDF [2788 KB, uploaded 26 January 2016]


In the context of the global information economy, ready access to the Internet is critical to a city’s competitiveness, which has prompted a number of cities to launch plans to establish wireless networks. Most literature on the development of wireless cities focuses on cities in Western countries, and few have discussed how Chinese cities have adopted wireless technologies in their urban infrastructure development efforts. This paper examines recent development and spatial distribution of public Wi-Fi access in Shanghai, a leading business hub in China. We mapped Wi-Fi hotspots through the government sponsored “i-Shanghai” project and China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC). We find that while telecommunication providers have been proactively deploying WLAN (wireless local area network,a proxy of public Wi-Fi or wireless access) hotspots in Shanghai, neither government sponsored WLAN hotspots nor facilities established by CMCC could cover the old traditional neighborhoods in the central city and sub-districts in remote rural areas. We also address the development of a more sustainable wireless city in Shanghai with a particular focus on digital divide and social equity issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wi-Fi; wireless cities; GIS spatial analysis; digital divide; China Wi-Fi; wireless cities; GIS spatial analysis; digital divide; China

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Wang, M.; Liao, F.H.; Lin, J.; Huang, L.; Gu, C.; Wei, Y.D. The Making of a Sustainable Wireless City? Mapping Public Wi-Fi Access in Shanghai. Sustainability 2016, 8, 111.

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