Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Review on the Development of Underground Shopping Mall in China

Academic journal article Studies in Sociology of Science

Review on the Development of Underground Shopping Mall in China

Article excerpt


With ease of international relations and boost of comprehensive national strength, the guiding principle for utilization of underground space has taken shape to combine the demand in peace and in war, and benefit common people. In recent years, the development and utilization of urban underground space resource in China experienced the process of focusing on construction of civil defense underground projects, and is gradually moving onto the track of combining urban redevelopment and construction.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao recently proposed to actively promote the joint development of civil air defense construction and economic development, and adhere to the combination of civil air defense construction and the urban construction. In Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other large cities, expansion of underground space has become a hot topic for the commercial real estate developers.

China's underground shopping malls are derived from civil air defense projects, and development along with urban construction (Qian & Chen, 1997).It has gradually transformed from one with a very high degree of government intervention into a more market system. Lack of effective planning and a transparent approval mechanism has led to high vacancy rate in many underground shopping centers.


With the further development of urban underground space and use of underground construction, more and more underground malls appear constantly in China. In the past 30 years, the development scale of China's urban underground shopping malls is very huge. The total scale of China's underground shopping malls has increased

from 4.6 million square meters in 2003 to 8.49 million square meters in 2010.the annual growth rate is about 7.5%.


Harbin, Shanghai and Guangzhou rank as the top 3 cities where underground shopping malls are mostly located. In terms of geographic extension, cities located in the North and Northeast China, such as Harbin, Beijing, Changchun, Shenyang and Dalian, are believed to be the dominant region where underground shopping malls are located. East China follows in the 2nd rank with Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan and Nanjing being the primary areas of underground shopping centers. In South China, Mid China and Southeast China, Guangzhou has the largest number of underground malls. (Euromonitor, 2008)


Economic development with GDP growth and rapid development of transportation infrastructure will boost the demand for China's underground shopping malls.

According to the experience of developed countries, when GDP per capita income is between 500 and 1000 US dollar, underground space utilization tends to occur; when GDP per capita income is between 1000 and 2000 US dollar, urban underground spaces can become relatively common place in central urban areas; and when the annual per capita income exceeds 2000 US dollar, urban underground space utilization can reach a high level (Qian, 2001; Chen and Wang, 2005). China's GDP per capita has increased to RMB27652 (approximately 4197 US dollar) in 2010. China has the economic strength to develop and use underground space on a large-scale.

The development speed of urban rail transit in China is unprecedented and ranks first in the world. It is reported that there are 22 cities in which the urban rail transit planning have been approved and the fund invested on it will exceed 0.882trillion RMB before 2020.At present; there are 79 rail lines under construction in the country. According to plan, the number of rail lines will reach 158 and the total mileage will be more than 4189 km in 2015. By 2025, up to 170 new mass transit systems will be built in China, implying better connectivity to suburban areas. It is predicted that more shopping centers will be built to serve these new suburban communities. …

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