Assessing Urban Public Safety via Indicator-Based Evaluating Method: A Systemic View of Shanghai

Danlin Yu, Chuanglin Fang, Dan Xue, Jingyuan Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The explosive development of urban Shanghai after China's economic reform in 1978 has attracted wide attention. There are a plethora of studies attempting to capture the fast dynamics in this global city. Looking into the urban dynamics from a public safety perspective, however, eludes the current literature. Urban public safety has become a primary concern of urban sustainability in recent years due to escalated potential loss if urban public safety is severely breached. This is even more so for megacities like Shanghai. Assessing the current status of urban public safety hence becomes an imperative task for urban sustainability. This research initiates a detailed assessment effort through building a relatively comprehensive set of public safety indicators. Four general aspects of Shanghai's urban public safety are identified, i.e., urban development, urban crime and instability, urban housing and livability, and urban disasters. From officially published data, field survey and interviews, 34 individual indicators are chosen. Principal component analyses are conducted for each of the four aspects, and a synthetic urban public safety index is derived. The analysis suggests that urban Shanghai's public safety is gradually increasing due primarily to continuous economic success and increased investment in public safety preparation, education, and prevention. The assessment index is also shown to be able to capture major events affecting Shanghai's public safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Indicator system
  • Shanghai
  • Urban public safety
  • Urban public safety index


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