Urban Vulnerability Analysis Based on Micro-Geographic Unit with Multi-Source Data—Case Study in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China

Jianghua Zheng, Danlin Yu, Chuqiao Han, Zhe Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study introduces a novel approach to urban public safety analysis inspired by a streetscape analysis commonly applied in urban criminology, leveraging the concept of micro-geographical units to account for urban spatial heterogeneity. Recognizing the intrinsic uniformity within these smaller, distinct environments of a city, the methodology represents a shift from large-scale regional studies to a more localized and precise exploration of urban vulnerability. The research objectives focus on three key aspects: first, establishing a framework for identifying and dividing cities into micro-geographical units; second, determining the type and nature of data that effectively illustrate the potential vulnerability of these units; and third, developing a robust and reliable evaluation index system for urban vulnerability. We apply this innovative method to Urumqi’s Tianshan District in Xinjiang, China, resulting in the formation of 30 distinct micro-geographical units. Using WorldView-2 remote sensing imagery and the object-oriented classification method, we extract and evaluate features related to vehicles, roads, buildings, and vegetation for each unit. This information feeds into the construction of a comprehensive index, used to assess public security vulnerability at a granular level. The findings from our study reveal a wide spectrum of vulnerability levels across the 30 units. Notably, units X1 (Er Dao Bridge) and X7 (Gold Coin Mountain International Plaza) showed high vulnerability due to factors such as a lack of green spaces, poor urban planning, dense building development, and traffic issues. Our research validates the utility and effectiveness of the micro-geographical unit concept in assessing urban vulnerability, thereby introducing a new paradigm in urban safety studies. This micro-geographical approach, combined with a multi-source data strategy involving high-resolution remote sensing and field survey data, offers a robust and comprehensive tool for urban vulnerability assessment. Moreover, the urban vulnerability evaluation index developed through this study provides a promising model for future urban safety research across different cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3944
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Urumqi Tianshan District
  • micro-geographic unit
  • multi-source data
  • urban public safety
  • urban public safety
  • urban vulnerability
  • vulnerability assessment


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