GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (10): 2075-2086.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201810015

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Urban geography research in the e-society: A perspective from human activity

Bo WANG1,2(), P. Y. LOO Becky1,2(), Feng ZHEN3,4   

  1. 1.Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    2.Shenzhen Institute of Research and Innovation, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    3.School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
    4.Jiangsu Provincial Engineering Laboratory of Smart City Design Simulation & Visualization, Nanjing 210093, China;
  • Received:2018-04-05 Online:2018-10-20 Published:2018-10-20
  • About author:

    Author: Shi Zhenqin (1988-), PhD, specialized in regional development and land space management in mountain areas. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Deng Wei (1957-), Professor, specialized in mountain environment and regional development.



Overall, the academic research and government/media reports regarding the development of e-society mainly focus on technological progress. The ubiquitous influence of information and communication technology (ICT) on people and the society, however, is largely ignored. The fact is that a multitude of ICT has been penetrated into almost every sphere of people's daily life in the e-society, which exists in their everyday e-activities/physical activities experience. Therefore, the impact of ICT on people and the society, as the key to the understanding of e-society, has emerged in people's e-activities/physical activities experience. Urban geographers have devoted much attention to investigation of the virtual-physical space and e-activities-physical activities relationships and their potential (or actual) effects on the evolution of urban spatial development. Based on a review of spatial-temporal activity literature, this paper points out that the e-activities-physical activities relationship has gone beyond the simple substitution-generation relation. And the virtual and physical space which bear the e-activities and physical activities have interrelated complicatedly, which is far beyond the assumed virtual-physical space dichotomy. This complicated interrelationship has further challenged our traditional understanding of the place and mobility in the physical space and reshaped the orders and rules of virtual space. Furthermore, the exploration beyond the virtual-physical dualism which is stemmed from the technological determinism also highlights the important role of urban geographers in analyzing and guiding the development of e-society. Unlike developed countries where informatization lags behind urbanization, China experiences the rapid urbanization and informatization simultaneously. The research on the interrelationship between physical space and virtual space through human activities/e-activities not only contributes to enriching the literature with new cases but also provides empirical insights for sustainable urbanization in the e-society.

Key words: e-society, e-activity, physical activity, virtual-physical space dichotomy, technological determinism