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25 JAN 2024 (THU) 12:05 - 12:25

Updated: Jan 30

Capability, Connectivity and Diversity: Re-emphasising the Importance of Place in the E-society

Mr LI Zhixuan

(Supervisor: Prof Becky P Y Loo)


Since the last century, the digital revolution has consistently changed our daily lives. However, the substantial disparities in ICT access and usage across different places cannot be overlooked. To better comprehend this phenomenon, geographers have made significant contributions to discussions on the importance of place in the e-society. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that the concept and characteristics of the e-society are evolving. Understanding the characteristics of different stages of the e-society and consistently thinking about the importance of place at multiple spatial scales is necessary.


This thesis aims to explore and re-emphasise the importance of place at different spatial scales in the e-society. It is organized based on the three sub-topics in terms of capability, connectivity and diversity. There are three main research objectives: 1) to develop a framework to explore whether spatial innovation capability is still closely associated with local development in the e-society; 2) to evaluate and compare how physical and virtual characteristics of places affect their connectivity; 3) to analyse the local diversity from the perspective of the relationship between virtual and physical activities.


To achieve research objective 1, the first project uses more than two decades of patent data to measure three different types of electric vehicle (EV) innovation capacity at the regional level in the United States, Europe and China. It builds a Panel Vector Autoregression (PVAR) model to examine the relationships between three types of EV innovations with various locational factors related to natural resources, industrial structure, and talents. Then, the second project attempts to measure city size in virtual space using search engine data and compares it in a gravity model with population and GDP in fitting intercity travel in China at the national and regional levels. For the last objective, the third project focuses on the difference between disadvantaged places and other places in the relationship between people’s mobile phone use and physical travel characteristics.

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