Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 513-524.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1025-7

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Dynamic mechanism and present situation of rural settlement evolution in China

ZHOU Guohua1, HE Yanhua1, TANG Chengli1, YU Tao2, XIAO Guozhen1, ZHONG Ting1   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environment Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China;
    2. Science Press, Beijing 100717, China
  • Received:2012-12-28 Revised:2013-01-31 Online:2013-06-15 Published:2013-06-15


This paper provides a detailed analysis of the factors influencing the evolution of rural settlements, including natural environmental constraints, infrastructure, regional cultural inheritance and integration, urbanization and rural industrial transformation, land use reformation and innovation, rural household behavior conversion, macro-control policy factors, and so on. Based on differences between the ways and degree of effect on rural settlement evolution, these factors are classified into basic factors, new-type factors and mutation factors. The drive of basic factors mainly focuses on the traditional inheritance of rural settlements, the new-type factors mainly affect rural settlement transition, and the mutation factors may bring about sudden changes. All these factors constitute a “three-wheel” driving mechanism for the evolution of rural settlements, and shape three typical driver paths: slow smooth path under the basic factors, new path to rapid development under the new-type factors, and the sudden change path under the mutation factors. The paper also investigates the overall situation of rural settlement evolution in the aspects of settlement system, settlement scale, settlement morphology, settlement function, settlement culture, settlement environment, etc. The general process of rural settlement evolution is divided into four stages: initial, transitional, developmental, and mature stages.

Key words: rural settlements, evolution, evolution stage, dynamic mechanism, China