Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 549-566.doi: 10.1007/s11442-013-1028-4

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Visual simulation of regional development differentiation in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region

LIU Yanhua1,2, XU Yong1, GUO Tengyun1, WANG Zhiqiang1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-07-30 Revised:2013-01-10 Online:2013-06-15 Published:2013-06-15


Regional development differentiation is a complicated spatial and temporal dynamic process. Recent developments in spatial statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have led to an increasing interest in quantitative analysis and visualization of the process. However, so far, few direct connections have been made between the newly developed methods and classic spatial development theories, which would be very helpful for the interpretation and understanding of regional spatiotemporal differentiation. Using basic concepts and academic principles of polarized growth theory and gradient transfer theory, this paper quantifies the concept of regional development space. It then proposes a method based on GIS to visually simulate and analyze regional development spatiotemporal differentiation through a case study of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region (BTHMR), China. The main research results are as follows. 1) The proposed method, built on classic theories and well-developed GIS technology, presents a good picture of regional development spatiotemporal differentiation. 2) The levels of regional development, in terms of per capita GDP across BTHMR, diminished significantly with increased distances away from city propers (which can be seen as the regional growth poles), leading to the appearance of development valley zones between different cities. The development valley zones between each city coincided with their boundary areas, which indicates that administrative boundaries have some impact on regional development, if the regional division is based on administrative boundaries. 3) From 1993 to 2007, the development level in the whole BTHMR improved significantly, of which polarized growth was dominant, especially for Beijing and Tianjin. However, as the two economic development engines in BTHMR, the pull effects of both Beijing and Tianjin on their peripheral areas were comparatively weak, except for those on Tangshan. 4) The structure and pattern of gradient transfer and balanced development in the BTHMR had not been completely developed yet, and the sustained polarized development of the regional economy in BTHMR was still going to be the main trend in the next 5-10 years.

Key words: regional development, spatiotemporal differentiation, visualization Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region