Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 545-558.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1186-7

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial differences and driving forces of land urbanization in China

Xueqin LIN1(), Yang WANG2,3,*(), Shaojian WANG4,5, Dai WANG4   

  1. 1. College of Resources Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
    2. Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070, China
    3. Guangdong Open Laboratory of Geospatial Information Technology and Application, Guangzhou 510070 China
    4. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    5. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2014-08-18 Accepted:2015-02-06 Online:2015-05-15 Published:2015-06-24
  • Contact: Yang WANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Lin Xueqin, PhD, specialized in urban and regional development.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401164, No.41430636;The Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZZD-EW-06


Land urbanization plays an important supporting and restriction role in the rapid and sustainable development of urbanization in China, and it shows distinctive spatial heterogeneity. Applying urban area as the basic research unit and urban construction land area as the core indicator, this paper establishes the conceptual framework and calculation method for the quantity and rate of land urbanization process. The study evaluates the spatial differentiation pattern of absolute and relative process of land urbanization in 658 cities in China from 2000 to 2010. The spatial distribution of cities with rapid land urbanization process is discussed, and the contribution rate and its spatial heterogeneity of major land use types are examined with the aid of GIS. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) Land urbanization in China shows a clear spatial difference. The greater the city scale, the faster its land urbanization. The cities with rapid land urbanization show a significant pattern of central distribution in coastal regions and a scattered distribution in the inland regions. (2) Over the last 10 years, the average quantity of land urbanization in the 656 cities was 3.82 km2, the quantity of land urbanization is differentiated by administrative grade. The average rate of land urbanization was 6.89%, obviously faster than the speed of population urbanization. The rate of land urbanization reveals a pattern of differentiation between coastal and other cities. (3) In the past 10 years, the two primary land use types associated with land urbanization in China are residential and industrial, with a combined contribution rate of 52.49%. The greater the scale of the city, the more significant the driving effect of industrial land. In small- and medium-scale cities of the western and central regions, the growth of residential land is the primary driver of land urbanization, while in coastal urban agglomerations and cities on important communication axes, the growth of industrial land is the main driver. (4) Overall, urban population agglomeration, industrial growth and investment are the three drivers of land urbanization in China, but cities of different scales have different drivers.

Key words: land urbanization, urban construction land, urban area, the driving force for land urbanization, China