Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (5): 549-567.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1285-0

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Measuring the sustainable urbanization potential of cities in Northeast China

Shiwei LIU1(), Pingyu *ZHANG1(), Zheye WANG2, Wenxin LIU1, Juntao TAN1   

  1. 1. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS, Changchun 130102, China
    2. Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240, USA
  • Received:2015-07-14 Accepted:2015-12-10 Online:2016-05-25 Published:2016-05-25
  • About author:

    Author: Liu Shiwei (1986-), PhD and Assistant Professor, specialized in regional development and agricultural geography. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Zhang Pingyu (1966-), PhD and Professor, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571152, No.41301111, No.41201159, No.71541021;Science and Technology Association Decision-making Advisory Project of Jilin Province, No.KX2015002


Sustainable urbanization is not only an important research topic in the field of urbanization, but also the development direction of new-type urbanization. In this paper, we construct an index system to evaluate sustainable urbanization potential with the entropy method. Results show that potential values of sustainable urbanization in most cities are not high. Cities with higher sustainable urbanization potential values are mainly located in the central part of Northeast China. Environmental potential of sustainable urbanization is the main contributor to sustainable urbanization potential in Northeast China. There is no absolute relationship between city size and potential value, large city does not always mean greater potential. Correlation analysis shows that urbanization rate cannot reflect the sustainable urbanization potential of a region. Population urbanization is not the ultimate goal of sustainable urbanization. Unilateral pursue urbanization rate cannot improve the potential of sustainable urbanization. Towards sustainable urbanization, governments in Northeast China should revitalize local economy, pay more attention to the rural areas and develop low-carbon economy or ecological economy. Finally, this paper highlights the importance of choosing more integrated methodology or new models for measuring sustainable urbanization potential in view of the shortcomings of one method.

Key words: sustainable urbanization potential, entropy method, Northeast China