Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (10): 1185-1208.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1430-4

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Quantitative estimation and spatial reconstruction of urban and rural construction land in Jiangsu Province, 1820-1985

Jinyuan XIE1,*(), Xiaobin JIN1,2(), Yinan LIN1, Yinong CHENG3, Xuhong YANG1, Qing BAI2, Yinkang ZHOU1,2   

  1. 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Natural Resources Research Center of Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. School of History and Archives, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
  • Received:2017-03-04 Accepted:2017-03-30 Online:2017-10-25 Published:2017-09-06
  • Contact: Jinyuan XIE;
  • About author:

    Author: Xie Jinyuan (1991-), MS Candidate, specialized in land resource and management. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Jin Xiaobin (1974-), specialized in land use and land planning. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41340016, No.41671082


Land cover is the most evident landscape signal to characterize the influence of human activities on terrestrial ecosystems. Since the industrial revolution, the expansion of construction land has profoundly changed the status of land use coverage and changes. This study is proposed to reconstruct the spatial pattern of construction land (urban construction land and rural settlement land) for five historical periods over the past 200 years in Jiangsu Province with 200 m × 200 m grids on the basis of quantitative estimation. Urban construction land is estimated based on data about city walls, four gates along walls, and other socio-economic factors. Rural settlement land is calculated based on the rural population and per capita housing allowance. The spatial pattern of historical construction land is simulated based on the distribution of modern construction land in 1985 with a quantitative-boundary- suitability control method and thorough consideration over connectivity of different land use types. The study concludes that: (1) the amount of construction land in Jiangsu Province is estimated at 963.46 km2 in 1820, 1043.46 km2 in 1911, 1672.40 km2 in 1936, 1980.34 km2 in 1952 and 10,687.20 km2 in 1985; and (2) the spatial distribution of construction land features the great proclivity to water bodies and main roads and the strong polarization of existent residence. The results are verified directly and indirectly by applying the trend verification of construction land changes and patterns, the correlation analysis between rural settlement land and local arable land, and quantitative accuracy test of the reconstructed construction land to actual historical survey maps covering four sample regions in 1936.

Key words: construction land, reconstruction, grid, past 200 years, Jiangsu