Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 131-151.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1464-2

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Spatial restructuring and land consolidation of urban-rural settlement in mountainous areas based on ecological niche perspective

Zhaowu YU1(), Lishan XIAO2, Xiji CHEN2, Zhichao HE3,*, Qinghai GUO2, Henrik VEJRE1   

  1. 1. Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen 1958, Denmark
    2. Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, CAS, Xiamen 361021, Fujian, China
    3. School of Geographic Sciences, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350100, China
  • Received:2017-02-03 Accepted:2017-04-18 Online:2018-02-10 Published:2018-02-10
  • Contact: Zhichao HE
  • About author:

    Author: Yu Zhaowu (1990-), PhD Candidate, specialized in studies on urbanization and urban thermal environment effect. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41301621;Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences and National Scholarship Committee


With the socio-economic development associated with urbanization, the urban-rural relationship has changed across the world. In China, due to the urban-rural dual structure, these changes turn out to be more complicated. Spatial restructuring are suggested as the main strategies and spatial supporting platforms for urban-rural development. However, the theory still lacks solid methodology and support from systematic empirical studies. This study seeks an adequate scientific methodology and discusses the difference of urban-rural transformation in plains and mountainous areas. A case in Shanghang County, China, demonstrates: 1) The compound ecological niche model can be a suitable approach in urban-rural restructuring, especially in mountainous areas. 2) The urban-rural development area with highly inappropriate, slightly appropriate, moderately appropriate, and highly appropriate areas are 1273.2 km2 (44.69%); 906.1 km2 (31.80%); 509.4 km2 (17.88%); and 160.1 km2 (5.62%), respectively. 3) The “deserting villages” in mountainous areas play positive synergistic roles in urbanization, in contrast to the “hollowing villages” common in plain areas. 4) The central town-village will become the most important settlement in mountainous areas. Therefore, we suggest more attention should be paid to environmental capacity in the construction of central town-villages. This study significantly extends the understanding of “hollowing village” theory and regional planning.

Key words: spatial restructuring, ecological niche, urban-rural settlement, deserting village, hollowing village, central town-village