Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (8): 1113-1126.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1545-2

• 研究论文 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal patterns in urbanization efficiency within the Yangtze River Economic Belt between 2005 and 2014

Gui JIN1,2,3(), Xiangzheng DENG2, Xiaodong ZHAO1,4, Baishu GUO1,3,*(), Jun YANG5   

  1. 1. Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. Center for National Land Space Management, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    4. Hubei Province Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental Response, Wuhan 430062, China
    5. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2018-01-18 Accepted:2018-02-28 Online:2018-08-10 Published:2018-12-26
  • Contact: Baishu GUO;
  • About author:

    Author: Jin Gui (1986-), Associate Professor, specialized in land resources evaluation and land management. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41501593, No.41601592;National Program on Key Research Project, No.2016YFA0602500


The question of how to generate maximum socio-economic benefits while at the same time minimizing input from urban land resources lies at the core of regional ecological civilization construction. We apply stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) in this study to municipal input-output data for the period between 2005 and 2014 to evaluate the urbanization efficiency of 110 cities within the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB) and then further assess the spatial association characteristics of these values. The results of this study initially reveal that the urbanization efficiency of the YREB increased from 0.34 to 0.53 between 2005 and 2014, a significant growth at a cumulative rate of 54.07%. Data show that the efficiency growth rate of cities within the upper reaches of the Yangtze River has been faster than that of their counterparts in the middle and lower reaches, and that there is also a great deal of additional potential for growth in urbanization efficiency across the whole area. Secondly, results show that urbanization efficiency conforms to a “bar-like” distribution across the whole area, gradually decreasing from the east to the west. This trend highlights great intra-provincial differences, but also striking inter-provincial variation within the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The total urbanization efficiency of cities within the lower reaches of the river has been the highest, followed successively by those within the middle and upper reaches. Finally, values for Moran’s I within this area remained higher than zero over the study period and have increased annually; this result indicates a positive spatial correlation between the urbanization efficiency of cities and annual increments in agglomeration level. Our use of the local indicators of spatial association (LISA) statistic has enabled us to quantify characteristics of “small agglomeration and large dispersion”. Thus, “high- high” (H-H) agglomeration areas can be seen to have spread outwards from around Zhejiang Province and the city of Shanghai, while areas characterized by “low-low” (L-L) patterns are mainly concentrated in the north of Anhui Province and in Sichuan Province. The framework and results of this research are of considerable significance to our understanding of both land use sustainability and balanced development.

Key words: urbanization efficiency, stochastic frontier analysis, spatial autocorrelation analysis, spatiotemporal patterns, Yangtze River Economic Belt