Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (8): 1152-1166.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1547-0

• 研究论文 • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Urban land expansion and its driving factors of mountain cities in China during 1990-2015

Ziwei WANG1,2(), Changhe LU1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-10-17 Accepted:2018-02-08 Online:2018-08-10 Published:2018-12-26
  • Contact: Changhe LU;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Ziwei, PhD Candidate, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Key R&D Plan of China, No.2017YFA0604701;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671093


Land expansion of mountain cities in China is not systematically studied yet. This study identified 55 major mountain cities at and above prefecture level, and analyzed the land expansion characteristics and driving forces, based on visually interpreted data from TM images in 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2015. From 1990 to 2015, total built-up land area of the mountain cities increased by 3.87 times, 5.56% per year. The urban land growth was apparently accelerated after 2000, from 4.35% per year during 1990-2000 increased to 6.47% during 2000-2010 and 6.2% during 2010-2015. Compared to the urban population growth, the urban land expansion rate was 44% higher. As a result, the urban land area per capita increased, but it was still within the government control target, and also was much lower than the average of all cities in China. Urban development policy, changes to administrative divisions, GDP and population growth, and road construction were identified as the major driving forces of land expansion. Terrain conditions were not found a relevance to the urban land expansion rate during 1990-2015, but had a significant impact on the layout and shape, and also probably on the urban land efficiency.

Key words: mountain cities, urban land expansion, driving forces, elastic coefficient, city compactness