Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 749-761.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1625-y

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Multi-dimensional expansion of urban space through the lens of land use: The case study of Nanjing City, China

Weifeng QIAO1,2,4(), Junbo GAO2,3, Yuanzhi GUO2,5,*(), Qingqing JI1, Ju WU1, Min CAO1,4   

  1. 1. School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. School of Geographic Sciences, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang 464000, Henan, China
    4. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    5. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-07-11 Accepted:2018-12-19 Online:2019-05-25 Published:2019-04-19
  • Contact: Yuanzhi GUO;
  • About author:

    Author: Qiao Weifeng (1975-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in land use, urban-rural development and the application of GIS and remote sensing. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41871178, No.41671385, No.41371172


The study of multi-dimensional expansion of urban space (MEUS) addresses the laws of urban spatial expansion from all directions and angles. Using Nanjing as an example, this paper constructs multi-temporal, urban three-dimensional models based on RS and GIS technology and then conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis of MEUS using plot ratio change maps and MEUS quantitative index for built-up areas. Based especially on the concept of volume growth contribution rate, this paper analyzes the characteristics of MEUS in different stages. The results show that in 2000-2004, planar expansion played the main role, the internal potential development (IPD) intensity of the urban built-up areas was relatively large, and the volume growth contribution rate was low; in 2004-2008, planar expansion accelerated, and IPD slowed down; in 2008-2012, planar expansion slowed while IPD intensity increased; the contribution rates of volume growth of urban IPD for the three periods were 22.21%, 24.51% and 73.38%, respectively. This study expands the research perspective of urban spatial expansion, and the adopted methods are instructive and meaningful for MEUS research. In addition, the results of this study will deepen the understanding of MEUS laws and help improve scientific decision-making for urban planning and urban land use management.

Key words: urban land use, plot ratio change map, multi-dimensional expansion, volume growth contribution rate, Nanjing