Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (11): 1923-1946.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1697-8

• Review Article • Previous Articles    

Important progress and future prospects for studies on urban public recreational space in China

YU Ling1,2,3, LIU Jiaming1,2,*(), LI Tao4,5   

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, 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
    3.Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
    4.School of Geographic Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    5.Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2018-07-12 Accepted:2018-11-12 Online:2019-11-25 Published:2019-12-05
  • Contact: Jiaming LIU
  • About author:Yu Ling (1992–), PhD Candidate, specialized in the research of urban tourism, tourism geography, planning and design of recreational space. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41071110)


As the main sites of urban residents’ recreational activity in a mass leisure era, urban public recreational space (UPRS) is the primary component of urban public spatial systems. To satisfy current demands for the construction of livable cities and to meet the challenges of UPRS development in an urbanizing context, a scientific and systematic review of the latest developments in UPRS research is important for developing this field. Based on 1264 papers from the China National Knowledge Internet and the Web of Science from 1985 to 2018, this study examined research developments on UPRS in China. Through a quantitative literature analysis, we divided UPRS-related research in China into three stages of development: the starting period (1985-2000), the growth period (2001-2009), and the consolidation period (2010-2018). Next, we identified nine “hot” research topics on UPRS and reviewed developments in each of these. These topics were the classification of UPRS, spatial structure and layout, comprehensive evaluation, planning and development, the impacts of UPRS development, spatial-temporal evolution laws and mechanisms, space imagery features, sustainable utilization, and governmental decision making on UPRS. We also systematically reviewed the research methods and spatial scales used in UPRS-related studies in China. In response to deficiencies in existing research, we put forward several suggestions regarding future research: Chinese UPRS studies should focus on basic theoretical research; construct a new research system that accounts for Chinese characteristics, based on interdisciplinary and multilevel spatial integration; develop a humanistic philosophy and build management systems for UPRS that can lead to the development of world-class cities based on a global vision.

Key words: era of mass leisure, urban tourism, urban public recreational space, quantitative analysis, China