Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (3): 437-455.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1852-x

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Research progress and prospect on development geography

DENG Xiangzheng1,2,3(), JIN Gui4, HE Shujin1, WANG Chengxin5, LI Zhaohua6, WANG Zhanqi7, SONG Malin8, YANG Qingyuan9, ZHANG Anlu10, CHEN Jiancheng11   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. School of Economics and Management, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    5. School of Geography and Environment, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250358, China
    6. Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    7. School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    8. School of Statistics and Applied Mathematics, Anhui University of Finance and Economics, Bengbu 233030, Anhui, China
    9. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    10. College of Land Management, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
    11. School of Economics and Management, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2020-11-22 Accepted:2021-01-05 Online:2021-03-25 Published:2021-05-25
  • About author:Deng Xiangzheng, PhD and Professor, specialized in natural resource management, global change and re-gional sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771568)


In this paper, we review the research progress in development geography since the 20th century, focusing on its connotation and theory, fields, methods, and development trends. Specifically, we systematically review the research and applications of development geography, comprising fields such as the convergence of underdeveloped countries and regions, and the convergence of the process of improving the quality of life in developed countries and regions. Then, based on an analysis of research progress in development geography in foreign countries, we examine the development conditions and disciplinary advantages of development geography in China. Further, we highlight that future development geography research in China should focus on the latest international academic research and China’s national macro-strategic needs. Future research in development geography should be guided by the theory of sustainable development, the core of which is to improve sustainable livelihood capacity and regional green development levels in underdeveloped regions. This core includes the construction of industrial policy and development geography theory, as well as an interdisciplinary integrated research system. The focus must be placed on researching the spatial patterns, diffusion characteristics, and the convergence mechanism of regional development. Such a focus will facilitate exploration of the regulatory policies and scientific paths that serve regional economic construction and industrial development.

Key words: development geography, development paths, sustainable development, growth convergence, regional development, environmental sustainability