Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2021, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 1328-1348.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1895-z

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Climate change and multi-dimensional sustainable urbanization

CHEN Mingxing1,2(), XIAN Yue1,2, WANG Pengling3,4,*(), DING Zijin1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resource and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. National Climate Centre, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China
    4. Lanzhou Regional Climate Center, Lanzhou 730020, China
  • Received:2021-02-19 Accepted:2021-07-08 Online:2021-09-25 Published:2021-11-25
  • Contact: WANG Pengling;
  • About author:Chen Mingxing (1982-), PhD and Professor, specialized in urbanization and regional sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41822104);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42042027);The Chinese Academy of Sciences Basic Frontier Science Research Program from 0 to 1 Original Innovation Project(ZDBS-LY-DQC005);The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23100301);The Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(2017072)


Global large-scale urbanization and climate change have become indisputable scientific facts yet are unresolved issues, and are a common concern for mankind. The relationship between these two topics is unclear and it is not known how to deal appropriately at the scientific level with climate change in the process of urbanization. Further exploration of the science, management and practice, are needed to achieve global and regional sustainable development. This paper first considers the basic facts concerning mass urbanization and climate change and summarizes the interactions and possible mechanisms of urbanization and climate change. Urbanization leads to the heat island effect, an uneven distribution of precipitation and extreme weather, together with a local-regional-global multi-scale superposition effect, which aggravates the consequences of global climate change. The impact of climate change on urbanization is mainly manifested in aspects such as changes of energy consumption, mortality, and the spread of infectious diseases, sea level rise, extreme weather damage to infrastructure, and water shortages. This paper also briefly reviews relevant international research programs and action coalitions and puts forward an analysis framework of multi-dimensional sustainable urbanization which can adapt to and mitigate climate change, from the perspective of the four key dimensions—population, land use, economy, and society. It is imperative that we strengthen the interdisciplinary activities involving the natural and social sciences, take urbanization and other human activities into consideration of the land - atmosphere system, and explore the human-land-atmosphere coupling process. The adaptation and mitigation from the perspective of human activities, as represented by urbanization, might be the most critical and realistic way to deal with climate change.

Key words: sustainable urbanization, global change, interaction, human-land-atmosphere coupling, land- atmosphere coupling, adaptation and mitigation