Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 3-22.doi: 10.1007/s11442-021-1930-0

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A review of the balance of regional development in China from the perspective of development geography

DENG Xiangzheng1,2,3(), LIANG Li1,2,3, WU Feng1,2, WANG Zhenbo4, HE Shujin1   

  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. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2021-08-18 Accepted:2021-10-30 Online:2022-01-25 Published:2022-03-25
  • About author:Deng Xiangzheng, PhD and Professor, specialized in natural resource management, global change and regional sustainable development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771568);Social Development Science and Technology Project of Chaoyang District, Beijing, China(CYSF1906)


Large regional differences and uneven regional development are fundamental challenges for China. Balanced regional development is an important issue in research on development geography. This study reviews the course of balanced regional development in China and summarizes its characteristics in each period. The results show that inter-regional development in China has undergone successive periods of balanced and unbalanced development. Each period has enhanced social development and contributed to a more balanced regional development. This paper discusses the scientific connotation of balanced regional development, and invokes sustainable development theory to argue that we should pay attention to the differences in resource endowments among regions, and solves the imbalance among the economy, humans, and nature to promote the spatial balance of regional development and green development for better coordination between economy and ecology. The balanced promotion of the well-being of people in each region is the ultimate goal of balanced regional development. We then use concepts from development geography to examine China’s path of balanced regional development from the three perspectives of society, the economy, and ecology. Suggestions are also provided for the balanced development of China’s regions and the improvement of public well-being.

Key words: regional development, balanced development, high-quality development, development pathways, development geography