Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (8): 1381-1395.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1665-3

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evolution and driving forces of rural functions in urban agglomeration: A case study of the Chang-Zhu-Tan region

TAN Xuelan1,2, OUYANG Qiaoling1, AN Yue1, MI Shengyuan1, JIANG Lingxiao1, ZHOU Guohua2,*()   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environment, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128, China
    2. Department of Resources and Environment Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
  • Received:2018-09-05 Accepted:2018-11-28 Online:2019-08-25 Published:2019-12-13
  • Contact: ZHOU Guohua
  • About author:Tan Xuelan (1978-), PhD and Associate Professor, specialized in rural geography and regional development. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No.41571168);Key Project of Philosophy and Social Science Foundation of Hunan Province(No.18ZDB015)


As the Rural Revitalization Strategy is gradually implemented, China’s rural areas are set to have more diverse function requirements. This paper selects the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan region (Chang-Zhu-Tan) consisting of 23 county-level units) as a case study and looks at its economic development, agricultural product supply, social security and ecological service functions during 1996-2016. It then constructs an index system to evaluate the temporal evolution of the region’s rural functions. SPSS 19.0 and DPS 7.05 software, as well as Pearson’s correlation coefficient analysis, system clustering, optimal segmentation of ordered samples and other methods, are used to study the evolution traits, regional differentiation characteristics and driving forces of rural functions in the region. The results show, first of all, that the overall evolution trend is increasing in functions with periodic characteristics, the key nodes being 2000 and 2008. Second, there is clear geographical differentiation in the evolution of rural functions. The economic development function shows rapid growth in the urban agglomeration’s center and relatively weak growth at the periphery; the agricultural product supply function and ecological service function are concentrated in county-level units with abundant cultivated and forest land; and the social security function displays similar geographical differentiation to the economic development function. Overall, there is an obvious discrepancy in the degree of development of rural functions among county-level units of the Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan urban agglomeration; the rural functions of the agglomeration and peripheral county-level units have different development traits; and county-level units display functional differentiation. Third, rural functions have evolved as a result of interactions between various factors, such as natural resources, socio-economic conditions and local transport conditions. The new driving forces caused by urbanization are ultimately leading the evolution of rural functions toward multi-functional comprehensive development.

Key words: rural functions, sequential evolution, regional differentiation, driving forces, rural revitalization, Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan