Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2022, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (3): 499-516.doi: 10.1007/s11442-022-1958-9

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Model construction of urban agglomeration expansion simulation considering urban flow and hierarchical characteristics

WANG Haijun1,2(), WU Yue1(), DENG Yu3,*(), XU Shan4   

  1. 1. School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems, Ministry of Education, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. College of Land Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
  • Received:2021-08-17 Accepted:2022-01-05 Online:2022-03-25 Published:2022-05-25
  • Contact: DENG Yu;
  • About author:Wang Haijun (1972‒), PhD, specialized in geographic simulation, territorial spatial planning and land resource evaluation research. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171411);Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS(2019055)


Since the launch of China’s reform and opening up policy, the process of urbanization in China has accelerated significantly. With the development of cities, inter-city interactions have become increasingly close, forming urban agglomerations that tend to be integrated. Urban agglomerations are regional spaces with network relationships and hierarchies, and have always been the main units for China to promote urbanization and regional coordinated development. In this paper, we comprehensively consider the network and hierarchical characteristics of an urban agglomeration, while using urban flow to describe the interactions of the inter-city networks and the hierarchical generalized linear model (HGLM) to reveal the hierarchical driving mechanism of the urban agglomeration. By coupling the HGLM with a cellular automata (CA) model, we introduced the HGLM-CA model for the simulation of the spatial expansion of an urban agglomeration, and compared the simulation results with those of the logistic-CA model and the biogeography-based optimization CA (BBO-CA) model. According to the results, we further analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed HGLM-CA model. We selected the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in China as the research area to conduct this empirical research, and simulated the spatial expansion of the urban agglomeration in 2017 on the basis of urban land-use data from 2007 and 2012. The results indicate that the spatial expansion of the urban agglomeration can be attributed to various driving factors. As a driving factor at the urban level, urban flow promotes the evolution of land use in the urban agglomeration, and also plays an important role in regulating cell-level factors, making the cell-level factors of different cities show different driving effects. The HGLM-CA model is able to obtain a higher simulation accuracy than the logistic-CA model, which indicates that the simulation results for urban agglomeration expansion considering urban flow and hierarchical characteristics are more accurate. When compared with the intelligent algorithm model, i.e., BBO-CA, the HGLM-CA model obtains a lower simulation accuracy, but it can analyze the interaction of the various driving factors from a hierarchical perspective. It also has a strong explanatory effect for the spatial expansion mechanism of urban agglomerations.

Key words: urban flow, hierarchical characteristics, cellular automata, driving mechanism, spatial expansion, urban agglomeration, middle reaches of the Yangtze River