Climate and Environmental Change

Measuring urban sprawl in Beijing with geo-spatial indices

  • 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China|
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China

Received date: 2007-01-20

  Revised date: 2007-04-15

  Online published: 2007-12-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40571056; Sustentation Fund on Doctoral Thesis from Beijing Science and Technology Committee, No.ZZ0608


Concerning about the rapid urban growth in recent China, this study takes Beijing as a case and puts forward that urban sprawl can be measured from spatial configuration, urban growth efficiency and external impacts, and then develops a geo-spatial indices system for measuring sprawl, a total of 13 indicators. In order to calculate these indices, different sources data are selected, including land use maps, former land use planning, land price and floor-area-ratio samples, digitized map of the highways and city centers, population and GDP statistical data, etc. Various GIS spatial analysis methods are used to spatialize these indices into 100m×100m cells. Besides, an integrated urban sprawl index is calculated by weight sum of these 13 indices. The application result indicates that geo-spatial indices system can capture most of the typical features and interior differentia of urban sprawl. Construction land in Beijing has kept fast growing with large amount, low efficiency and disordered spatial con-figuration, indicating a typical sprawling tendency. The following specific sprawl features are identified by each indicator: (1) typical spatial configuration of sprawling: obvious fragmenta-tion and irregularity of landscape due to unsuccessful enforcement of land use planning, unadvisable pattern of typical discontinuous development, strip development and leapfrog development; (2) low efficiency of sprawl: low development density, low population density and economic output in newly developed area; and (3) negative impacts on agriculture, en-vironment and city life. According to the integrated sprawl index, the sprawling amount in the northern part is larger than that in the southern, but the sprawling extent is in converse case; most sprawling area include the marginal area of the near suburbs and the area between highways, etc. Four sprawling patterns are identified: randomly expansion at urban fringe, strip development along or between highways, scattered development of industrial land, leapfrog development of urban residence and industrial area.

Cite this article

JIANG Fang, LIU Shenghe, YUAN Hong, ZHANG Qing . Measuring urban sprawl in Beijing with geo-spatial indices[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2007 , 17(4) : 469 -478 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-007-0469-z