Orginal Article

Measuring the sustainable urbanization potential of cities in Northeast China

  • LIU Shiwei , 1 ,
  • *ZHANG Pingyu , 1 ,
  • WANG Zheye 2 ,
  • LIU Wenxin 1 ,
  • TAN Juntao 1
  • 1. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS, Changchun 130102, China
  • 2. Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44240, USA

Author: Liu Shiwei (1986-), PhD and Assistant Professor, specialized in regional development and agricultural geography. E-mail:

*Corresponding author: Zhang Pingyu (1966-), PhD and Professor, E-mail:

Received date: 2015-07-14

  Accepted date: 2015-12-10

  Online published: 2016-05-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571152, No.41301111, No.41201159, No.71541021

Science and Technology Association Decision-making Advisory Project of Jilin Province, No.KX2015002


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


Sustainable urbanization is not only an important research topic in the field of urbanization, but also the development direction of new-type urbanization. In this paper, we construct an index system to evaluate sustainable urbanization potential with the entropy method. Results show that potential values of sustainable urbanization in most cities are not high. Cities with higher sustainable urbanization potential values are mainly located in the central part of Northeast China. Environmental potential of sustainable urbanization is the main contributor to sustainable urbanization potential in Northeast China. There is no absolute relationship between city size and potential value, large city does not always mean greater potential. Correlation analysis shows that urbanization rate cannot reflect the sustainable urbanization potential of a region. Population urbanization is not the ultimate goal of sustainable urbanization. Unilateral pursue urbanization rate cannot improve the potential of sustainable urbanization. Towards sustainable urbanization, governments in Northeast China should revitalize local economy, pay more attention to the rural areas and develop low-carbon economy or ecological economy. Finally, this paper highlights the importance of choosing more integrated methodology or new models for measuring sustainable urbanization potential in view of the shortcomings of one method.

Cite this article

LIU Shiwei , *ZHANG Pingyu , WANG Zheye , LIU Wenxin , TAN Juntao . Measuring the sustainable urbanization potential of cities in Northeast China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2016 , 26(5) : 549 -567 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-016-1285-0

1 Introduction

Humanity today is experiencing a massive urbanization. According to United Nations’ latest research, more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas today and percentage of urban population will continue to grow and will rise to 67% by 2050 (United Nations, 2012). Urbanization brings many benefits, such as economies of scale, richer market structures, jobs, recreation, health and education improvement (Bloom et al., 2008). However, rapid urbanization also brings many serious problems, such as irreversible land-cover changes, biodiversity loss, environment degradation, congestion, widening gap between rich and poor (Grimm et al., 2008; Bloom et al., 2008). These problems pose barriers to the achievement of sustainable development. Consequently, humanity today needs to find a way combat these problems. As an important component of sustainable development, sustainable urbanization was put forward by the UN-Habitat/DFID in the “Sustainable Urbanization - Achieving Agenda 21” report, and they emphasized that “Without sustainable urbanization, sustainable development cannot be achieved” (UN-Habitat/DFID, 2002). Since then sustainable urbanization has been gradually accepted and recognized by governments and academic circles. Many countries, such as United States, China and Rwanda have held international conference on sustainable urbanization. Sustainable urbanization has therefore become a hot topic among governments, public, and scholars.
Northeast China used to be the largest old industrial base in China. Since the central government implemented the strategy of revitalizing the old industrial base of Northeast China in 2003, urbanization rate has increased steadily in this region. In 2013, the proportion of the urban population in Northeast China reached 59.35%. However, its traditional urbanization is not sustainable. Regional urbanization rate still grows slowly (Zhang, 2013). The industrial structure of this region is dominated by heavy industry, leading to a lack of endogenous motivation in urbanization development (Zang et al., 2013). Resource-based cities are still in transition. Contradiction of urban labor supply and demand is outstanding which lead to a high unemployment rate (Li et al., 2010). Big cities are not growing at a smart way, land urbanization growth rate is faster than that of the population urbanization (Sun et al., 2013). More and more rural people migrate to urban areas, but they do not have the same rights as the urban citizen (Long et al., 2009). Urbanization quality is poor and infrastructure is severely deficient in some cities (Liu et al., 2007). As an important aspect of promoting sustainable development, sustainable urbanization will be very helpful to the revitalization of Northeast China. In this paper, we take cities in Northeast China as a case study area and evaluate sustainable urbanization potential of this region. The result may enrich researches on sustainable urbanization and provide some suggestions for Northeast China.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: the next section introduces the literature review of sustainable urbanization. Section 3 briefly describes the case study area. Section 4 introduces the data source, indicator system and methodology. Section 5 reports the empirical results, and the final section reaches certain conclusions.

2 Literature review

2.1 Sustainable urbanization

Sustainable urbanization is the development of the sustainable development theory. Since the UN-Habitat/DFID (2002) released the sustainable urbanization report, sustainable urbanization gradually attracted scholars’ attention. Pivo (1996) believed that sustainable urbanization should follow six basic principles: compactness, completeness, conservation, comfort, coordination, and collaboration. Drakakis-Smith and Dixon (1997) introduced a synthesized framework to understand the connotation of sustainable urbanization from the perspectives of demographic, social, economic, political, and environmental performances. UN-Habitat/DFID (2002) concluded that “Sustainable urbanization” is a dynamic and multi- dimensional process covering economic, social, environmental and political-institutional sustainability. Roy (2009) contended that sustainable urbanization is urbanization process that fulfills the principles of sustainable development.
In recent years, remote sensing technology, cellular automata model, SLEUTH model and other advanced methods have been used to monitor the impact of urbanization on environment (Dewan and Yamaguchi, 2009; Irwin et al., 2009; Jantz et al., 2003). As to the development strategy, Holden (2004) suggested four models of sustainable urban form, namely “urban sprawl”, “the green city”, “large (monolithic) compact city” and “decentralized concentration”, with the model of decentralized concentration more conducive to sustainability. Verma et al. (2013) believed high-speed rail can promote the growth of mega-cities, and strengthen the links between medium-sized cities and small cities. Enserink and Koppenjan (2007) suggested that meaningful public participation is very helpful in sustainable urbanization policy making. Zhu and Simarmata (2015) indicated that for governance sustainable urbanization the key to ending of spatial dichotomy of social classes in Indonesia lies in the collection action.
Domestic research on sustainable urbanization synchronized with the international. Especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, sustainable urbanization has become a hot topic of government departments and scholars. Niu (2009) depicted the target of sustainable urbanization is to realize population, resource and environment coordinated with each other and promote the unity of city and countryside. Shen and Zhou (2014) provided a method to examining the effectiveness of indicators for guiding sustainable urbanization. Zhu (2014) constructed an index system to evaluate the level of sustainable urbanization in Heilongjiang. Shen et al. (2015) introduced a hybrid Entropy- McKinsey Matrix method for evaluating sustainable urbanization. Zhang (2015) proposed a roadmap for effective acquisition and sharing of sustainable urbanization experiences to support the decision making processes.

2.2 Sustainable urbanization potential

Potential is the inherent strength or ability that did not play out. Currently potential researches are focusing on the potential for regional sustainable development, enterprise development potential as well as the tourism potential, and study on sustainable urbanization potential or the potential of urbanization is still relatively insufficient. In research content, foreign scholars focused on the potential of the individual elements of advancing urbanization, and mainly about the economic potential (Ma et al., 2009). Such as Romer (1990), Arrow (1962) and Florida (1995) considered the factors of production (such as capital and labor) are factors that determine the economic potential of the region.
Chinese scholars emphasized integrated urban potential factors. He (1992) constructed an urbanization potential factor index system from economy, social and ecological aspects. Liu and Sun (2007) established an index system by population, the number of students in the school, urban industrial output, foreign investment, and per capita savings for studying the potential of rural urbanization in Heilongjiang Province. For the sustainable urbanization strategy, Fang and Ma (2013) suggested China should adjust industrial structure, intensive land use and narrow the urban-rural gap. Chen et al. (2015) studied the relationship between urbanization and economic development, and emphasized that it is important to optimize the spatial organization. Wang et al. (2011) pointed out that future development of Northeast China should focus on urban agglomeration organization structure. While Yi et al. (2015) emphasized that the prerequisite for new urbanization in Northeast China is to promote the coordinated development of industrialization, urbanization, agricultural modernization and informationization.
The above discussions show that scholars have introduced various methods and ways to guide the practice of sustainable urbanization. However, few studies have addressed sustainable urbanization potential which denotes the capability of a region developing in a sustainable way in future. To reach sustainable urbanization, it is important to evaluate the sustainable urbanization potential of a region, and the result will be very helpful to policy makers to develop scientific policies.

3 Study area

The study area, located in Northeast China, includes 36 prefecture-level cities, bordered to the north and west by Russia and Mongolia and to the south-east by North Korea (Figure 1). It used to be the largest industrial base in China, and developed after the founding of New China owing to its abundant natural resources, unique development history and geopolitical relations with the Soviet Union. It was the national center of heavy industry and served as the engine of national reconstruction in the 1950s. In 2013, gross regional product has reached 5444.2 billion yuan in this region, accounting for 9.6% of the country’s total. Population has reached 109.8 million and about 59.35% of the population living in urban areas.
Figure 1 The study area of Northeast China

4 Material and methods

4.1 Data source

The data used in this paper are from various publications of Liaoning Statistical Yearbook 2006-2011, Jilin Statistical Yearbook 2006-2011, Heilongjiang Statistical Yearbook 2006-2011, China City Statistical Yearbook 2006-2011, China Statistical Yearbook for Regional Economy 2006-2011, and China County Statistical Yearbook 2011.

4.2 The index system

UN Habitat/DFID (2002) suggested that sustainable urbanization is a dynamic, multi-dimensional process including economic, social and environmental sustainability. Therefore, sustainable urbanization potential is also a multi-dimensional concept including economic, social and environmental potential. Sustainable urbanization potential is the capability of a region’s development in a sustainable urbanization way in future. Compared with the urbanization quality, sustainable urbanization potential emphasize more the dynamic of urbanization, competitive ability, innovation ability, coping ability and sustainable development ability of a region.
Economic potential of sustainable urbanization describes the ability of promoting economic sustainability in the process of urbanization. Urbanization is the result of push-pull force of cities and rural areas. In order to ensure the continued urbanization progress, cities must develop urban economy to create more jobs and also rural areas should develop rural economy to release more agricultural labors. The urbanization progress cannot be made at the expense of the interests of any party, otherwise it will cause many serious urban-rural problems which may not conducive to social stability. Therefore, the economic potential of sustainable urbanization includes three parts: urban economic development capability, rural economic development capability and balance ability (equity between urban and rural development).
Social potential of sustainable urbanization describes the ability of promoting social sustainability in the process of urbanization. Government is a very important factor to promote social sustainability. Function of the government in the urbanization process includes: providing enough infrastructure and public services, offering basic social security and promoting the development of science and cultural undertakings. Therefore, social potential of sustainable urbanization can be described by government’s social security ability, public infrastructure supply ability and culture and technology support ability.
Environmental potential of sustainable urbanization denotes the ability of promoting environmental sustainability in the process of urbanization. The environmental potential of sustainable urbanization not only depends on regional ecological carrying capacity, but also regional resource conservation ability and environmental protection ability.
Based on the studies of Meine and Zhang (2005), Lu et al. (2003), Niu (2012), and Shen et al. (2012, 2014, 2015), we constructed a hierarchical system of indicators to understand sustainable urbanization potential from economic potential of sustainable urbanization, social potential of sustainable urbanization and environmental potential of sustainable urbanization (Table 1), the detailed information about ideas and choice of indicators see Liu (2014). A list of all indicators is given in Appendix. Each component consists of several subcomponents and indicators in levels IV and V.
Table 1 Indicator system for measuring sustainable urbanization potential
System index
(Level I)
Subsystem index (Level II) Components index
(Level III)
Subcomponents index
(Level IV)
(Level V)
Economic potential
of sustainable
Urban economic
Economic growth capability; 4
Elements gathering capability; 3
Global capability; 3
Innovation capability. 2
Rural economic
Agricultural modernization level; 3
Rural industrialization level. 3
Balance ability Fiscal balance; 2
Investment balance; 2
Urban-rural integration level. 2
Social potential
of sustainable
Government’s social
security ability
Financial security; 3
Personal security. 2
Public infrastructure
supply ability
Medical services supply; 2
Transportation supply capability; 3
Water and electricity supply capability. 2
Culture and technology
support ability
Technology supportive; 2
Culture supportive. 2
potential of
carrying capacity
Water resources carrying capacity; 1
Land carrying capacity. 1
protection ability
Greening capability; 2
Waste treatment capability. 5
Resource conservation
Resource efficient use capability; 2
Waste utilization capability. 2

4.3 Weighting method

During the process of evaluating the composite index, it is necessary to calculate relative weights for each indicator. In practice, weights can be either subjective or objective. Since the measurement of sustainable urbanization potential involves many aspects of a city, it is difficult to decide the actual importance or weight of each indicator by subjective judgment. In this paper, we choose an objective method to calculate the weights of indicators. Entropy method is an objective weighting method which could eliminate the subjective favor of valuator (Chen et al., 2010). It was used in the social sciences on a wide scale to measure the uncertainty of system. In general, the value of information entropy is lower, the system is more unbalanced, the difference is greater, and the change is sooner; so, the weight of the index is higher. Conversely, the weight of the index is lower. The main calculation steps of entropy method are as follows:
(1) Data standardizing: when the index value is greater, the system is more advantageous. The positive calculation method was used.
Conversely, the negative calculation method was used.
(2) Calculating the proportion of index j in city i:
(3) Calculating the information entropy of index:
(4) Calculating the redundancy of information entropy:
(5) Calculating the weighting of index:
(6) Calculating the value of single index evaluation:
(7) Calculating the value of comprehensive evaluation in city i:
where X represents the value of index j in city i. Min{Xj} and max{Xj} express respectively the minimum and the maximum of index j. In addition, m is the number of city, and n is the number of index.

4.4 Integrated assessment

Since the potential of sustainable urbanization includes economic potential of sustainable urbanization, social potential of sustainable urbanization and environmental potential of sustainable urbanization, and each layer of the system is equally important. This paper adopts the above method to calculate the entropy of each system layer, the weights listed in Appendix. The final score for city i is:
Pi = SiE + SiS + SiEn (9)
where Pi is the integrated potential value of city i, SiE is the economic potential value of city i, SiS is the social potential value of city i, SiEn is the environmental potential value of city i.

5 Results and discussion

5.1 Economic potential of sustainable urbanization

Economic potential of sustainable urbanization varies among different cities (Figure 2). Dalian got the highest score (0.8070), followed by Shenyang (0.5331), Harbin (0.3518), and Changchun (0.3464). Qitaihe, Hegang, and Yichun got lower scores, and the highest score of Dalian is 9.6 times higher than the lowest score of Yichun. Results of the components index shows that the most competitive city is Dalian, followed by Shenyang, Changchun and Harbin. Economic potentialities of these cities are strong, which have a strong attraction to the floating population. Because these cities can offer more job opportunities, higher labor remuneration, good education resources and other aspects that the small and medium-sized cities cannot provide. This result is consistent with the trend of population movement in Northeast China (Liang et al., 2013). Along with the development of urbanization, the massive floating populations move to the large cities and the mega-cities. Globalization capability and regional innovation capability are two main factors influencing the urban economic development capability. Dalian, Yingkou, Shenyang, and Dandong have a strong rural development capability. The level of agricultural modernization in these cities was relatively high, which was 0.1015, 0.1332 and 0.0497, respectively. The values of urban and rural balance ability index present a different scenario. Cities with higher urban economic development capability, such as Harbin, Shenyang and Changchun got lower scores in urban and rural balance ability index. Take Changchun for example, per capita fixed assets investment in municipal district is 5 times of non-municipal district, per capita expenditure in municipal district is 2.7 times of non-municipal district and annual per capita disposable income of urban households is 2.7 times of rural households. Therefore, eliminating gap betwwen urban and rural will be an important issue to be resolved in Northeast China.
Figure 2 Economic potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China
Proportion of components index in prefecture-level cities is shown in Figure 3. For most of cities, urban economic development capability is the main contributor of the economic potential of sustainable urbanization value (Figure 3). This result is consistent with Gan et al. (2015) study, who found the main power source of urbanization in Northeast China is economic growth. Toward sustainable urbanization, the priority target of Northeast China is to revitalize local economy, promote economy transformation in resources cities and old urban industrial areas, optimize industrial structure, foster new industries, and establish a diversified modern industrial system (Wang et al., 2008). The second is to promote regional economic cooperation, increase investment for technology and education, and enhance regional innovation capacity. The ultimate goal is to form a healthy urban economy that can generate work opportunities for the growing urban population and promote the urbanization progress. Economic potential of sustainable urbanization is the resultant force of urban economic development capability, rural development capability, and the urban and rural balance ability. Governments should take advantage of agricultural resources in Northeast China, support rural development, and promote urban and rural balance in future.
Figure 3 Proportion of components index in economic potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China

5.2 Social potential of sustainable urbanization

Social potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China is shown in Figure 4. Among the 36 cities at the prefecture level, Dalian (0.6180), Shenyang (0.5646), Daqing (0.5200), Anshan (0.4059), Changchun (0.3740) and Harbin (0.3567) are the top six cities of social potential value in Northeast China. On the other hand, Qitaihe, Yichun, and Suihua are the bottom three cities. The maximum is 4.87 times of the minimum score. Results of the components index shows that Baicheng gets the highest score in the government’s social security ability, followed by Siping and Anshan. These cities spend more financial expenditures on education, social security and employment and health care than other cities. Such as Baicheng, the registered urban unemployment rate is 2.2% and proportion of the population under the minimum living guarantee line only accounts for 2.92%, which are lower than those of many other cities. Dalian got the highest score in the public infrastructure supply capability, followed by Daqing and Shenyang. These cities with good geographic conditions and stronger economic strength can spend more money on transportation and medical services. Water supply capacity in Anshan, Benxi and Mudanjiang is relatively strong, so these cities obtained relatively high public infrastructure service capability scores. Figure 5 shows the proportion of components index for social potential of sustainable urbanization. Most of the prefecture-level cities in Liaoning Province have high public infrastructure supply ability, hence the major contributors of their social potential of sustainable urbanization scores. While results of social potential of sustainable urbanization in Heilongjiang and Jilin are mainly affected by government’s social security ability and public infrastructure supply ability, contributions of culture and technology support ability of the two provinces are relatively low.
Figure 4 Social potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China
Figure 5 Proportion of components index in social potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China
Unemployment in cities dependent on old heavy industries was particularly severe, and the lack of effective training and other labor market mechanisms suited to the market economy made the problems worse (Ding, 2005). So the priority target of improving social sustainability in the urbanization progress is to strengthen social security systems and promote local employment by means of providing reliable infrastructure and services, such as energy supply, transport, communications and water supply, and making sure each person have equal access to equal quality urban services.

5.3 Environmental potential of sustainable urbanization

Cities with higher scores of environmental potential are concentrated in the central part of Northeast China (Figure 6). Tonghua (0.6429) ranked first in environmental potential, followed by Daqing (0.5682), Changchun (0.5502), Fushun (0.5288), Tieling (0.5261) and Dalian (0.5087), respectively. Qiqihar, Hegang, Baicheng and Chaoyang are the bottom four cities. The highest value of Tonghua is 2.7 times of the minimum value. Results of the components index show that high score ecological carrying capacity cities are concentrated in the western Songnen and Sanjiang plains. As the national environmental protection model cities in China, Dalian, Fushun, Daqing, and Shenyang have high environmental protection ability. These cities have a strong pollutant treatment capability and greening capability, and they do pretty good in executing environmental requirements. Tonghua, Changchun, Tieling, Fushun and Daqing obtained a high score in resource conservation ability. Especially Tonghua was selected as the first batch of the cities “National low-carbon homeland experimental zone” in China. The city has implemented a number of resource-saving and recycling economy projects. In 2010, output value of waste recycling reached 1.66 billion RMB yuan in Tonghua. Figure 7 describes the proportion of components index in prefecture-level cities. Environmental protection ability is the main contributor of the environmental potential. Liaoning and Jilin were mainly affected by resource conservation ability and Heilongjiang Province was mainly affected by ecological carrying capacity and resource conservation ability.
Figure 6 Environmental potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China
Figure 7 Proportion of components index in environmental potential of sustainable urbanization in Northeast China
Sustainable urbanization requires that regional development cannot exceed the regional ecological carrying capacity, resources are scientifically used and conserved, energy consumption and waste generated per unit of output is reduced, and waste generated is disposed or recycled of in way which does not pollute the environment (Grimm et al., 2008). Ecological environment of Northeast China is relatively good, except some central and coastal areas. Priority actions for environmental sustainability in this region are development of low-carbon economy or ecological economy, construction adequate environmental infrastructures and improvement of people’s living standards.

5.4 Spatial variation of comprehensive sustainable urbanization potential

Figure 8 shows the sustainable urbanization potential scores of 36 prefecture-level cities. Dalian, Shenyang, Daqing, Changchun and Harbin are the top 4 cities in Northeast China (Figure 8). Except Daqing, most of them are provincial-level cities. Generally, they are large cities with a population of over 1 million. They had a high GDP growth rate, high GDP output, high foreign investment, a high percentage of the population with higher education and high removal efficiency of main pollutants. Chaoyang, Jixi, Qitaihe, Baicheng, Yichun and Hegang are the bottom 6 cities. The bottom cities have much weaker potential than those of the top. In general, these bottom-ranked prefecture-level cities suffer from poor performance in each subsystem of sustainable urbanization potential. Compared with their unsatisfactory economic and social potentials, their environmental potential tends to be higher. According to the differences in the average score, cities in Northeast China are divided into four levels (Table 2). The number of the third and fourth level cities is 11 and 10, respectively, while the number of the first and second level cities is 6 and 7, respectively. Overall, potential of sustainable urbanization in most cities are not high. From the spatial distribution, the higher potential cities are mainly distributed along the Harbin-Dalian railway. These cities have good geographic conditions, better economic development and higher investment in environmental protection (Figure 8). Proportion of system index of sustainable urbanization potential indicates that besides Shenyang, Dalian and a few other cities, environmental potential is the main contributor to sustainable urbanization potential.
Figure 8 Sustainable urbanization potential of Northeast China
Table 2 Statistics of sustainable urbanization potential scores of Northeast China
Province First level Second level Third level Fourth level Total
Liaoning 2 6 5 1 14
Jilin 2 1 4 1 8
Heilongjiang 2 0 2 8 12
Total 6 7 11 10 34

5.5 Relationships of sustainable urbanization potential value and city size, urbanization rate

In this paper, firstly, we take the population in municipal districts (districts under the jurisdiction of municipality) as a proxy of the city size to study the relationship of sustainable urbanization potential value and the city size. We found that there is no absolute relationship between city size and potential value, large city does not always mean greater potential. Such as Daqing and Tonghua, where population in municipal districts is smaller than Qiqihar and Fushun, but their potential values are higher than these two cities (Figure 9). According to the city size, cities are divided into five grades: mega-cities (>2 million), large cities (1-2 million), big cities (0.5-1 million), medium cities (0.20-0.5 million) and small cities (< 0.2). Next, we calculated the average potential value of each grade. The average potential value of mega-cities is 1.486, which is significantly bigger (P<0.001) than the large (0.959), big (0.737), medium (0.906) and small cities (0.655). The average potential value in medium cities is bigger than the big cities (P=0.13). Secondly, we use the proportion of non-agricultural population as the urbanization rate to study the interrelationship between urbanization rate and sustainable urbanization potential value (Figure 10). A linear regression was used to calculate the correlation coefficient between urbanization rate and sustainable urbanization potential. The value of the correlation coefficient is only 0.012 (y=0.00023x+0.8587, R2=0.0001, P=0.946). This result indicates that there is no interrelationship between urbanization rate and sustainable urbanization potential, higher urbanization rate does not lead to higher sustainable urbanization potential in Northeast China, and unilateral pursue urbanization rate cannot improve the potential of sustainable urbanization. As UN Habitat / DFID (2002) denoted population urbanization is not the ultimate goal of sustainable urbanization.
Figure 9 Relationship between sustainable urbanization potential and city size
Figure 10 Correlation between sustainable urbanization potential and urbanization rate
It is well-known that urbanization can produce scale effect, and it can promote the development of economy. However, scale of the city is not the bigger the better. Overall development level of a city not only depends on the size, but also the development of the individual units (Bloom et al., 2008). Blindly pursuing large scale, resulting in agriculture increasingly vulnerable and city presents a false prosperity. Growing gaps between urban and rural areas will lose control. Traffic congestion and environmental pollution will become chronic disease of big city. Focus on developing medium cities and small towns will become a reliable choice of Northeast China. Meanwhile, population urbanization is only one aspect of urbanization. More attention should pay to farmers living in cities, including employment, education, housing, health and so on. Let them enjoy the same rights as urban residents.

6 Conclusions

Sustainable urbanization potential is the capability of a region’s development in a sustainable urbanization way in future. To reach sustainable urbanization, it is important to evaluate the sustainable urbanization potential of a region, and the results will be very helpful for policy makers to develop scientific measurements. In this paper, we construct an index system with 53 indicators to evaluate the sustainable urbanization potential of Northeast China based on the entropy method. The following conclusions are drawn.
(1) Potential value of sustainable urbanization varies among different cities. Dalian (1.934), Shenyang (1.532), Daqing (1.287), Changchun (1.270) and Harbin (1.209) are the top 4 cities in Northeast China. Potential values in most cities are not high, average potential value is only 0.8706, and 21 of the cities are located in the third and fourth levels. Higher potential cities are mainly distributed in the central part of Northeast China. These cities own good geographic conditions, better economic development and high investment in environmental protection. For most cities, environmental potential is the main contributor to sustainable urbanization potential.
(2) There is no absolute interrelationship between city size and potential value, large city does not always mean greater potential. The average potential value of mega-cities is 1.486, which is significantly bigger (P<0.001) than the large (0.959), big (0.737), medium (0.906) and small cities (0.655).
(3) The correlation coefficient between urbanization rate and sustainable urbanization potential is only 0.012 (R2=0.0001, P=0.946). This result shows that urbanization rate cannot reflect the sustainable urbanization potential of a region. Population urbanization is not the ultimate goal of sustainable urbanization. Cities with high potential of sustainable urbanization still have many shortages and need to be further improved.
This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the strengths and weakness of cities in promoting sustainable urbanization. Since various practices of urbanization exist owing to different backgrounds, the proposed framework also can be applied to various urbanization processes. Entropy method is a widely used approach and objectively determines the weights of the criteria. However, this method also has shortcomings when calculate value centralized samples. Consequently, integrated methodology or new models for measuring the sustainable urbanization potential are necessary in the future study.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Enserink B, Koppenjan J, 2007. Public participation in China: Sustainable urbanization and governance.Management of Environmental Quality, 18(4): 459-474.Purpose – The purpose of this research is to focus on the governance aspects of China's environmental policy making and the conditions for meaningful public participation in sustainable urbanization policy making. China is facing a big urbanization challenge. Rapid economic growth and inefficient use of natural resources lead to excessive pollution and rapid depletion of China's natural resources. Water scarcity, especially in the north‐eastern part of the country, already is a big problem. The Chinese government has formulated policies and legislation to protect the environment and to produce a more sustainable growth, but implementation is lagging. Moreover, rapid modernization of Chinese society also led to first experiments with the organization of public hearings on environmental issues. Design/methodology/approach – Literature is presented on governance and public participation in environmental policy making supplemented with material from case study research and expert meetings in China. Findings –...


Fang C L, Wang J, 2013. A theoretical analysis of interactive coercing effects between urbanization and eco-environment.Chinese Geographical Science, 23(2): 147-162.Objectively, a complex interactive coercing relationship exists between urbanization and eco-environment, and the research of this relationship is primarily divided into three schools, i.e., interactive coercion theory, interactive promotion theory and coupling symbiosis theory. Harmonizing the relationship between urbanization and eco-environment is not only an important proposition for the national development plan but also the only way to promote healthy urbanization. Based on an analysis of urbanization process and its relationship with the eco-environment, this article analyzes interactive coercing effects between urbanization and eco-environment from three perspectives of population urbanization, economic urbanization and spatial urbanization, respectively, and analyzes risk effects of the interactive coercion. Further, it shows six basic laws followed by interactive coercion between urbanization and eco-environment, namely, coupling fission law, dynamic hierarchy law, stochastic fluctuation law, non-linear synergetic law, threshold value law and forewarning law, and divides the interactive coercing process into five stages, namely, low-level coordinate, antagonistic, break-in, ameliorative and high-grade coordinate. Based on the geometric derivation, the interactive coercing relationship between urbanization and eco-environment is judged to be non-linear and it can be explained by a double-exponential function formed by the combination of power and exponential functions. Then, the evolutionary types of the interactive coercing relationship are divided into nine ones: rudimentary coordinating, ecology-dominated, synchronal coordinating, urbanization lagging, stepwise break-in, exorbitant urbanization, fragile ecology, rudimentary break-in and unsustainable types. Finally, based on an interactive coercion model, the degree of interactive coercion can be examined, and then, an evolutionary cycle can be divided into four phases, namely rudimentary symbiosis, harmonious development, utmost increasing and spiral type rising. The study results offer a scientific decision-making of healthy urbanization for achieving the goal of eco-environment protection and promoting urbanization.


Florida R, 1995. Toward the learning region.Futures, 27(5): 527-536.

Gan J, Guo F Y, Chen Cet al., 2015. The spatio-temporal evolution characteristics of urbanization spatial differentiation in Northeast China.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(5): 565-574. (in Chinese)<p>Taking the 34 cities of the Northeast China as the research object, from the 4 dimensions, this article comprehensive built a new measurement index system of urbanization in the Northeast China. Based on temporal analysis, panel data analysis and spatial analysis methods, the article analyzed the evolution characteristics of urbanization spatial differentiation in the Northeast China since 2000. The results showed that: 1) Investment and consumption are the dominant forces for the urbanization in the Northeast China, but its urbanization had the dual natures which were the&ldquo;top-down&rdquo;and&ldquo;bottom-up&rdquo;; 2) The urbanization was still in the stage of low level, and its development pattern belonged to the vulgar, low efficiency; 3) The differentiation characteristics of urbanization were significant no matter what was the whole or the subsystem of urbanization, such as the whole urbanization was increasing from north to south from 2000 to 2008, descending from 2008 to 2012, which had the consistent change characteristics with the population urbanization and the distinct changeable characteristics with the economy urbanization, society urbanization, space urbanization; 4) The differentiation characteristics in both of the east-middle-west and between coastal and inland in Northeast China were obvious, and both of them had the scheduling characteristics. Finally, the article studied the mechanism of spatial differentiation of the urbanization in Northeast China, which included natural condition, the upgrading of the industrial structure, traffic conditions and the function of the government regulation and system constraints, and found that the differential degree of urbanization between the north region and the south region in the Northeast China is narrowing mainly due to the evolution cycle theory of regional development.</p>

Grimm N B, Faeth S H, Golubiewski N Eet al., 2008. Global change and the ecology of cities.Science, 319: 756-760.Urban areas are hot spots that drive environmental change at multiple scales. Material demands of production and human consumption alter land use and cover, biodiversity, and hydrosystems locally to regionally, and urban waste discharge affects local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate. For urbanites, however, global environmental changes are swamped by dramatic changes in the local environment. Urban ecology integrates natural and social sciences to study these radically altered local environments and their regional and global effects. Cities themselves present both the problems and solutions to sustainability challenges of an increasingly urbanized world.


He X G, 1992. Urbanization potential classification of Chinese cities.Population Journal, (6): 7-12. (in Chinese)

Holden E, 2004. Ecological footprints and sustainable form.Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 19(1): 91-209.<a name="Abs1"></a>This paper presents the results of a four-yearresearch project (1997&#x2013;2001) entitled `Housingas a basis for sustainable consumption'. Theoverall aim was to obtain more empirical andtheoretical knowledge about the connectionbetween physical urban planning and householdconsumption. This knowledge provides a platformfor discussing principles and practices forsustainable urban development.<div class="AbstractPara"><div class="">This project was based on two main assumptions.First, it was suggested that the significantand increasing environmental damage due toprivate household consumption presents a majorchallenge in achieving sustainable development.Second, a large part of this consumption appears to be influenced by our physical livingsituation, i.e., the way we design and locateour houses. This also applies to energy use forheating and technical appliances, transport,and even to the considerable amount ofequipment that is needed for householdoperation, redecoration and maintenance. Withrespect to transport, the study team includedboth everyday travel and leisure-time journeysin this research. While everyday trips such astravelling to work, shopping and taking thechildren to school are strongly influenced bythe living situation of the household, thismight also be true for leisure-time travel.


Irwin E G, Jayaprakash C, Munroe D K, 2009. Towards a comprehensive framework for modeling urban spatial dynamics. Landscape Ecology, 24(9):;a name="Abs1"></a>The increasing availability of spatial micro data offers new potential for understanding the micro foundations of urban spatial dynamics. However, because urban systems are complex, induction alone is insufficient. Nonlinearities and path dependence imply that qualitatively new dynamics can emerge due to stochastic shocks or threshold effects. Given the policy needs for managing urban growth and decline and the growing desire for sustainable urban forms, models must be able not only to explain empirical regularities, but also characterize system-level dynamics and assess the plausible range of outcomes under alternative scenarios. Towards this end, we discuss a comprehensive modeling approach that is comprised of bottom-up and top-down models in which both inductive and deductive approaches are used to describe and explain urban spatial dynamics. We propose that this comprehensive modeling approach consists of three iterative tasks: (1) identify empirical regularities in the spatial pattern dynamics of key meso and macro variables; (2) explain these regularities with process-based micro models that link individual behavior to the emergence of meso and macro dynamics; and (3) determine the systems dynamical equations that characterize the relationships between micro processes and meso and macro pattern dynamics. Along the way, we also clarify types of complexity (input and output) and discuss dimensions of complexity (spatial, temporal, and behavioral). While no one to date has achieved this kind of comprehensive modeling, meaningful progress has been made in characterizing and explaining urban spatial dynamics. We highlight examples of this work from the recent literature and conclude with a discussion of key challenges.


Jantz C A, Goetz S J, Shelley M K, 2003. Using the SLEUTH urban growth model to simulate the impacts of future policy scenarios on urban land use in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 30: 251-271.

Li N, Ding S B, Wang S Jet al., 2010. Study on improvement of labors’ employment of low urbanization cities in the Northeast Area. China Population,Resources and Environment, 20(5): 129-133. (in Chinese)The way to resolve employment problems of the northeast area is mainly in cities(industry),but the cities in the northeast area are also confronted with various problems.The article deeply analyzes and discusses employment features and their forming mechanism in low urbanization cities in the northeast area,and at present,the low urbanization cities in the northeast area mainly have the following employment problems: ①the contradiction of urban labor supply and demand is obvious,and the unemployment rate is high;②the transfer pressure of agricultural labor is large;③the employment effect of the national economy is small;④the overall quality of labor force is low.At end of the article,in view of the present symptom and in order to promote the urban employment capability of low urbanization cities,the author tries to put forward the feasible policies and measures: ①making economic development as the main line,and giving priority to the development of labor-intensive industries;②accelerating the pace of agricultural industrialization,and enlarging the employment within agriculture;③focusing on building the county(district) city and central towns to promote the process of urbanization;④enhancing the employability of workers.

Liang Z M, Chen C, Liu J Set al., 2013. Tiers features and comprehensive measures of urbanization development quality of Northeast China.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 33(8): 926-934. (in Chinese)<p>Urbanization development quality is an important witness of economic development and social progress in country or region. China has made progress in urbanization since 1978, while Northeast China plays an important role of old industrial base since 1949. Urbanization rate of Northeast China has great progress since the Reform and Opening Up, but urbanization development quality is not better. For this reason, in order to evaluate the urbanization development quality properly and promote sustainable development in Northeast China, this article aims to carry on in-depth analysis to urbanization development quality of Northeast China. Firstly, In the article, the indexes of population urbanization,economy urbanization and space urbanization were constructed, and then take 34 prefecture-level cities of Northeast China as samples. On the basis, the article make an overall measure urbanization development quality of Northeast China by using standard variance method and coordination evaluation model between urbanization development quality and rate. The results show that: 1) Urbanization development quality of Shenyang is the highest in Northeast China and in the stage of improving lately, Dalian、Changchun、Harbin are in the stage of optimizing. 12 cities are in the stage of rapid promotion, the rest of 19 cities are in the stage of low quality. 2) According to the urbanization coordination type,Shenyang、Dalian、Changchun、Harbin are quality advanced-type, Daqing、Liaoyang and Suihua are quality coordination-type, and the rest of the cities are quality lag-type. 3) According to the urbanization dominant type, urbanization of Liaoning Province is economy dominant type, urbanization of Jilin Province is not obvious, urbanization of Heilongjiang Province is the space dominant type. 4) The spatial differentiation characters of urbanization development quality is downtrend from south to north gradually. Secondly, this article divide urbanization development quality into three tiers by using cluster analysis, and they are core urban area,surrounding urban area, peripheral edge the urban area, and the tiers features presents a decreasing trend form core urban area to surrounding urban area and peripheral edge urban area. And then the characteristics of every tier in the perspective of economic geography were analyzed. Finally, the internal mechanism about tiers characteristics of urbanization development quality in the perspective of national implementation policy,population migration, the location and legacy of planned economy era were analyzed. Generally speaking, promoting urbanization development quality is very complicate system engineering, the real urbanization should improve along with population, economic, social and ecological urbanization quality, and improve the process of urbanization development quality is also very long at the same time, So it should seek a future speed properly, high quality, connotation, conducive to the sustainable development of urbanization development path in Northeast China.</p>

Liu H N, Sun Z L, 2007. Cluster analysis of rural urbanization development potential in Heilongjiang province.China Forestry Economy, (3): 33-35. (in Chinese)

Liu S W, 2014. Sustainable urbanization in Northeast China: Regional potential and strategical choice of sustainable development path [D]. Beijing: University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Lu D D, 2003. Theory and Practice of Regional Development in China. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

Ma R F, Wang X C, Shen Y Fet al., 2009. Regional development potential theory: Status and prospects.Science and Technology Management Research, (11): 118-130.

Meine P V D, Zhang M S, 2005. Sustainability indices as a tool for urban managers, evidence from four medium-sized Chinese cities.Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 25:;h2 class="secHeading" id="section_abstract">Abstract</h2><p id="">This research in four medium-sized Chinese cities aims at measuring urban sustainability in China and focuses on three issues. First, the situation in these four cities with regard to urban sustainability is evaluated. Secondly, a number of relations between different aspects of urban sustainability is explored. Finally, it is indicated how urban managers can improve with sustainability indices as tools currently ineffective urban management practices. Although all four cities are moving towards sustainable development, the current situation shows still weak sustainability in three, and even non-sustainability in one city. The social and, in particular, the economic dimensions of urban sustainability make significant positive contributions to overall urban sustainability. However, the decline of natural resources and environmental degradation are influencing it negatively. It is therefore suggested that more priority should be assigned to urban environmental protection and management in China. The fundamental reason for environmental degradation is believed to be inefficient urban management. To implement effective urban management in China, there is an urgent need to redefine the role of local government, reform local organizational structure, enhance local participatory institutional capacity, properly distribute the urban welfare, and thus integrate economic, social and environmental objectives local strategic and action plans.</p>


Niu W Y, 2009. Essential points of strategic design of Chinese new-approach urbanization.Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 24(2): 130-137. (in Chinese)Different from traditional urbanization, new-approach urbanization is "insisting on realizing sustainable development strategic objective; insisting on realizing mutual coordination among the quaternity of population, resources, environments, and development; insisting on realizing unified planning development of city and the countryside and the unitization of the city and countryside; insisting on realizing the homogenization of public service in the city and countryside, taking the equal opportunity for grabbing treasure and sharing wealth between the city and countryside and between the cities as the sign,gradually reaching the road of slowing down and removing the dualistic structure between urban and rural area, and attaining total regional harmony ". The presentpaper with sustainable development as the kernel, has systematically analyzed the function and significance of Chinese new-approach urbanization for unified planning of both urban and rural development, solving the problems about "Agriculture,Ruralareas and Peasantry", constructing harmony society,and presenting seven basic principles for future Chinese new-approach urbanization strategy. We suggest that with the Zhujiang River (Pearl River) Delta, the Changjiang River (Yangtze River) Delta, and third large group-type city group of Beijing and Tianjin around the Bohai Sea, nine metropolis zones, and more than 50 wealth centers of cities as Chinese new-approach urbanized best carriers,and in the intension of unified planning of urban-rural area development, eliminating dualistic structure of social mode, realizing social equity, it will become high platform for obtaining a new round of "development dividend" in the future.

Niu W Y, 2012. China New Urbanization Report 2012. Beijing: Science Press. (in Chinese)

Pivo G, 1996. Toward sustainable urbanization on Mainstreet Cascadia. Cities, 13(5): 339-354.Mainstreet Cascadia is a band of urban development stretching from the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia to the US city of Eugene, Oregon. The rate and pattern of urbanization there have produced deep public concern over growth related problems and negative environmental consequences. City and regional plans have been prepared in response to these conditions with the common goal of promoting more sustainable urbanization. Some cities in the area already exhibit elements of sustainable urbanization and census data indicate these places are measurably different from other places. Demographic and market trends suggest the plans can be successfully implemented.


Romer P M, 1990. Endogenous technological change.Journal of Political Economy, 98(5): 71-102.

Roy M, 2009. Planning for sustainable urbanization in fast growing cities: Mitigation and adaptation issues addressed in Dhaka, Bangladesh.Habitat International, 33(3): 276-286.<h2 class="secHeading" id="section_abstract">Abstract</h2><p id="">Issues related to sustainable urbanisation are best addressed when coordinated within a strategic framework and facilitated by a system of policy formulation that combines local opinions with scientific insights. This implies that planning for sustainable urbanisation has the potential to minimise climate change threats. While there is a pressing need for this potential to be realised globally, the current level of success in fast growing cities of the developing world is very limited. An approach to overcome this limitation has recently been successful in Dhaka, one of the fastest growing global megacities. It involved the identification of a strategic framework for the city. This framework was then combined with a locally-informed model of sustainable urbanisation to produce the Dhaka Metropolitan Development Planning Support System (DMDPSS). This paper discusses the climate change adaptation and mitigation issues that can be addressed through such a method in Dhaka, using a scenario-based approach. Two alternative development options (constrained and unconstrained) are constructed and analysed. A common set of indicators are used: first to evaluate which alternative is more sustainable; and then the mitigation and adaptation issues addressed. Results show that the &lsquo;constrained&rsquo; scenario, which includes a series of development limitations, is both more sustainable and can address more mitigation and adaptation issues than the other alternative. The scenario analysis, however, is only a part of the strategic framework needed for Dhaka. Indeed other factors, such as dissemination of facts and issues, and the ease and equity of communication in the community, are critical both for progress towards sustainability and to enhance community resilience to climate change. The paper concludes that the optimum combination of adaptation and mitigation measures can be identified in fast growing cities by using systems, such as the DMDPSS, based on the core principles of sustainable development.</p>


Shen L Y, Peng Y, Zhang X Let al., 2012. An alternative model for evaluating sustainable urbanization.Cities, 29: 32-39.In recent years, there has been rapid urbanization worldwide, resulting in both benefits and problems. Sustainable urbanization has become an important aspect in promoting sustainable development. Existing studies have introduced various methodologies to guide urbanization towards sustainable practices. The application of these methods has contributed to improving urban sustainability. To further support the effective applications of the principles of sustainable urbanization, a tool is needed to evaluate whether a particular process of urbanization is sustainable. In this paper, we introduce an alternative model for evaluating sustainable urbanization by investigating the relationship between urbanization and urban sustainability. The practice of sustainable urbanization is defined as a dynamic process that enables urban sustainability to improve or to maintain a certain level of practice. By employing this definition, we introduce a sustainable urbanization elasticity coefficient e SU , which is defined by two parameters: urbanization velocity ( V μR ) and urban sustainability velocity ( V μS ). The sustainability of an urbanization process is measured by the value of e SU or read from the V μR – V μS coordinate. A case study demonstrates the application of the measure e SU and the V μR – V μS coordinate. The proposed model is an effective tool to help policy makers understand whether the urbanization processes they support are sustainable and thus whether to correct practices. The model also allows comparison of different urbanization practices and thereby encourages the sharing of successful experiences.


Shen L Y, Zhou J Y, 2014. Examining the effectiveness of indicators for guiding sustainable urbanization in China.Habitat International, 44: 111-120.The Chinese government is a promoting sustainable urbanization process to develop future cities, and various indicator systems have been introduced for guiding the sustainable urbanization practice. This paper examines the effectiveness of these existing indicator systems introduced in China. Nine sample indicator systems were collected and compared. Principal criteria selected to analyze the effectiveness of the nine samples was based on a literature review. This study reveals that the existing indicator systems have limitations for guiding sustainable urbanization practice and the differences between the various indicator systems present barriers for their effective application. It is found that no official department in China supervises the application of these indicators. The lack of a systematic method for establishing indicators is considered as a major reason for contributing to the limited effectiveness of these established indicators. There is a need to develop an effective method to supervise decision makers to establish and select effective indicators.


Shen L Y, Zhou J Y, Skitmore Met al., 2015. Application of a hybrid entropy-McKinsey matrix method in evaluating sustainable urbanization: A China case study.Cities, 42: 186-194.Although urbanization can promote social and economic development, it can also cause various problems. As the key decision makers of urbanization, local governments should be able to evaluate urbanization performance, summarize experiences, and find problems caused by urbanization. This paper introduces a hybrid Entropy cKinsey Matrix method for evaluating sustainable urbanization. The McKinsey Matrix is commonly referred to as the GE Matrix. The values of a development index (DI) and coordination index (CI) are calculated by employing the Entropy method and are used as a basis for constructing a GE Matrix. The matrix can assist in assessing sustainable urbanization performance by locating the urbanization state point. A case study of the city of Jinan in China demonstrates the process of using the evaluation method. The case study reveals that the method is an effective tool in helping policy makers understand the performance of urban sustainability and therefore formulate suitable strategies for guiding urbanization toward better sustainability.


Sun P J, Feng X P, Sun Het al., 2013. Comparative analysis of characteristics, effects and driving factors of urban sprawl in Changchun-Jilin during 2000-2009.Progress in Geography, 32(3): 382-388. (in Chinese)Economic core regions are the main space of national and regional economic growth and urbanization development,but at the same time face the severe problems of urban sprawl.The integrated Changchun-Jilin(Chang-Ji) region is an economic core region on a national scale,a pilot of cooperative development and opening in Tumenjiang region,and the major grain producing region in northeastern China.It shoulders multiple responsibilities such as economic growth,urbanization of population and food security.Therefore,selecting Chang-Ji as a research object for the study of urban sprawl is representative and of great practical significance.Based on remote sensing images in 2000,2005,2009's and Almanacs of the related years,using GIS and SPSS statistical tools,we conducted a comparative analysis on the extent,process,effects and driving factors of urban sprawl of Changchun City and Jilin City.The results show that,(1) Changchun City has a higher level of urban land expansion than Jilin City;Jilin City shows significant stage characteristics.(2) In terms of the extent of urban sprawl,both cities show a low level of land use intensity and a high level of sprawling;in Changchun City industrial development and urbanization of the population are roughly in the same pace,but in Jilin City majority of the new land is used for industrial development.(3) In regard to the process of urban sprawl,Changchun City takes the process of "neighboring areas pushing on",while Jilin City shows a process of "axle band expanding".(4) As far as the effects of urban sprawl are concerned,both cities are negatively affected,e.g.,loss of ecological and life security,rapid decrease of cultivated land;the severity in Changchun City is more striking,starting to show big-city problems.(5) Industrialization and investment are the main driving factors for both cities,which show typical government-oriented characteristics,with different factors contributing various effects.In summary,the paper points out that spatial expansion of urban land of Chang-Ji twin cities are projected to eventually go through the same "pie-style" urban sprawl as Beijing City.A simple economical and intensive land use policy can't fundamentally solve the problem,therefore it is suggested to promote intensive use within the cities and cultivate regional city clusters to form a system of urban cities of reasonable sizes.


United Nations Human Settlement Programme/Department for International Development (UN-Habitat/DFID), 2002. Sustainable urbanisation: Achieving agenda 21. UN-Habitat/DFID, Nairobi.

United Nations, 2012. World Urbanization Prospects. The 2011 version. New York, USA: United Nations.

Verma A, Sudhira H S, Rathi Set al., 2013. Sustainable urbanization using high speed rail (HSR) in Karnataka, India.Research in Transportation Economics, 38: 67-77.Considering the present trends of urbanization and motorization in India, there is an urgent need for integration, revitalization and renewal of the smaller towns and cities to make urban areas in India more sustainable. Unless our regional space is reorganized to upgrade development of towns and cities and integrate them with each other and the larger cities, the urbanization process in India will become unsustainable. It is argued that High Speed Rail (HSR) can play a role in achieving this more balanced and sustainable development of towns and cities, opening up opportunities for growth across a wider, inter-connected, region, with the benefit of taking the pressure of the larger cities to absorb additional burgeoning populations. This paper will make the case that in the current Indian context, current patterns of mega-city growth are unsustainable, and that HSR can play an important role in providing opportunities for medium and smaller size cities through their interconnections. It begins by highlighting the role that railways have played in India and other countries, noting that merely economic analysis of their costs and benefits generally underestimated their contributions to development. It then provides an introduction to HSR and its potential impact in general, before applying this to the example of the State of Karnataka in South India.


Wang S J, Song Y, Feng Z Xet al., 2011. Pattern and progress of large urban agglomerations and urban flows intensity in Northeast China.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 31(3): 287-294. (in Chinese)The urban agglomerations in Northeast China group grew up in the special historical period,under a special economic background,and its unique structure and function has been the regional labor division of the old industrial bases in Northeast China,even controled the economy development in Northeast China.According to the connotation of urban agglomeration,cities group and urban agglomeration group,this paper pointed out there currently exist objectively three large urban agglomerations,namely,urban agglomerations of Central Southern Liaoning,Central Jilin and Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar in Northeast China.According to the formation,development process and the present situation,Central Southern Liaoning has already developed into a mature urban agglomeration,while Central Jilin and Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar are still in intermediate stage of urban group development.Thus it has been formed a spatial structure with 'an agglomeration and two groups' in Northeast China.By the analysis on the urban extroversion meritorious energy and urban flows intensity in three large urban agglomerations in Northeast China,it was found that there is not any city's location quotient for the main extrovert service of the urban agglomeration being greater than 1.And their development levels were lower than that of domestic advanced urban agglomeration.The future development should focus on urban agglomeration organization structure,network development pattern,function division and complementary,development relationship coordination,etc.,and further control and optimization are needed.Central Southern Liaoning should strengthen the benefit mechanism and efficiency mechanism when the heavy industry and equipment manufacturing continuously develop;Central Jilin should consolidate industrial relation,sticking to the development of automobile industry and emerging industries;Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar should lay emphasis on resources-substitute industry and emerging industries.


Wang S J, Wan D, Song Y, 2008. Structural and functional optimization of urban agglomerations in the Northeast old industrial Base of China. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 28(1): 16-20. (in Chinese)The northeast old industrial base of China is the industrial system mainly composed of the industrial projects that China placed in the three provinces of Northeast China with emphasis during "First Five-Year" and "Second Five-Uear" period. On its way of developing resources-based heavy industry, this industrial base incubated the growth of the urban agglomerations in Northeast China at the same time of establishing the huge heavy industrial system. Urban agglomeration refers to the city aggregation formed by certain amount of cities with different scales, different grades, different or similar character and type within certain geographical scope. At present, there are three large urban agglomerations, namely urban agglomeration Central Southern Liaoning Province, urban agglomeration in central Jilin, in urban agglomeration Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar and northeast Heilongjiang, and other local urban agglomerations in Northeast China.Urban agglomerations in Northeastern China grow along with the construction, formation and development of the old industrial base. Up to present time, basic urban functions formed in the construction period of the old industrial base have been still remained in most cities of Northeast China. Though the allocation relation, the supply and sale relation formed in planned economy were broken down within and between those urban agglomerations, situations of the coordinating and stable relation with market being the impetus, element flows and industrial division being the principal part have not been established. Impacted by the decline of the old industrial base, those urban agglomerations still have obvious structural and functional problems. This kind of situation has somewhat become the bottleneck of revitalizing the northeast old industrial base. Based on the above-mentioned knowledge, this paper puts forward that urban agglomerations in Northeast China should adjust structures and optimize functions, focusing on the task of revitalizing the old industrial base and aiming at new-type industrialization and new-type urbanization. Urban agglomeration in Central and southern Liaoning Province should strengthen benefit mechanism and efficiency mechanism in the meanwhile of continuing the development of heavy industry and equipment manufacturing; urban agglomeration in central Jilin should consolidate industrial relation at the same time of sticking to the development of automobile industry and emerging industries; urban agglomeration in Harbin-Daqing-Qiqihar and northeast Heilongjiang should lay emphasis on resources-substitute industry and emerging industries. In the process of structural adjustment and function optimization, those agglomerations should also enhance interior urban function division, accelerate grads transfer of industrial structure and product structure, weaken the vertical administrative relation between cities of different grades and strengthen the horizontal relation of cities of the same grades, establish virtuous competitive relation and cooperative relation between different urban agglomerations, so to offer spatial carrier for the adjustment of the old industrial base and the economic development of Northeast China.

Yi P, Liu J S, Chen C, 2015. The coordination development of four moderations in Jilin province since the revival of Northeast China.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(9): 1101-1108. (in Chinese)Taking the Jilin Province as a study case, this article used the methods of coupling coordination degree model, exploratory spatial analysis and obstacle degree model to study the spatio-temporal pattern and obstacle indicators of four modernizations coordination development at the level of county in 2003 and 2012. Conclusions are drawn as follows: 1) The level of four modernizations is volatile and non-equilibrium, and the level of agricultural modernization shows an increasing trend. The spatial difference of industrialization and urbanization keeps reducing, and the spatial difference of informatization and agricultural modernization increases gradually. 2) The coupling degree of four modernizations development in Jilin Province is at low level on the whole, and the coupling degree in urban agglomeration of central Jilin and eastern border area is high relatively, the coupling degree in western inland is low. The coordinating degree mainly shows the serious disorder, moderate disorder and mild discord, and the sync phenomenon is obvious. 3) The similar region of four modernizations coordination changes from discrete distributions to weak agglomeration state. The hotspots of four modernization coordination are centralized in the regions of Changchun-Jilin, Yanbian and Tonghua. The hotspot counties have been decreased remarkably, and coldspot counties are increased gradually. 4) The output value proportion of tertiary industry, per capita GDP, the proportion of non-agricultural population, number of medical beds per ten thousand people and total turnover of postal and telecommunication services per capita were verified to be the first five obstacle indicators for further improvement of four modernizations coordination in 2003, and the output value proportion of secondary industry, the employment proportion of secondary industry, per capita gross industrial output value, average agricultural production per counties and average agricultural production per employee were verified to be the first five obstacle indicators for further improvement of four modernizations coordination in 2012. The order of sub-system obstacle degree is urbanization> agricultural modernization> industrialization> informatization. Finally, 3 driving forces of four modernizations coordination in Jilin Province have been drawn: regional policies, economic and industrial foundation, physical geography condition, and we put forward the main pathway to improve the level of four modernizations coordination. Generally speaking, the four modernizations coordination is complicate system engineering, and promoting the new urbanization development is also very long at the same time, therefore, some efforts should be made in the choices of index, methods and scale in the future.

Zang R, Zhang P, Yang Q Set al., 2013. Comprehensive measure and spatial-temporal evolotion of urbanization level in Jilin province.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 33(10): 1231-1237. (in Chinese)<p>Urbanization can be described from four perspectives which are population urbanization, economic urbanization, spatial urbanization and social urbanization respectively. Based on the indexes collected from these four dimensions from the year of 2000 to 2011, this article managed to measure the comprehensive level of urbanization in Jilin Province using the variance method and liner summing weight method to determine the weights and compute the indexes. In order to visualize the distribution of urbanization levels in the prefectures, the maps were made utilizing the software of ArcGIS to analyze the spatial and temporal evolution in terms of urbanization level in Jilin Province. The following findings are summarized: 1) The variance of urbanization quality among prefectures is obvious, which shows a characteristic named &quot;higher center and lower surrounding&quot;. 2) The agglomeration pattern of couple centers of Changchun and Jilin City is being formed, but realizing integrated development still has a long way to go. 3) Spatial urbanization is the direct embodiment of population urbanization and economic development is the key to promote the development of society.</p>

Zhang P Y, 2013. Urbanization progress, problem and policy in Northeast China since 2003.Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 28(1): 39-45. (in Chinese)Since the State implemented the Strategy of Revitalizing Northeast China and Other Old Industrial Base in 2003,a great achievement has made in following aspects such as resources-based city transformation,slum clearance and redevelopment,old industrial area regeneration,infrastructure construction etc,which has put forward urban transformation and regional urbanization progress.However,there are still some problems and challenges including lack of urbanization power,weak economic strength in urban agglomerations,difficulties for enhancing resources-based city and backward urbanization in broad rural area.In terms of situation,con-dition and task,this paper discusses main polices for future new type of urbanization in Northeast China,including countermeasures to optimize urban agglomeration structure and upgrade central city international servicing function;to keep enhancing resources-based city transformation and old industrial zone reconstruction;to energetically promote countryside urbanization;to seek right ways for agro-reclamation area,forest region and border area urbanization with local characteristics;to intensively use construction land and establish ecological security patterns for regional urbanization.

Zhang X L, 2015. Sustainable urbanization: A bi-dimensional matrix model.Journal of Cleaner Production. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.08.036.The urbanization process is creating dramatic and rapid changes globally, with over half of the world's population living in cities. This rapid urbanization growth has led to the need to understand urbanization as a major contributor to not only economic/social transformation but also resource consumption and environmental damage. In this context, ‘sustainable urbanization’ came into being. Theoretical debate on ‘sustainable urbanization’ has been eliminated by the rhetoric and realities of sustainability, while the practical application of this debate to the urbanization process has been both limited and contradictory (Pinches, 1994). From the practical application point of view, many effective urban-rural sustainability practices exist in different situations depending on social, economic, political, cultural development and geographical conditions, which makes it difficult to effectively share the experiences obtained from these practices. It is therefore imperative to establish a fundamental holistic model to share these practical experiences in order to mirror and help transfer the good results already obtained. The aim of the bi-dimensional model for sustainable urbanization is to analyze environmental, social and economic issues in quadrant terms at different stages from a new life cycle perspective of the urban and rural environment. Based on the conceptual model, a Curitiba case is used to demonstrate the way how one of the quadrant I (sustainable urban form) is achieved at city level. It is highlighted that government sponsored urbanization pattern can be efficient. However, practical implementation at city governance/management level is rather more important. This research proposes a roadmap for sustainable urbanization, facilitating the generation of the effective acquisition and sharing of sustainable urbanization experiences to support the decision making processes involved in selecting strategies and solutions. This contribution aims to stimulate innovative methods that are able to cope with current challenging urbanization problems in an integrative manner that is adapted to fluctuating urban demand patterns.


Zhu F F, 2014. Evaluation on the development level of new urbanization in Heilongjiang province [D]. Harbin: Harbin University of Science and Technology. (in Chinese)

Zhu J M, Simarmata H A, 2015. Formal land rights versus informal land rights: Governance for sustainable urbanization in the Jakarta metropolitan region, Indonesia.Land Use Policy, 43: 63-73.