Research Articles

Optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality

  • TANG Chengli , 1 ,
  • HE Yanhua 1 ,
  • ZHOU Guohua 1, 2 ,
  • ZENG Shanshan 3 ,
  • XIAO Luyao 1
  • 1. College of Resource and Environment Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
  • 2. Hunan Key Laboratory of Geospatial Big Data Mining and Application, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
  • 3. Urban and Rural Planning Bureau of Wangcheng District, Changsha 410200, China

Author: Tang Chengli (1964-), Professor, specialized in human geography and regional development.

Received date: 2017-09-15

  Accepted date: 2017-10-20

  Online published: 2018-03-30

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41471145

National Social Science Foundation of China, No.41201169

The Key Discipline of Hunan Province Geography Construction Project, No.2011001


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


Optimizing rural settlements is an important measure to cope with rural decline, and improve the quality of rural life and attractions. This study introduces the "life quality theory". Based on the mechanisms governing the interactions between rural settlement space and life quality, this study examines how to optimize the spatial organization of rural settlements. Three aspects are evaluated - the integration of rural settlement spatial functions, optimization of spatial structure, and regulation of spatial scale - with the objective of building an optimization mode and framework for the spatial organization of rural settlements with high life quality. Our results suggest the following: (1) The settlement is the spatial carrier of life quality, which is an essential settlement component, and these two aspects influence and improve each other. Therefore, reasonable rural settlement space is an important precondition for higher life quality. (2) The spatial function types of rural settlements can be divided into those that maintain livelihoods, develop industry, and upgrade life quality. Optimizing spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality requires promoting the maintenance of livelihood, integration of industrial development, and implantation in quality improvement. (3) There are two important components of optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements. One is promoting the organic concentration of living, agricultural, and industrial spaces, the reasonable distribution of social intercourse, recreational, and services spaces, and the organic balance of living, production, and ecological spaces, so as to reasonably optimize the combination of internal spatial types in settlements. The other is forming a functional structure level of a “comprehensive village-featured village” and building spatial organization settlement modes connected by rural roads by relocating and adjusting the function of villages. These changes would require the destruction of underdeveloped villages, retaining normal villages, enlarging important villages, and constructing new villages. (4) As an ideal mode for optimizing rural settlements space based on life quality, the Rural Road-Oriented Development Model (RROD model) should be built at a rational scale for unit settlement and distance between settlements, leading to a fully functional RROD system with rational structure, auxiliary facility, and well-organized distribution.

Cite this article

TANG Chengli , HE Yanhua , ZHOU Guohua , ZENG Shanshan , XIAO Luyao . Optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018 , 28(5) : 685 -704 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1499-4

1 Introduction

Rural settlements are residential areas in rural environments, where the population has settled based on the close relationship with agriculture, in both geography and function (Li and Chen, 1994; Zhao et al., 2006). As world urbanization processes have expanded, rural decline has been a global issue (Liu and Li, 2017), and rural settlement has become a popular topic for scholars and experts in relevant fields both internationally and domestically. International research on rural settlements has been progressing over a longer period of time, and suggests four stages - sprouting, preliminary development, development and revolution, and restructuring (Li and Zhang, 2012a); this systematic and rich research has addressed settlement patterns (Amarasinghe et al., 2005; Bański and Wesołowska, 2010), ecology (Gilman, 1991; McKenzie et al., 2011), and landscapes (Antrop, 2004; Górka, 2016; Montis et al., 2017). In recent years, as human geography has transformed socially and culturally, international research on rural settlement geography has focused on interdisciplinary research in sociology and history, extending to rural reconstruction (Hoggart and Paniagua, 2001a; 2001b; Nelson, 2001), rural-urban relationships (Hidding and Teunissen, 2002), and rural social problems (Anthopoulou et al., 2017; Flynn and Kay, 2017; Woods, 1997), i.e., research has become more diverse.
During the transformation from “rural China” to “urban China”, rapid urbanization has resulted in rural transformation and development and spatial reconstruction in China (Long, 2013); rural China is entering a new development stage (Liu, 2007; Long et al., 2011). With the migration of urban and rural populations, and the restructuring of economic and social development factors, non-agriculture diversification has been a powerful impetus for rural development and has accelerated the destruction of the ecological environment and rapid loss of agricultural land. The depopulation and hollowing has resulted in the loss of “order” and “vitality” from rural society, accelerating the decline of rural culture, so equalizing urban and rural public services is facing severe challenges. Rural settlements, as the spatial carrier of rural economic and social development, are confronted with the problem of reconstruction. Understanding the optimal scale and spatial patterns of rural settlements (Li, 2013) and constructing rural settlement spaces that meet the needs of farmers’ desires for production and living through reasonable spatial organization of rural settlement are key factors in rural settlements addressing “rural disease” (Liu, 2013). Furthermore, these are also key factors in gradually developing competitive and beautiful homes. These are important topics that need to be addressed urgently in the field of theoretical rural geography research and new construction practices.
Many scholars have conducted research on rural settlements since the 1990s (Guo and Wang, 1999; Hai and Li, 2013; Li Q L et al., 2012; Liu et al., 2011; Long et al., 2016; Ma et al., 2016; Tian, 2011; Zhang and Sheng, 2005; Zhou and Zhang, 2005; Zhu et al., 2016). In recent years, there has been a special focus on rural settlement transformations and spatial reconstruction (Li and Zhang, 2012b; Long, 2014; Wang and Li, 2011; Yang et al., 2015; Zhang et al., 2016), the spatial evolution and influencing mechanisms of rural settlements (Feng and Chen, 2003; He et al., 2013; Huo et al., 2016; Li and Shi, 2008; Li X J et al., 2009; Luo and Li, 2011; Qiao et al., 2009; Zhou et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2017), hollowing of rural settlements and renovation of village-hollowing (Chen et al., 2010; Hu et al., 2016; Liu et al., 2009; Liu et al., 2013; Long et al., 2009; Tan et al., 2017; Zhu X H et al., 2010), and rural human settlements and the protection of settlement landscapes (Fang and Liu, 2009; Hu et al., 2013; Li B et al., 2009; Li et al., 2014; Li et al., 2009; Liu, 2006; Wu, 2001; Zhou, 2009; Zeng et al., 2016). In general, the research on rural settlements space varies from simple to comprehensive, qualitative descriptions to quantitative analysis, and spatial analysis to humanistic social paradigms. Nevertheless, issues, including weakness in fundamental theory, dominate regional spatial research, which requires enhancing the multidisciplinary coherence analysis. In particular, there are insufficient data on the interactions between people, community subjects, and their settlement environment; residential demands; and potential improvements to life quality function.
This study is an attempt to elucidate the intrinsic connections between rural settlements and life quality based on three aspects: the integration of rural settlement spatial functions, optimization of spatial structure, and regulation of spatial scale. The ultimate goal is to build an optimization mode and framework of spatial organization for rural settlements with high quality of life. The results should enrich spatial structure theory in settlement geography and provide theoretical guidance for the development of rural settlement space optimization policy to meet National Strategic Needs.

2 The relationship between rural settlement space and life quality

2.1 Life quality and its evaluation framework

“Life quality” was first proposed in 1958 by the American economist John Kenneth Galbraith in The Affluent Society; he posited that “the life quality is comfortable and convenient degree of people’s life and the enjoyment and pleasure of the spirit”. In the 1970s, the American economist Walt Whitman Rostow further studied “life quality,” and formally proposed and explicitly elaborated on a “life quality theory” (Rostow, 1971) in Politics and the Stages of Growth. The author argued that economic modernization in each country occurs in five basic stages of varying length: traditional society, preconditions for take-off, take-off, drive to maturity, and high mass consumption, the fifth stage reflecting a characteristic quantitative consumption. Subsequently, citizens might turn to “pursuit of quality”, the quality is “life quality”. He suggested that pursuing an improvement in life quality was an inevitable trend in human society, and economic growth, from tangible products to intangible products, should be regarded as an important manifestation. Subsequently, the international study of life quality gradually shifted from theoretical to empirical (Boyer and Savageau, 1981; Boyer and Savageau, 2000; Massam, 2002; Myers, 1988), especially on the measurement and evaluation of “life quality”. Researchers analyzing satisfaction over a whole life and 13 other specific aspects of life conducted a survey of life quality in the United States (Galbraith, 1958).
Domestic research on life quality started relatively late, and primarily from the perspective of sociology or economics, which resulted in some proposed methods and index systems to evaluate life quality (Chen, 1993; Li, 1986; Lin and Lu, 1989; Mao, 2003; SUSEST, 2002). In terms of defining life quality, Li hypothesized that it was a symbol of life and a welfare condition, including both natural and social aspects. The natural condition referred to beautification and purification of residential environments. In comparison, social conditions included culture, education, health, transportation, status of life services, social fashion, and social safety; Lin regarded life quality as satisfaction with a living environment and comprehensive living assessment. In contrast, Chen defined life quality based on two aspects, social supply and citizen needs, which should be comprehensive and perfect; that is, life quality was “the living adequacy and satisfaction from social provisions.”
Life quality is a multidimensional concept used to measure citizen living standards and states, which incorporates the economy, society, culture, politics, and ecology, and includes both material and nonphysical components. Furthermore, life quality is both individual and social. Life quality depends on the degree of protection of objective living conditions, and on the satisfaction of subjective needs, the former being the foundation. Therefore, life quality must be evaluated based on various aspects. Learning from previous research, this study proposes an “MIOS” evaluation framework for rural life quality based on the characteristics of farmer living demand (Figure 1); income, living conditions, public service, ecological environment, culture and entertainment, neighborhood relationship, organization and management, and social security are all evaluated.
Figure 1 “MIOS” evaluation framework for rural life quality
As reflected in the objective indicators (Table 1), farmers’ income and living conditions have reached a high level in China. Specifically, in 2015, rural per capita net income reached 10772 yuan, which is close to double the basic standard of a comparatively well-off life level in rural areas after deducting for the impact of price factors. Rural per capita steel or brick structures reached 33.4 m2 per person, which is more than twice the basic standard (farmer) of comparatively well-off residents in the entire country. Public service facility construction, such as transportation, water improvement, and education, has achieved significant advances, whereas indicators of social pension, environmental health, culture, and entertainment still need improvements. Most farmers are relatively satisfied with their current living conditions, according to the subjective satisfaction survey of 650 households in 50 villages in 6 provinces in the central region (He et al., 2013).
Table 1 The objective index values of the quality of national rural life evaluation in 2015
Index Index value Index Index
Rural per capita net income (yuan/person) 10772 Cumulative rate of return to water in rural areas (%) 98.5
Engel’s Coefficient (%) 37.1 Average number of elderly welfare agencies per township 0.81
Rural per capita steel brick structure (m2/person) 33.4 Rate of rural residents participating in new rural cooperative medical system (%) 98.8
Compulsory student-teacher ratio 14.0 Prevalence rate of sanitary toilet (%) 78.4
Average number of technical training schools for each township 2.26 Expenditure on cultural and educational entertainment (%) 10.5
Rural access roads proportion of administrative village (%) 95.5 Average number of comprehensive cultural stations per township 0.86
Number of rural doctors and health workers per thousand agricultural population 1.47

Sources: Rural Statistical Yearbook of China in 2016, China Statistical Yearbook in 2016, and Bulletin of Statistics on the Development of Health and Family Planning Undertakings in China in 2015. “Rural per capita steel brick structure”, “average number of technical training schools for each township”, “average number of elderly welfare agencies per township” are from the statistical data of 2012, “the cumulative rate of return to water in rural areas” is from 2014, and “rural access roads proportion of administrative village” is from the second agricultural census data (2006).

Farmers’ happiness scoring 90 points or more accounted for 17%, 80 to 89 points accounted for 37%, 70 to 79 points accounted for 31%, 60 to 69 points accounted for 12%, and under 60 points accounted for 3%. With regard to public service, the satisfied and very satisfied results of farmers in terms of electricity and communications were 58% and 52%, respectively, while unsatisfied and quite unsatisfied with medical, business, and cultural and leisure were 30%, 34%, and 42%, respectively. In addition, a synthesis of prior living satisfaction results in other areas (Table 2) generally indicates that current farmer life satisfaction is at the upper middle level, although there are still many regional differences. Farmers’ satisfaction for living conditions, road traffic, power, and communication is relatively high. However, satisfaction is relatively low for income, culture and entertainment, health care, and education. Meanwhile, farmers worry about ecological environment, social security, and neighborhood relationships. Therefore, from the objective indicators and synthesis of prior living satisfaction results, subjective and objective analysis is basically consistent.
However, the income is inconsistent. An important reason of this inconsistent lies in the gap between urban and rural areas and promotion of farmers’ demands.
Table 2 Research and results on the satisfaction of rural life quality
Research Study area Research time Main findings
Ren et al., (2006) Chengdu 2005 In the reform of household registration system, living conditions, road traffic facilities, and ecological environment are rated as having high public satisfaction, up to 40%. However, satisfaction is low in terms of per capita income, industrial development, and employment and social security, the proportion of general satisfaction being 54%, 48%, and 40%, respectively. For the policy system and medical insurance, dissatisfaction reached more than 30%.
Zhang and Pan (2008) Anhui 2008 Farmers are not satisfied with rural production and living conditions, highlighting that despite rural infrastructure construction has improved, development has been irregular. Rural cultural infrastructure has received fewer investments, and the rural financial system has little effect on rural economic and social development. Furthermore, rural environmental pollution has become a problem, and the prospects for farmland protection are poor. After 30 years of reform and opening-up, farmers’ income have been raised, but not significantly.
et al. (2009)
Ningxia 2008 Farmers’ life satisfaction in Yanchi County; more satisfied and very satisfied ratings account for 36%, unsatisfactory and quite unsatisfactory ratings account for 14%, and generally satisfied accounts for about 50% of the total survey. Farmer life satisfaction and income have a very significant correlation.
Li H
et al. (2010)
Yunnan, Henan 2010 Farmer life satisfaction responses indicate general satisfaction, but lower-class groups have scores that are significantly lower than those of other groups in overall life satisfaction and each factor.
Zheng (2010) Zhejiang 2010 First, under the premise of limited public financial resources, the total amount of public services in rural areas is low and per capita indicators are relatively low; therefore, the farmer satisfaction rates are not high. Second, constrained by input and output factors, the comprehensive efficiency of rural public service is low and effective supply is relatively inadequate.
Hu and Chen (2012) Jiangsu 2011 The comprehensive score of rural resident satisfaction is 3.12, indicating general satisfaction, among which family satisfaction has the highest score (3.67) and economic status has the lowest score (2.09). The main factors that have a positive impact on improving the satisfaction of rural residents are interpersonal relationships and government public policy; however, economic status, work, and environment are important factors that lower life satisfaction.
Li W Y (2012) Hubei 2012 Farmer satisfaction with rural public infrastructure is better than in other regions, but the proportion of very satisfactory responses is not high; reasons for poor responses are insufficient funds for investing in infrastructure, overlapping functions in agricultural institutions, low investment benefits, and poor investment quality. The primary role of farmers participating in construction is also unclear.
Li and Huang (2013) Hubei 2012 Farmers have a high degree of satisfaction with power supply facilities, drinking water facilities, and transportation facilities, and are generally satisfied with information and communication facilities and with educational and medical facilities. The maintenance of infrastructure and construction of infrastructure, irrigation and irrigation facilities, waste water treatment facilities, and recreational facilities are ranked as having a low degree of satisfaction.
Li F
et al. (2013)
Guangxi, Henan, Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Ningxia, Sichuan, Gansu, Anhui, Yunnan, Shandong 2013 The proportion of farmer life satisfaction responses that are unsatisfactory and quite unsatisfactory is only 18%, whereas the proportion of more satisfactory and very satisfactory is 49%, indicating a generally high quality of life. The life satisfaction of poor households is lower than that of middle and affluent households in general. Higher life satisfaction is correlated with age of householder, health, housing area, types of consumer durables, road condition, village democracy, and social intercourse. Finally, farmer life satisfaction first increases and then decreases with increasing educational.
et al. (2017)
Jiangsu 2014-2015 Farmers show a high degree of satisfaction with their rural human settlement environment (infrastructure) and rural human settlement environment (natural environment), but they are less satisfied with the rural ecological environment and rural eco-economy. The farmer satisfaction scores are higher in electric power facilities, air quality, lifestyle, water facilities, garbage collection facilities, irrigation facilities, and greening status. Low satisfaction scores are in pond pollution treatment, industrial pollution treatment, fertilizer and pesticide pollution treatment, domestic sewage treatment, eco-industrial development, both human and poultry excrement treatment, eco-agriculture development, and ecological services development.
With the construction of the new socialist countryside, the life quality of farmers has been greatly improved in China. However, there are still many problems, such as the lower income of farmers compared to urban residents, unbalanced rural public service development, poor medical education, inadequate culture and entertainment, weak social security, and threatened rural ecological environment quality. Lack of industrial support and revenue sources directly affects the improvement of farmers’ income level, and insufficient investment and low investment efficiency have directly influenced the improvement of public services. The degree of subject participation and the sense of belonging to a place have directly impacted the relationship between public security and neighborhood relations. Furthermore, unreasonable development and non-intensive construction directly affect the ecological environment. Rural settlements are carriers of production and living, and provide space for rural economic development, public service construction, and social interaction between farmers. Therefore, it is necessary to build a rational optimization framework of spatial organization of rural settlements to fundamentally solve the obstacles affecting the life quality of farmers.

2.2 Rural settlement space, and the mechanisms governing its interactions with life quality

The settlement is the spatial carrier of life quality, and life quality is an essential component of settlements; they influence and improve each other (Figure 2). The organic renewal of rural settlement space, embracing the integration of rural settlement spatial functions, optimization of spatial structure, and regulation of spatial scale, can provide farmers with better production and living places, create more opportunities for social communication, and reduce facilities use cost. Concurrently, these changes can beautify the eco-landscape environment, to improve the life quality of farmers, and lead to an accumulation of more construction capital, create higher space requirements, and cultivate stronger creative abilities for the organic renewal of rural settlement space. The goal is to achieve a benign cycle between spatial optimization of rural settlements and sustainable enhancement of life quality.
Figure 2 Two-way interactive mechanisms between rural settlement space and life quality
In contrast, disorganized rural settlement space and lack of space function will lead to shortages in farmer production and living places, a reduction in opportunities for social intercourse, decreases in facility construction, and use cost increases due to irrational scaling and clustering. Poor planning can destroy the eco-landscape environment, so as to cause a decline in the life quality of farmers, which will lead directly to insufficient resources to update capital, limitation of farmer spatial requirements capacity, and decrease in ability to renovate. This chaotic settlement space results in a vicious cycle of disordered rural settlement spaces and declining life quality for farmers. The two-way interactive mechanism between rural settlement space and life quality reveals the significance of spatial optimization of rural settlements based on farmers’ life quality.

3 The optimization framework for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality

Meeting the requirements for farmer production and living, and improving their life quality is a basic starting point for optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements. To achieve this goal, we must first ensure the optimization and improvement of functional services of settlements. Optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements is actually an adjustment process that proportions the relationships and spatial combination of spaces that carry different functions. In comparison, optimizing the spatial organization of the rural settlement system means arranging the spatial relationships of different settlements with different leading functions. The scale of the settlement space should be conducive to the function of the settlement, and conform to their spatial organization; therefore, the following sections are primarily based on integrating the spatial function while optimizing spatial structure and regulating the spatial scale to create an optimization mode and framework for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality.

3.1 Integration of spatial function based on life quality

Function integration has been found in rural settlements (Zhu X H et al., 2010). The most basic simple and busy rural life mode of beginning well before sunrise and ending at sunset, is just for survival, promoting the integration of traditional production and residential functions. As the rural economy has transformed and living standards have improved, diverse lifestyles that include work, business, communication, recreation, and entertainment have gradually emerged; the rural settlement function has inevitably changed from homogeneous isomorphism to heterogeneous variety (Luo and Li, 2011), shifting from integration of traditional production and residential functions into a new multi-functional integration.
Organic multi-functional integration is beneficial for improving the convenience of production and life of farmers, enriching public life, increasing spatial vitality, cultivating good neighborhood relationships, and making intensive use of space. In contrast, disorganized multi-functional integration may lead to ecological damage, rural loss, spatial inefficiency, and other issues, which decreases the quality of life. Therefore, we can reasonably optimize the function of the settlement space according to the needs of different stages of development, including functional adjustment, implantation, and upgrading (Chen and Lu., 2010). Based on the transition locus of rural territorial function (Liu et al., 2012), the types of rural settlement spatial functions can be divided into maintaining livelihoods, developing industry, and optimizing quality, in which agricultural production and living are categorized as maintaining livelihood; industrial production, tourism, trade, and service are categorized as developing industry; and public service, culture, and leisure are categorized as optimizing quality. Optimizing the spatial function of rural settlements based on life quality requires us to promote maintaining livelihood, integrate developing industry, and implant optimizing quality (Figure 3). For livelihood maintenance, it is better to enhance the function and improve the efficiency of agricultural production and quality of agricultural products to ensure food safety, while also improving the living conditions of residents to realize farmer innovations in household function. To develop industry, it is best to retain and promote functions in tourism and processing of agricultural products that are adapted to rural development, remove industrial production functions that are in conflict with rural development or cause pollution, and adjust business services based on economic logic. Methods for optimizing quality include foster cultural and leisure functions, organizing public activities, creating neighborhood communication opportunities, improving public service function, and protecting education, medical care, health, social security, and infrastructure services according to the requirements of rural modernization, and equalizing urban and rural residential life to improve resident culture, facilities and neighborhood satisfaction.
Figure 3 Integrated spatial function of rural settlements based on life quality

3.2 Optimizing spatial organization based on life quality

Decentralization, depopulation, hollowing, intermixing, and the simple mechanical concentration of town apartments separated from actual rural areas are outstanding problems in the rural settlement space of China. These problems are clearly related, so optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements is a fundamental factor. The spatial organization of rural settlement involves internal settlement and settlement system structure; notably, the former is a problem of proportion relationships and spatial combinations of spaces with differing functions, while the key aspect of the latter is in the spatial location and correlation of each settlement in the system.
Optimizing the internal spatial structure of rural settlements based on life quality (Figure 4), can be based on the integration of spatial function of rural settlements, and realizes an organic combination of spatial types in functional integration. Rural settlement space can be divided into living, production, ecological, service, social intercourse, and recreational spaces. Judging from the current situation, the continuous improvement of rural life quality in China has increased the sense of belonging, neighborhood harmony, and cultural identity for farmers in rural settlements. However, agricultural and ecological spaces are being occupied or destroyed due to urbanization and non-agricultural rural activities.
Figure 4 Optimizing the internal spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality
Therefore, the focus of optimizing internal spatial structure of settlements in terms of proportion is protecting agricultural and ecological spaces, expanding social intercourse and recreational spaces, and moderately allocating services space to control the size of each space type according to the regional situation. The goal is to ensure spatial function diversity and enhance the comfort of the spatial environment. The optimal combination of internal spatial type in settlements should abide by the spatial behavior habits of farmers for living, consumption, employment, and social interaction (Massam, 2002). This optimal combination should gradually achieve a communalization of living, large-scale agriculture and grouped industrial spaces, and the reasonable distribution of social intercourse, recreational, and services spaces, to achieve an organic balance of living, production, and ecological spaces. In summary, optimization should improve the efficiency and convenience of space use.
Optimizing the spatial structure of rural settlement systems based on life quality, aimed at improving the coordination of the settlement system, needs to effectively integrate the functional hierarchical structure of the rural settlement system and promote the interaction between rural settlements. The objective is to build a stable, coordinated, and sustainable rural settlement system. Optimizing the spatial organization of rural settlements is essentially a process of relocation and function adjustment, where transforming settlements includes individual and group relocation and functional changes. During the process, we should gradually relocate underdeveloped villages that are scattered and unsuitable for living, retain some normal moderate-scale villages suitable for living, enlarge important villages, expand parts of key villages that have the appropriate housing and gathering potential, and build some new villages that have superior and well-equipped locations (Figure 5). The resettlement function should be modified based on the advantages and disadvantages of the location and development foundation, and form a functional level of structure characterized as “comprehensive village - featured village.” This concept highlights the integrity of functional structure and external radiation of the comprehensive village, while emphasizing the unique aspects of the featured village. To better promote the interactions of rural settlement, relocation should consider farmer communication habits and behavior, the impact of traffic conditions on farmer production and life, and the influence of geographical factors. In summary, the spatial organization of rural settlements connected by rural roads should employ a spatial organization optimization mode based on life quality.
Figure 5 Optimizing the spatial organization of settlement system connected by rural roads

3.3 Regulating the spatial scale of rural settlements based on life quality

The settlement single-scale and distance between settlements are two key indices for describing the spatial scale of rural settlements. The settlement single-scale is the settlement self size, while the distance between settlements reflects the spatial morphology of the settlement system. The appropriate settlement scale can greatly improve rural resident daily travel and facilities utilization convenience, increase the efficiency of construction, and decrease use costs of public service facilities for education and medical care. A reasonable distance between settlements can effectively facilitate rural public transport, improve the overall operation efficiency of the settlement system, and promote interactions between settlements. To improve the life quality of farmers, the requirements for farmers’ production and living, and the ability to control the environment are both important for regulating the spatial scale of rural settlements. Factors that are incorporated in those requirements include the environment and location conditions, travel mode and distance perception, productivity level and mode of production, neighborhood relationship and psychological identity, facilities distribution threshold, and organizational management benefits (Figure 6). In practice, determining the spatial scale of a settlement is closely related to regional natural conditions, the level of development and functional orientation, and geographical differences.
Figure 6 Diagram outlining the mechanisms influencing the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality

4 Optimization mode for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality

4.1 Basic RROD concepts and spatial structures

Guided by the basic optimization mode for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality, a new optimization model is established, termed the Rural Road-Oriented Development Model (RROD model) (He et al., 2014). In the RROD model, rural settlements rely on the layout of rural roads, and form a new type of rural community that is perfect in function and moderate in scale. Within a certain area, there are many RRODs that employ a dominance hierarchy and reasonable layout, and may be associated with each other. A RROD system is based on the regional geographical environment conditions and relies on the rural road system,.
An RROD generally consists of three to six functional groups, while the functional group type can be divided into residential, integrated, and special functions (Figure 7). The main residential function is living. The integrated function group can be a collection of residential, tourism, and public services and other functions. The special function group is dedicated to the optional space unit comprised of industrial production, tourism, and other special features. The logical arrangement of functional groups in space can achieve the organic coordination of living, production, and ecological spaces. The RROD has the advantages of convenient transportation, drainage, power supply, sanitation facilities, convenient production and living of farmers, harmonious neighborhoods, and comfortable living environments. Public service centers are located in the integrated function group, arranged with kindergarten, primary school, medical center, integrated store, cultural station, elderly activity center, and other facilities. According to the degree of facility improvement and status difference in the RROD system, the overall RROD can be divided into the central RROD, general RROD, and base RROD. Based on the industrial structure and functional differences, the RROD can be divided into traditional agriculture, modern agriculture, mixed workers and farmers, integrated service, and tourism-oriented. Different levels and types of RROD are coordinated to form the RROD system.
Figure 7 Diagram outlining the basic structure of a complete RROD unit

4.2 RROD parameter values

The spatial scales of rural settlements are regulated based on life quality, unit radius, population size, and distance between RRODs, and should be considered during RROD mode regulation. The maximum social circle of farmer neighborhood interactions and maximum power radiation range of organization and management should determine the RROD scale, which can be controlled within a certain range to form a sense of identity and belonging. Furthermore, the RROD scale can play an important role as public institutions organize personnel, govern villages, and set policies. According to existing research (Guo and Chen, 2017; Li, 2007; Wang, 2010; Zhang and Xiao, 2009), the internal population size of an RROD should be in the range of 300 to 900 households. Conversely, based on the minimum threshold requirements for rural public service facilities, the settlement population should reach a certain size to achieve economies of scale, improve facility utilization, and reduce waste. In general, the minimum service population threshold size for public service facilities, such as primary schools, clinics, and integrated stores, is around 1500 people (Hui et al., 2010), and the service radius of these public service facilities is also directly related to the RROD unit radius. Generally, 5-10 min and 400-800 m, at a walking speed of 5 km/h, is an appropriate walking scale; beyond this scale, even if there is a good walking environment, it is difficult to stimulate the residents’ willingness to walk. Therefore, the service radius of the public service facility is basically within this range, and the unit radius of a RROD should also be controlled within 800 m. Travel within a settlement is mainly on foot, but travel between settlements is usually by bus or bicycle. Setting a suitable travel speed of 10-20 km/h, the travel time distance is 10-15 min; then, the maximum travel distance is 5 km, and the distance between adjacent RRODs should be controlled to within 5 km. More importantly, travel mode and distance perception will also affect the tillage radius. The agricultural production function is the most basic function in the countryside, for both traditional agricultural time and modern rural economic transformations, and a reasonable tillage radius must be considered in determining the RROD spatial scale. In general, farmers cultivate at a time distance of about 15 min; therefore, with agricultural transport support, the maximum tillage radius can reach 6.25 km, calculated at 25 km/h; under walking conditions, the maximum tillage radius is about 1.25 km, calculated at 5 km/h (Jiao et al., 2006; Tang et al., 2014; Zhao and Hui, 2008). These values directly affect the distance scales between RROD units. Initial calculations indicated an RROD unit radius of 400-800 m, RROD population size as 1500-3000 people, and distance between RRODs as 3.5-5.0 km (Table 3). However, this initial calculation is based on a general assumption of homogeneity, and does not fully take into account the differences in topography and economic development level, and their influence on RROD mode. Therefore, particularly in mountainous and hilly areas, we should adjust the spatial scale according to rural road facilities network construction.
Table 3 Parameter values for the RROD spatial scale in different landform areas
RROD scale RROD distance (km)
Unite radius (m) Population size (person)
Plain 650-800 2000-3500 4.0-5.0
Hilly 450-700 2000-3000 3.5-4.5
Mountain 400-600 1500-2500 4.5-5.5

4.3 The important role of the RROD model in improving the life quality of rural settlements

In accordance with the theory of science of human settlements proposed by Academician Wu Liangyong (2001), the human settlement environment consists of five major elements: natural, human, social, living, and supporting network. Decentralization, depopulation, hollowing, intermixing, and the simple mechanical concentration of the town apartments separated from true rural areas have largely destroyed the organic combination of the five major elements, which is an important challenge in improving the quality of rural life. The RROD model focuses on the organic synergy of these five factors and forms the “Five Collaborative Effect”:
(1) Protect the natural ecological foundation of settlement development through the protection and promotion of natural landscape patterns.
(2) Promote the rational distribution of population in urban and rural areas by guiding the rural population to gather logically in rural areas, and gradually developing into a service center and growth center of the village, and then controlling the rural population (especially young people) pouring into cities, restraining rural decline.
(3) Reconstruct the social relationships within the settlement, constructing a harmonious neighborhood environment, and improving the sense of living belonging through proportion and layout optimization of living, service, social intercourse, and leisure spaces.
(4) Effectively organize the spatial connections in the rural settlement system and promote the interaction among rural settlement units by reasonably planning the scale of rural settlement units and the distance among them.
(5) Improve the service capability of the settlement support network, reduce the use cost for facilities, and enhance the convenience of the rural residents’ production and living using road locations, a reasonable radius for services, and an economic threshold to guide the scale of settlement units and configuration of various facilities.
In summary, the RROD model can guide rural settlement to realize multiple targets, which strengthens natural ecosystem service functions, enhances the livelihood maintenance function, optimizes the industrial development function, and implants the quality optimizing function, to improve the life quality of rural residents. Implementing the RROD model can result in the ideal goal of gradually equalizing the residential lives of urban and rural citizens in the coordinated development of urban and rural areas (Figure 8).
Figure 8 Diamond diagram of the “Five Collaborative Effect” around the RROD model to improve the quality of rural life

5 Conclusions and discussion

(1) With the promotion of new national urbanization and country construction strategies, the rural economy and society are facing a drastic transformation. Key problems in this transformation are i) understanding the optimal scale problem and spatial structure of rural settlements, and ii) identifying the spatial organization of rural settlements that can provide better settlement functions. Addressing these problems is urgently required. Rural development has been gradually transformed from basic survival to the pursuit of life quality in China; therefore, studying the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality is particularly prescient as we explore human development.
(2) Optimizing rural settlements is an important measure for coping with rural decline and improving the quality of rural life and attractions. With the construction of a new socialist countryside, the life quality of farmers has been greatly improved in China. However, many problems remain, such as the lower incomes of farmers compared to urban residents, imbalanced rural public service development, poor medical education, limited culture and entertainment, weak social security, and threats to rural eco-environmental quality. Settlements are the spatial carriers of life quality, and life quality is an essential component of settlements; they influence and improve each other, following a two-way interactive mechanism. Building a rational optimization framework for the spatial organization of rural settlements is required to fundamentally solve the obstacles affecting the life quality of farmers.
(3) The optimization mode for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality embraces the integration of rural settlement spatial functions, optimization of spatial structure, and regulation of spatial scale. The integration of rural settlement spatial functions promotes livelihood maintenance, integrates industrial development, and engages quality optimization based on the transition locus of the rural territorial function. The optimization of spatial structure for rural settlements optimizes agricultural and ecological spaces, expands social intercourse and recreational spaces, and moderately allocates services space, which reasonably proportions the internal spatial organization of a settlement. The organic concentration of living, agricultural, and industrial spaces, the organic growth of social intercourse, recreational, and services spaces, and the organic balance of living, production, and ecological spaces can achieve an optimal combination of internal spatial types in settlements. This forms a functional structure, the “comprehensive village - featured village,” and creates a spatial organization mode for settlements connected by rural roads using relocation and function modification. These changes are implemented through the destruction of underdeveloped villages, retention of normal villages, expansion of important villages, and construction of new villages. To regulate the spatial scale, it is necessary to guide both the settlement size and the distance between settlements.
(4) As an optimization mode for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality, the RROD model incorporates the RROD and RROD system as the basic framework, supporting the organic integration of the spatial function, organic balance of spatial structures, and organic constraints from the spatial scale. It can provide theoretical guidance for the construction of rural complexes. In addition to guiding the optimization mode for the spatial organization of rural settlements based on life quality, the model has also inspired some of new types of rural agglomeration. However, it still faces the challenge of planning and design, economic cost, policy system, and regional environment differences, which need more specific design criteria, comprehensive investment plans, detailed action guidance, and a better policy framework. Here, the RROD is proposed only as a preliminary theoretical framework based on homogeneous assumptions, to guide more detailed and thorough arguments and research. Applying a typical sample area to this model is the subject of future work, where it can be further developed to better test and improve the practice mode.
(5) The internet and rapidly developing information technology are becoming important aspects of the productive lifestyles of rural residents in the new era, and important driving factors of the spatial change of rural settlements. Large geographical spatio-temporal datasets are becoming new data sources to study the production and life behavior of urban and rural residents and spatial changes in urban and rural areas. Making full use of large data to comprehensively understand the behavioral characteristics of urban and rural residents, discuss the changing spatial orientations of rural settlement under the influence of the internet and information technology, and construct more livable and attractive rural settlements in the information age are topics that should be addressed in future research.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Amarasinghe U, Samad M, Anputhas M, 2005. Spatial clustering of rural poverty and food insecurity in Sri Lanka.Food Policy, 30(5/6): 493-509.We mapped poverty, with reference to a nutrition-based poverty line, to analyse its spatial clustering in Sri Lanka. We used the Divisional Secretariat poverty map, derived by combining the principal component analysis and the synthetic small area estimation technique, as the data source. Two statistically significant clusters appear. One cluster indicates that low poverty rural areas cluster around a few low poverty urban areas, where low agricultural employment and better access to roads are key characteristics. The other indicates a cluster of high poverty rural areas, where agriculture is the dominant economic activity, and where spatial clustering is associated with factors influencing agricultural production. Agricultural smallholdings are positively associated with spatial clustering of poor rural areas. In areas where water availability is low, better access to irrigation significantly reduces poverty. Finally, we discuss the use of poverty mapping for effective policy formulation and interventions for alleviating poverty and food insecurity.


Anthopoulou T, Kaberis, Petrou M, 2017. Aspects and experiences of crisis in rural Greece. Narratives of rural resilience.Journal of Rural Studies, 52: 1-11.The purpose of this paper is to explore aspects, dynamics and experiences of the crisis in the Greek countryside. The ‘rural’ is emerging in public discourse as a resilient milieu of solidarity, of social innovation, and of opportunities for employment, especially in farming and in rural entrepreneurship. It seems that the crisis has contributed to triggering social constructions of ‘idyllic rurality’ which generated counterurbanisation tendencies and expectations for urbanites to return back to the land. However, those who had remained in rural areas and in farming were already been confronted with the prolonged crisis of the agricultural sector (CAP reforms and market liberalization), now coupled with the severe impact of the recent economic and financial crisis in Greece. Drawing on narratives of farmers and incomers in two rural areas, the paper investigates experiences and strategies to deal with the crisis, in the framework of work and family and in the context of discourses on rural resilience. Personal accounts reveal that remaining or returning to rural areas often conceal cases of underemployment and social deprivation and that, both farmers and incomers are not explicitly supported by policy makers.


Antrop M, 2004. Landscape change and the urbanization process in Europe.Landscape and Urban Planning, 67(3): 9-29.Urbanization is one of the fundamental characteristics of the European civilization. It gradually spread from Southeast Europe around 700 B.C., across the whole continent. Cities and the urban networks they formed were always an important factor in the development and shaping of their surrounding regions. Polarization of territory between urban and rural and accessibility are still important aspects in landscape dynamics. Urbanization and its associated transportation infrastructure define the relationship between city and countryside. Urbanization, expressed as the proportion of people living in urban places shows a recent but explosive growth reaching values around 80% in most European countries. Simultaneously the countryside becomes abandoned. Thinking, valuing and planning the countryside is done mainly by urbanites and future rural development is mainly focused upon the urban needs. Thinking of urban places with their associated rural hinterland and spheres of influence has become complex. Clusters of urban places, their situation in a globalizing world and changing accessibility for fast transportation modes are some new factors that affect the change of traditional European cultural landscapes. Urbanization processes show cycles of evolution that spread in different ways through space. Urbanization phases developed at different speeds and time between Northern and Southern Europe. Main cities are affected first, but gradually urbanization processes affect smaller settlements and even remote rural villages. Functional urban regions(FURs) are a new concept, which is also significant for landscape ecologists. Local landscape change can only be comprehended when situated in its general geographical context and with all its related dynamics. Patterns of change are different for the countryside near major cities, for metropolitan villages and for remote rural villages. Planning and designing landscapes for the future requires that this is understood. Urbanized landscapes are highly dynamic, complex and multifunctional. Therefore, detailed inventories of landscape conditions and monitoring of change are urgently needed in order to obtain reliable data for good decision-making.


Bański J, Wesołowska M, 2010. Transformations in housing construction in rural areas of Poland’s Lublin region: Influence on the spatial settlement structure and landscape aesthetics.Landscape and Urban Planning, 94(2): 116-126.The post-1989 process of economic transformation has magnified spatial differences as regards the kind of new housing construction taking place in rural areas. The intensity at which new building is taking place is very much a function of the size of the adjacent urban centre and the area's distance from it. Housing construction concentrates close to the main transport arteries, along which a belt of enhanced economic activity is to be found. Pressure from new investors is giving rise to a transformation of the natural environment, as well to the appearance of new conflicts between agriculture and housing. The development of new styles of building has led to changes in traditional configuration of villages.


Boyer R, Savageau D, 1981. Places Rated Almanac. Chicago: Rand McNally.

Boyer R, Savageau D, 2000. Places Rated Almanac. Chicago: Rand McNally.

Chen M, Lu J C, 2010. Compound characters and adaptive restructuring of village space. Planners, 26(11): 44-48. (in Chinese)Compound functions of villages influence rural life and production.It brings vitality on the one hand and slows efficiency on the other.Village space needs restructuring to adapt to modern village development.

Chen Y F, Sun H, Liu Y S, 2010. Reconstruction models of hollowed villages in key agricultural regions of China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 65(6): 727-735. (in Chinese)Hollowed villages emerged during rural eco-social development transition in China.It caused waste and inefficiency of rural land use and became an obstruction to rural eco-social development.It was of great significance for rational land allocation and new countryside construction to intensify researches on reconstructing hollowed village.Current reconstruction models of hollowed villages usually gave insufficient consideration to peasant's willingness so that some unwanted consequences were caused.In view of the facts,we developed reconstruction models of hollowed villages combining national strategies and peasant's willingness in this paper.Yucheng County of Shandong Province in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain was chosen as a case to study reconstruction models of hollowed villages.Forty-eight villages and 401 peasant households were sampled to investigate village emptying processes and peasants' willingness for reconstructing hollowed villages.The survey results revealed pervasive problems of small village size,many disused residence sites,decentralized village distribution,short of development planning and public establishment,as well as eagerly willingness of peasants for reconstructing hollowed villages.Three hollowed village reconstruction models,"urbanization leading model","central village merger model" and "intra-village intensification model",were proposed for different types of hollowed villages by guidelines of establishing new city-countryside relationship and pushing rural space restructuring and resources integration based on peasants' willingness and value judgment of rural development.This study provides a case study of reconstruction models of hollowed villages for other main farming areas such as Northeast China Plain,Middle and Lower Yangtze Valley Plain,and Sichuan Basin.


Chen Y P, 1993. Comparative analysis of two evaluation methods of life quality.Social Sciences in Guangdong, (3): 38-45. (in Chinese)

Fang Y G, Liu J S, 2009. Cultural landscape evolution of cluster agricultural village: The case of Yukou village in Shandong province.Geographical Research, 28(4): 968-977. (in Chinese)In the advancing process of New Countryside Construction,agricultural villages will become the cruces and nodus.Owing to the representative and demonstration of its rural cultural landscape,cluster agricultural villages deserve to be studied.Taking a case study of Yukou Village,Shangdong Province,this paper discovers that the cultural landscape of cluster agricultural village has approximately changed over three stages since the reform and opening-up.Its settlement evolution has gone through three stages-mechanical expansion,sprawling expansion hollowizing,and refilling recentralization.The landscape evolution of its folk house has undergone three phases-traditional quadrangle,one-storied flattop and multistoried building.The landscape evolution of its land use has experienced three stages-circled stratification,fragment intensive cultivation,and concentration together with extensive cultivation.The short-term cultural landscape evolution of cluster agricultural village is primarily influenced by human factors.The macro-scoped factors include urban-rural relation,national economic development and modernization,system of family planning and farmland usufruct,and governmental policies.Concretely,the evolution of rural settlement is affected by demographic characteristics,planning,management,economic and social development,cultural ideas,and agricultural structure.The production ways of agriculture and the natural environment are the basic factors affecting the evolution of folk house.However the influences of household income(especially non-farming income) and demand,socio-cultural idea and mind,and architectural technology increased gradually with the economic and social development.Agricultural land use is restricted by natural factors.The short-term driving factors of its evolution include the distance to village,the construction of production facilities,the land system,and the profit changes of different land-use types.In the future,the recentralization of settlements will become the trend;the folk house will show a harmonious development including modernization,ecological trend,and individualization;scaled,intensive,and sustainable land use are likely to be the trend.


Feng W Y, Chen X M, 2003. Analysis on the rural settlement expansion of the Jinzhong plain.Human Geography, 18(6): 93-96. (in Chinese)Based on the data of investigation at the scene, the paper analyzes the characteristics of rural settlement expansion in Jinzhong Plain, including its scales, velocities and types of the expansion of rural settlement samples by some tables and figures, and probes into the factors affecting the rural settlement expansion in Jinzhong Plain, with the opinion that it results mainly from combined efforts of population growth, family-scale changing, economy development, income growth, transportation improvement, industrialization of rural area and some other factors. The population growth and family-scale reducing enhances the resident demand of the rural settlements. The transportation-improvement mainly affects the scales; velocities and types of the expansion of rural settlements, and the important new and expanding highway make the settlements attraction in those areas. The industrialization of rural area directly advances rural settlement expansion because of the rural-business-enterprises' occupying a large of rural land in many settlements, and the industrialization of rural area clearly makes farmer income increase quickly, strengthens the peasants' economic abilities and quickens the velocity of resident-house constructions also. At last, it points out some difficult problems brought about by rural settlement expansion. The results of the rural settlement expansion are includes three aspects. First, according to the investigation in the rural settlement samples, the land resources waste is very serious. Second, the rural settlements in the Jinzhong Plain have high technique of agriculture farming, good transportation and irrigation condition, but the rural settlement expansions leads to nasty descent of the ratio of farmland area comparing with settlement area. Third, the rural settlement expansions made the layouts of the resident house developments in those areas not reasonable, and made the facilities of settlement foundation unqualified. At the same time, some settlements attraction along the important highway line not only affected the transportation seriously, but also broke the whole space of the rural settlement layouts. Obviously, adopting some positive and valid measures to stop the settlement expansion have already become a urgent thing.

Flynn M, Kay R, 2017. Migrants’ experiences of material and emotional security in rural Scotland: Implications for longer-term settlement.Journal of Rural Studies, 52: 56-65.Drawing on qualitative research with Central and East European (CEE) migrants living and working in rural areas of Scotland, this article explores what it is that facilitates a desire to stay longer term and how this relates to theorisations of social security and migrant-led understandings of normality. The article makes three original contributions: (i) new empirical insight into the relationship between material and emotional aspects of migration and settlement in Scottish rural contexts; (ii) greater understanding of rural migrants' diverse lived experiences; (iii) attention to the changing nature of migration to rural contexts through a focus on longer-term settlement rather than seasonal or circular migration. The article is structured by three key questions: To what extent are rural destinations actively chosen by migrants? How are migrants' experiences shaped by the realities of rural life in the particular Scottish contexts studied? How do migrants interpret these experiences through their understandings of a normal life and how does this impact on longer-term plans? The qualitative insight which the article provides has wider relevance and significance for policy and practice across other rural contexts and can help to reveal ways in which rural social systems could better respond so that areas of -ew- migration may develop into positive places of settlement.


Galbraith J K, 1958. The Affluent Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Gilman R, 1991. The eco-village challenge.Living Together, 29(2): 10-11.

Górka A, 2016. Landscape rurality: New challenge for the sustainable development of rural areas in Poland.Procedia Engineering, 161: 1373-1378.The standard of country living was a matter of Polish elites- concern from the eighteenth century. In different historical conditions different concepts of the rural renewal were formed. Today in rural areas of Poland some spatial processes that threaten the quality of life occur. The disadvantageous changes are the result of national or local governments spatial policy and they are an inhabitants- response to it. The political transformation, launched in 1989, included the Polish countryside to The Rural Development Program, which involves the participation of local communities in the implementation of sustainable development policy. Participation has made the quality of life in the countryside a common problem of intellectual elite, institutions of government and other stakeholders. The bottom-up principle has given importance to the common rural landscapes. As a result, present degradation of rural landscapes informs about the need of a distinctive and collective vision of rurality to cooperate with the sustainable spatial policy as the test of individual spatial decisions. Selected cases of the countryside improvement will be presented to prove the presents of ideas level and grass-roots level in the physical landscape. It shows the ideological and social background of the renewal. Contemporary examples of rural settlements demonstrate that contrary judgments, as to what is rurality, are responsible for the unsustainable development.


Guo H C, Wang Y C, 1999. Retrospect and developing trend of agriculture geography in China.Economic Geography, 19(6): 1-6. (in Chinese)This paper restropect the 50 years researching history systematically, summaried the building of the theory system and its applications and important contributions to our national economy system. At the same time under the new century, new system and new environment, this paper do expectations to the fields and innovations on integrated evaluation of agriculture resources and proper application, adjustment the agriculture structure and agriculture industry, urbanization and industrization in rural area. Agriculture environment construction and sustainable development, social and economic planning of rural development and theory and researching methods.

Guo L K, Chen Y F, 2017. Estimation of reasonable scale of rural settlements in plain agricultural areas: A case study of Yucheng, Shandong Province.Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment, 33(1): 47-54. (in Chinese)Analysis for prediction of future scenarios of land use in rural areas and reasonable scales of land use for rural settlements is the foundation for excavating the potential of land integration and optimizing the spatial pattern of rural land use. A case study of Yucheng of Shandong Province was performed to explore reasonable scales of land use for rural settlement in the future scenario of farming becoming a part-time job for most farmers from the aspect of optimization of the ratio of cultivated land to residential land. Results show:(1)The farming income is a major factor affecting the income of a farm household,and to predict a reasonable scale of land use for rural settlement,it is necessary to take into account comprehensively the scale of cultivated land in the region studied;(2)The current ratio of cultivated land to residential land in Yucheng is quite low or 3. 9 on average and about 75% of the villages lingered in the range of 2-6,which indicates that it is essential or critical to raise or optimize the ratio;(3)In the future scenario of farming becoming a part-time job and its in-depth development,the reasonable ratios of cultivated land to residential land will be 9. 95 and 15. 99,respectively,and the reasonable scale of land use for rural settlement in Yucheng will be 6 638 and 4 278 hm2,respectively,with the potential of reclaiming 8 121 and 10 481 hm2 of vacated residential land; And(4)the study predicted that the realignment of rural settlements may expand the farmland by 55. 02%-71. 01% in Yucheng in 2020,but in reality,the potential depends by a large margin on development of urbanization and the strength of reformation of the land policy in the future.

Hai B B, Li X J, 2013. Review on researches of rural settlement space in China since 1900.Journal of Henan University (Natural Science), (6): 635-642. (in Chinese)Rural settlements are the special landscape on the earth,and they reflect man-land relationship of countryside.The new urbanization promoted vigorously at this stage in China,will change the traditional spatial pattern of rural settlements drastically.Thus research on spatial patterns of rural settlement is very important both in theoretical and practical aspects.This paper reviews the publications since 1990son spatial research of rural settlements from perspectives of location,size,morphology,settlement system,internal spatial structure and spatio-temporal evolution.We find that spatial research on rural settlements expands rapidly,the research contents are improved gradually,and there are rich achievements.However,there are some problems at the same time:Research homogenization,single research perspective and scale,the case studies are more than theoretical researches,and lack of regional and systematic studies.Based on the above analysis,we point out that the rural settlement system and function,spatio-temporal evolution and its mechanism,rural settlement spatial growing trend are the important fields in the new rural construction.

He Y H, Tang C L, Zhou G H, 2014. The new model of the spatial structure of rural settlements: RROD.Geographical Research, 33(9): 1716-1727. (in Chinese)Inspired by the TOD important role in the theory and practice of urban spatial structure optimization process, learning from rural settlements unit size and spatial structure research, this article tries to build a new spatial structure of rural settlement patterns-ural Road-Oriented Development, and systematically analyze the concept of meaning, construction principles, frameworks, type, spatial scales, etc. Simultaneously, this article demonstrates the reasonable size and structure RROD unit focus from the facility threshold, farming radius,neighborhood association and the travel distance perception. This article considers the general radius of the unit range from 450 m to 700 m, population size range from 1500 m to 3500 m people, covering general range from 30 hm2 to 75 hm2, distance general range from 3.5 km to5.0 km. However, due to the geographical ranges based on homogeneous and general development conditions assumptions, this conclusion has a general theoretical guidance. So, in practice, the ranges should be properly adjusted and modified according to the actual situation.


He Y H, Zeng S S, Tang C Let al., 2013. Differentiation characteristics and forming mechanism of rural settlements in Central China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(12): 1643-1656. (in Chinese)This paper makes a deep analysis of the differentiation characteristics and forming mechanism of rural settlements in Central China, in view of the core characteristic elements about rural settlements, such as scale and spatial form, facilities and housing condition, subject and social structure. The sampling-point method and transects method are adopted. The results are shown as follows. The spatial differentiation of rural settlements are obvious in Central China, and the "plain-hill-mountain" regional gradient, "developed-undeveloped- underdeveloped" economic gradient and "suburb-outer suburb-country" distance gradient are prominent. The factors has a joint effect, which include physiographic conditions, economic development and level of income, urbanization and urban-rural relationship, regional culture, national policy and systems, and so on. The factors are interacting and influencing each other in different ways. Physiographic conditions are stable factor that mainly affect "plain-hill- mountain" regional gradient, by the "continuous reinforcement effect". Economic development and level of income, urbanization and urban-rural relationship are dynamic factors that mainly affect "developed-undeveloped-underdeveloped" economic gradient and "suburb-outer suburb-country" distance gradient, by the "inverted 'U' stage effect". In addition, regional culture influences rural settlements deeply and essentially by affecting peasant households' value system and behavior habit, which are semi-stable factors producing "bidirectional equilibrium effect".


Hidding M C, Teunissen A T J, 2002. Beyond fragmentation: new concepts for urban-rural development.Landscape and Urban Planning, 58: 297-308.Dutch spatial policy has typically been characterised by striving for developing town and country as separate spatial entities. Spatial fragmentation has always been an anathema for planners. Leading plan concepts like the compact city and the Green Heart reflect the idea of separate cities surrounded by green, open space. However, there is a widening gap between these spatial concepts and spatial reality. The current policy has not effectively addressed the dynamics of the network society and what occurs is different from the policy itself. Therefore, another type of process-oriented concept is needed. In this paper we discuss a set of process-oriented concepts, defined as network concepts. These concepts give rise to a much more complex spatial organisation. That does not imply that there is no longer any well-organised space. The network approach has well defined principles for spatial organisation. This paper thus makes the argument for the reconsideration of the idea of fragmentation.


Hoggart K, Paniagua A, 2001a. What rural restructuring? Journal of Rural Studies, 17(1): 41-62.


Hoggart K, Paniagua A, 2001b. The restructuring of rural Spain?Journal of Rural Studies, 17(1): 63-80.This paper explores the utility of ideas derived from the rural restructuring literature for understanding contemporary trends in rural Spain. It concludes that the processes that analysts associate with rural restructuring are of little help in understanding the Spanish context. As regards capitalist markets, the Spanish countryside is not characterised by economic diversification, professionalism, environmentalism and consumerism on a scale that resembles anticipations derived from the restructuring literature. For state processes, lethargy is a more appropriate adjective than restructuring. Likewise, social and cultural change in civil society are subdued versions of trends that beset Spanish society.


Hu R H, Chen Y, 2012. Statistical analysis of rural life satisfaction in Jiangsu Province.Chinese Rural Economy, 28(1): 80-91. (in Chinese)

Hu Z, Liu P L, Cao S Q, 2013. Spatial pattern of landscape genes in traditional settlements of Hunan Province.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(2): 219-231. (in Chinese)Settlement is a special area for people to live and work in. For human beings, traditional settlements play an important role due to its unique historical and cultural characteristics or their historical landscapes. Hunan Province, located in Southern China, is one of the provinces of the country with its traditional settlements centralized and well preserved compared to other provinces of China, which are mainly attributed to its long history of culture and favorable geo-environments. This paper, taking the 30 historical and cultural ancient villages declared by the Central Government or Hunan Province government as cases, aims to interpret the spatial patterns of traditional settlements in this province according to Traditional Settlements Landscape Genes' Theory (TSLGT). By TSLGT, in order to further interpret the relationships in history or culture of traditional settlements, this paper takes the following steps firstly: (1) to construct a special index system of traditional settlements landscape genes, which is composed of residential buildings characterizations, cultural symbols characterizations, geo-environmental characters, distribution patterns of settlements; (2) to define a workflow procedure to identify the landscapes genes of traditional settlements in Hunan Province by integrating some extraction methods such as landscape elements extraction method, pattern analysis method, structure identification method, conceptual extraction method, etc.; (3) to identify all the vital landscape genes of the 30 major samples of traditional settlements in order to construct a traditional settlements landscape genes dataset with GIS software. By the former research foundation, the author draws the laws of landscape genes' spatial patterns of traditional settlements in Hunan Province by according to the following three outstanding characterizations, building genes, site selection or distribution genes and totem culture genes. The research results of this paper provide some sense advices to conservation or reasonable development or management decision of traditional settlements in Hunan Province. Of course, these results or analysis methods of this paper can also provide some crucial references to the other provinces of China to preserve or develop their own traditional settlements.


Hu Z C, Peng J, Du Y Y , et al. 2016. Reconstructing hollow villages in the view of structural reform of the supply side.Acta Geographica Sinica, 71(12): 2119-2128. (in Chinese)The structural reform of the supply side is a crucial top-level design for promoting sustainable economic growth in China right now. Its implementation will do a great deal to help the rural transformation process. With the goal of optimizing rural spatial structures and promoting the flow of resources and information between urban and rural communities, the reconstruction of hollow villages can revitalize idle land and maximize resources. This research investigated how the structural reform of the supply side might influence the reconstruction of hollow villages. The results indicated that the traditional economic growth mode which simply relied on the demand side led to the emergence and aggravation of the hollow village problem.In contrast, the structural reform of the supply side would promote the reconstruction of hollow villages in three ways: accelerating development in rural areas, reducing existing inventories in real estate, and increasing the supplies of institutions. In order to ensure that key technologies would be successfully applied in the process of hollow village reconstruction, in our study we built an institutional security system, which included a settlement institution for rural immigrants, a management institution for rural homesteading, a fiscal and taxation institution for hollow village consolidation, and a social welfare and employment institution. Based on the research of evolution history for "human-land-house" relationship, the article discussed the significance that the structural reform of the supply side would have on new "human-landhouse" relationship establishment.


Hui Y A, Zhang Y S, Xu M, 2010. Study on functions and appropriate scale of rural settlement: A case study of South Ditch Valley of Ansai County in Yan’an.The Journal of Humanities, (3): 183-187. (in Chinese)

Huo R L, Yang Y D, Man Z M, 2016. Pattern evolution of settlement space in the Zhangjiuhe Basin, Yunnan province, during the past 300 years.Geographic Research, 35(9): 1647-1658. (in Chinese)It is of significance to study the settlement space evolution processes in mountainous areas in exploring the changes in land use and the man-land relationship in different historical stages. The Zhangjiuhe Basin, Yunnan province is studied as the subject in reconstruction of settlement distribution pattern and evolution process over 300 years in the basin through establishment of settlement information database based on the comprehensive utilization of toponymy records, historical documentaries and field investigation data. The results show that,the increase of the number of settlements in the Zhangjiuhe Basin in the past 300 years can be identified in three stages, namely slow growth stage(1701 to 1800), fast growth stage(1801 to1950) and another slow growth stage(1951 to 2000). Spatial study shows the valleys at middle and lower reaches of the river has the greatest density of settlements, which expanded from the middle and lower reaches to middle and upper reaches, and vice versa, as well as from the valley areas to the remote mountainous areas at both sides. As for the primary factors affecting evolution of settlements in the basin, the boundary of natural environmental condition was always broken through, but the areas at the height of 2200 m and 2500 m and with the slope of20 degrees are the important limits for the expansion of settlements. The growth of population is the main driving forces for the settlements expansion. Immigration and settlement of minorities enhanced the feature in the vertical direction of the mountainous settlements.

Jiao Y M, Hu W Y, Su S H, 2006. Spatial pattern and farming radius of Hani settlements in Ailao Mountain using GIS.Resources Science, 5(3): 66-72. (in Chinese)The Yuanyang terraces,famous with its large area,wide distribution,astonishing construction and infrequency in world,was designated as the core area of the cultural landscape of Hani terraces by the government of Honghe district,Yunan province,China.The terraces are the physical basis of Hani peoples' life and the symbolization of Hani peoples' spirit.And the cultural landscape of Hani terraces is the model of sustainable land-use and harmonious human ecosystem between culture and nature.In this paper,the Hani's village in the landscape of Yuanyang Terraced Fields of Ailao Mountain was selected as study area.The pattern indices were computed and analyzed using FRAGSTATS.The granularity,the spatial neighboring length and number between the village patches and other patches,the distributing types and farming radius were calculated using Geographic Information System.The results indicate that: 1) Both the farmland and forestland occupy a big part of the landscape,forming an interlaced pattern of landscape;2) The village patches are dominating in the landscape with features of small mean area of patches,high density and random distribution at all levels;3) All of the arid farmland,the irrigated terrace land and forestland have high neighboring length and number with the village patches;4) The farming radius is differed in regions.It is 799.7m at landscape level,and about 60 percent of the farmland is located within the farming radius,and two fifth of irrigated terrace land is far from Hani's village patches.In the middle part of Yuanyang County,the farming radius is 827 meters and the percentage of patch area both farmland and forestland in buffer zone to the actual area is the highest among the three part of Yuanyang county,which indicate that the region has better farming conditions and the farmland is interlaced with forest;5) In the mountainous region,because of the complex topography and differentiated farming pattern it is limited to include all of the farmland to make discussion.In recent years,China has put forward a strategy to protect the fragile mountainous area,which claimed that if the slope of the farmland was higher than 25 degree,it should be converted into grassland or forestland.This paper provides a basis for the strategy of converting farmland into grassland or forestland.That is,if the slope of the farmland was higher than 25 degree and its output was higher than the regional average,it should be withheld;if the slope of the farmland was higher than 25 degree,and its output was low than the regional average,it should be converted.


Li B, 2007. Scale governance-Structure and function of large-scale village’s organizations: An investigation of Caocun in Zhejiang Province abstract [D]. Hangzhou: Zhejiang Normal University. (in Chinese)

Li B H, Liu C M, Zeng J X, 2009. An evaluation on the satisfaction degree and optimization strategy of rural human settlements: A case study of Jiuheyuan Town in Shishou City.Human Geography, 24(1): 28-32. (in Chinese)The perfect harmony is important to rural human settlements (RHS) for sustainable development of rural region and country's stability.The difference between villagers' expectations and perceptions in reality is the key of how to construct RHS. Only by finding out what the villagers care most can scholars provide credible bases for governments to make rational policy. The paper tries to do some exploratory research on residents' satisfaction degree of RHS with the theories of public goods and fuzzy mathematics in forms of on-site investigation and questionnaire survey. It probes into the primary problems in the constructions of RHS from villagers' perspectives. Meanwhile, the paper gives some suggestions to promote the sustainable developments of RHS. Based on each town's regional characters, the paper constructs the satisfaction degree index system of RHS. The fuzzy judgments matrix is established through fuzzy analytic hierarchy process and checked whether the matrix is consistent with entropy method by using deviation matrix to adjust the fuzzy judgment matrix. The paper concludes the weight of each index, and evaluates the satisfaction degree of RHS on the method of fuzzy comprehensive evaluation. The differences between villagers' expectations and perceptions in reality determine the key-point of RHS construction. After the analysis of villagers' satisfaction of RHS, the paper argues that rural drinking water safety is considered to be the most urgent problem of RHS construction. This problem not only hinders the sustainable development of RHS seriously, but also prevents villagers from getting good health directly. Also, the paper discusses the characters of rural drinking water safety, and suggests the key of protecting rural drinking water safety is the strong intervention of governments. Rural drinking water safety, one part of public goods, consists of several related elements with different characters. So it is a effective way to promote diverst subjects of public goods supply, so as to ensure the safty of raral drinking water.

Li B H, Liu P L, Dou Y D, 2014. Analysis of self-organizing evolution mechanism of rural human settlement system.Economic Geography, 34(9): 130-136. (in Chinese)This article analysis the characteristic and evolution mechanism of rural human settlement system by selforganization theory. Rural human settlement is a dynamic complex giant system which contains 3 elements combinationnatural environment, sociocultural environment and regional environment. Also it possesses the self- organizing characteristic of openness, non-equilibrium nonlinearity and instability. This article stimulates the evolution process and evolution mechanism of rural human settlement system by logistic growth curve models, then presents self-organizing evolutionary path of rural human settlement on the base of households' spatial behavior changes. At last it gives certain countermeasures according to evolution characteristic of rural human settlement system.

Li B H, Zeng J X, 2009. Research on rural human settlement environment based on the changes of the householders’ spatial behaviors.Geography and Geo-Information Science, 25(5): 84-88. (in Chinese)New phenomena and development trends have arisen along with the rapid development of social economy in rural place,for example,the continual deterioration of the rural settlement environment.Based on the changes of the rural householders′ spatial behavior,the framework on the rural inhabitable environment was established and an exploration into the process of the evolution was made from tradition to modern.The study shows that the changes of the householders′ spatial behaviors are the principal driving force for the evolution of the rural settlement environment.To achieve the goal of optimizing the rural settlement environment,relevant policies and suggestions,which aim to guide the householders′ spatial behaviors,should be made based on the internal mechanism of controlling the householders′ spatial behaviors.

Li F, Tang L X, Yu L R , et al. 2013. The analysis of farmers’ life satisfaction and its influencing factors: Based on 10 villages cross-sectional data.Northwest Population Journal, (1): 41-46. (in Chinese)We use the survey data of 10 provinces,which include 698 rural households in 10 villages in China,the null model to discuss the possible use of multilevel model,and the ordered probit model to analyze the demographic characters,economic status,social status of farmers with their life satisfaction.The results show that the life satisfaction of poor households lower than the others,farmers are overall satisfied with their life.With the increase of age of household head,area of housing,categories of durable consumption goods,and the improvement of health of household head,road conditions,village democracy,social interaction,the life satisfaction of farmers increases at a higher possibility.Meanwhile,There is inverted U shaped relationship between farmers' life satisfaction and education.Village characters differences to life satisfaction was not significant.

Li H, Bai X J, 2010. The study on the present situation and influencing factors of life satisfactory of China farmers in the angle of social recognize.Research World, 23(7): 27-30. (in Chinese)

Li H B, Zhang X L, 2012a. A review and trend on rural settlement geography abroad.Human Geography, 27(4): 103-108. (in Chinese)Rural settlements are places of habitation,production and the living for rural people,which are effected profoundly by the nature condition and factors of rural society,economy and culture.Rural settlement geography,as a main subject of rural geography,focuses on its structure type,distribution characteristic,evolution,the environment(natural and social) relations as well as transformation and reconstruction.Nowadays,rural settlement geography research is a hot spot,especially in recent years.The abroad research on rural settlement geography is more comprehensive.This paper,based on plentiful literature,analyses the research contents of rural settlement geography abroad.And divides the research history into four stages: embryonic stage,initial development stage,expansion and change stage,transition and reconstruction stage.Then we conclude rural settlement geography research content system abroad as follows:(1) the impact of factors of rural settlements layout;(2) the types and patterns of rural settlements;(3) the research of rural settlement land use;(4) the landscape study of rural settlements;and(5) ecological research of rural settlements.On the bases of these summarizations,we describe the research and development trends of the subject recently to provide theoretical and practical reference guides for domestic researchers.We argue that rural settlement geography abroad is paying more attention to studying on the socialization and the reconstruction of rural settlements.As we all know,the area of our country's rural region is broad with the numerous population and huge rural settlements.The domestic rural settlement geography research still needs to be strengthened.While the rural settlement of China has changed a lot with the development of society and economy,rural settlement geography research should be paid more attention.We could take the spatial transformation of rural settlements as a breakthrough point,combine with the particularity of China's current rural development,and study the rural settlement spatial reconstruction of the characteristics,the dynamic mechanism,typical patterns.This will be not only helping to build a more reasonable rural settlement spatial transformation theory system,enrich rural geography research,but also reveal the conflicts and problems in rural development.It will be provide a basis for government in formulating rural development strategies and policies to improve the spatial decision-making.

Li H B, Zhang X L, 2012b. Spatial extension in the context of urban and rural development: Village recession and reconstruction.Reform, (1): 148-153. (in Chinese)In the context of building a moderately prosperous society and new socialist countryside,China's rural development runs into the hinge period of accelerated reconstruction.We should combine the particularity of China's current rural development,take the village reconstruction as the breakthrough point,and analyze the types,characteristics and cause of reconstructing villages systematically.On the premise of balancing urban and rural development,we can reconstruct the villages and lead the villages to disappear reasonably.

Li Q L, Ma X D, Shen Y, 2012. Analysis of spatial pattern of rural settlement in northern Jiangsu.Geographical Research, 31(1): 144-154. (in Chinese)Based on the satellite image of northern Jiangsu in 2008,by using spatial metric models such as spatial interpolation,spatial correlation index,and semivarigram,the paper analyzed the spatial pattern characteristics of rural settlements in the northern Jiangsu region.Some conclusions are drawn as follows.(1) The number of rural settlements distributed in the southern part is larger than that of the northern part in the northern Jiangsu region in terms of spatial distribution,espacially they are distributed most densely in central and southern parts of the region,then exhibits a stepwise decrease.(2) Scale distribution of rural settlements shows a strong spatial autocorrelation,and similar areas are respectively characterized by aggregation distributions in space.The high-value clusters of rural settlement scale are distributed mainly in Xuzhou,Lianyungang,and Suqian.The scale of rural settlement distributed in the north is much larger than that of the south in northern Jiangsu in spatial distribution.(3) The shape distribution of rural settlements shows good continuity and stability,the random of the spatial differential pattern is much lower than the mechanism of the structural differentiation caused by natural correlation in space.Spatial difference of rural settlement distribution is much larger,but it shows some concentration.In terms of different orientations,spatial difference of rural settlement distribution is much larger in the southeast-northwest,rural settlement distribution enveloped from ribbon,long rectangle,and rectangle to sugariness or irregular conglomeration.Above all,the formation and development of rural settlements in northern Jiangsu always has strong correlation with natural conditions such as terrain and river,which is less sensitive to social economy,so the distribution of rural settlements in northern Jiangsu shows obvious spatial dependence.


Li W Y, 2012. Study on evaluation of farmers satisfaction of the rural public infrastructure.Journal of Chongqing University (Social Science Edition), (4): 9-15. (in Chinese)The effectiveness of the rural public infrastructure relates to the success or failure of China's new socialist countryside construction.Based on the U.S.ACSI model,the paper presented the evaluation model and indicators of satisfaction of the rural public infrastructure.Then,the case of Wuhan city,the paper used fuzzy comprehensive method to evaluate the satisfaction of the rural public infrastructure.The results showed that,although the satisfaction of the rural public infrastructure in Wuhan City was better,but its very satisfation was not high.The reason,are insufficient capital investment,agriculture-related institutions overlapping functions,low efficiency of investment,low of quality and the main role of farmers' participation in the rural public infrastructure not obvious.Finally,from building rural public infrastructure management model,rural public infrastructure financing model,to respect for the needs of farmers and projects information disclosure mechanism of the rural public infrastructure,and other aspects are discussed to improve the way of the satisfaction of the rural public infrastructure.

Li X J, 2013. Development evaluation and new framework proposal of economic geography.Geographical Research, 32(10): 1865-1877. (in Chinese)This paper examines the development of economic geography and proposes a new framework for further development of this research area. Previous studies on economic geography placed too much emphasis on practice of several developed countries, geographical background of several economies, and fundamental principals of economics rather than on geography. By overcoming this weakness, this study proposes a new framework of economic geography which is specifically situated at the special geographical context of Chinese economic development. This framework attempts to stress on special relationship among population, resources and environment, on special relationship between government and society, on special cultural tradition, and on special academic philosophy. Compared with current main steam economic geography, economic development, man-land harmony,important role played by government, inter-regional relationship among regions under national territory, and close links with physical geography, become foci in this proposal. Moreover,methodologies of both scientific research and social science research are imbalanced. Six important issues under this framework are suggested in Chinese economic geography:(1)changing economic geography after fast economic growth during the past several decades,(2)geographical consequence of involving or overcoming the middle-income trap at both the national and regional levels,(3) regional development and spatial structure of economic actors(enterprises, households and non-government organizations) with strong government intervention,(4) coordinated development among agricultural modernization, urbanization,industrialization and informatization,(5) man-land harmony and regional development, and(6) evolution of spatial patterns of rural settlements during the long history and recently under rapid rural-urban migration. China is a big country with many unique factors affecting economic development, thus, economic geography in China deserves much more attention in the discipline of economic geography in the world.


Li X J, Luo Q, Fan X S, 2009. A study on the formation and evolution of specialized rural villages.China Soft Science, 24(2): 71-80. (in Chinese)Based on the analysis on the concept of specialized village and its roles in the rural development,this paper studies the factors and mechanism on formation and evolution of specialized village.It believes that entrepreneurial farmer is the critical factor in the formation of specialized village,government promotion,market,technology and macro-economic environment determine the direction of specialized village.Furthermore,imitation innovation,network linkage,the economy of scale and the economy of industrial division are considered as the mechanism of formation and evolution of specialized villages,which function through the whole development process of specialized villages.On the basis of theoretical analysis,the paper proposes policy suggestions on promoting development of specialized villages.


Li X J, Shi H N, 2008. Rural development in the less developed region of China: A household perspective.Human Geography, 22(1): 1-6. (in Chinese)This study uses the data from a sample survey conducted in April 2007 on 1251 rural households living in 11 villages of Henan,the largest less developed agricultural province in China,to examine the behaviors of rural households and regional development.The result indicates that,firstly,rural households mainly attribute the obstacles to the development of rural areas to insufficient funds,unfavorable environment which includes poor infrastructure,isolated geographical location,lacking industrial plants,and little arable lands;at the same time,less potential capability of individual peasants,such as lack of technology,poor education background,also adds to the problems to some extent.Secondly,the farmers' expectation for the external support in future years in the development in rural areas is to set up plants or draw outside investments in those areas.Some households hope that the government should help to create favorable development atmosphere for the villages.Thirdly,rural households wish,in the first place,to improve their living standards in near future,yet their final expectations become more inexplicit with longer time spans.Fourthly,most rural households(claims 71.58% of total samples)consider their contemporary living status as "merely satisfactory" or "satisfactory".This indicates that as long as their living standard is improving,rural households will feel happy.Fifthly,there are an adequate amount of rural households who have no clear idea of the concurrent obstacles to the local economic development,the necessary external support,and the expectation of future development.According to the questionnaires,those who "have no idea" on the 3 items above take up as much as 7.0%,14.3% and 29.1% of the total samples respectively.Finally,among the factors which have strong influence on rural households in designing their future development,family income status,education level,and geographical environment is more prevailing.The findings from this study have some policy implications.The policy makers should consider the various behaviors of rural household groups,giving their specific development advice.It is also important to encourage the early-rich families to assist the poor families in finding the suitable ways to utilize their resources.Each household has its potential which should be realized in various methods.

Li X T, Huang H Y, 2013. Analysis of farmers’ satisfaction about current rural infrastructure in the region of central China.Journal of China Agricultural University, (5): 205-212. (in Chinese)The main objective of this study was to assess current situation of the rural infrastructure construction and analyses the farmers'satisfaction with existing infrastructure in rural areas by a survey of 204farmers in Jingzhou Cenhe,Hubei province.The results showed:1)The present situation of energy power,drinking water,transportation,information and communication infrastructure in Cenhe town was good,but irrigation,leisure and entertainment of such infrastructure should be improved.2)Farmers were satisfied with power supply facilities,drinking water facilities,road facilities,information and communication facilities,education and medical facilities,but the degree of satisfaction with irrigation and water conservancy irrigation facilities,entertainment facilities and garbage and sewage treatment facilities was lower.3)There were four major factors that influenced farmers'overall satisfaction with rural infrastructure,orderly,education and medical facilities,water conservancy facilities,health and leisure facilities,energy and transportation facilities.

Li Y, Chen Z X, 1994. A spatial analysis of the system of rural communities in southern Shaanxi.Human Geography, 9(3): 13-21. (in Chinese)On the whole village and house levels,the spatial structure of rural settlement system in southern shaanxi Province is analysised separately in the paper.The evolusion's law of each level is inquird. and the developing trends of rural settlements are forecasted.It provides scientific basis for the construction of villages and towns in southern Shaanxi province.

Li Y N, 1986. The Socialist Political Economics. Beijing: The Commercial Press. (in Chinese)

Lin N, Lu H L, 1989. Investigation of model of structure model about index of society and life quality: A research about the life of Shanghai city residents.Social Sciences in China, 10(4): 75-97. (in Chinese)

Liu S Q, 2006.Ecological Study of Rural Settlements: Theory and Practice. Beijing: China Environmental Science Press. (in Chinese)

Liu Y S, 2007. Rural transformation development and new countryside construction in eastern coastal area of China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 62(6): 563-570. (in Chinese)With the implementation of reform and opening up policies, rapid industrialization and urbanization in the eastern coastal area of China has not only promoted the development of regional economy, enhanced the international competitiveness, but also influenced the vast rural area deeply, bringing great changes to the rural industrial structure, employment structure and agricultural production pattern, and the development of the coastal rural area has come into a new period of transformation and upgrade. The proportion of the primary industry decreased from 23.3% to 7.9% and that of the tertiary industry increased from 19.8% to 40.5%, while the proportion of agricultural labor force decreased from 90.8% to 47.9% during 1978-2005. Analysis shows that proportions of both production value of coastal agriculture in GDP and agricultural labor force in rural labors will continue to decrease to 8.0% and 44.5% by 2010 and to 6.0% and 32.2% by 2020. From 1990 to 2005, the average elasticity coefficient of cultivated land and labor force in the eastern coastal area came to 1.84, which means that the transfer of agricultural labor force is faster than the decrease of cultivated land and the labor productivity is increasing steadily. At the corresponding period, rural population decreased from 306 million to 219 million while rural construction land use per capita increased, indicating that the transfer of rural population failed to be linked to the decrease of rural residential land. The new countryside construction in the eastern coastal area must obey the rules of rural transformation and development, lay stress on scientific plan and regionalization, promote rural productivity and foster interactive and harmonious development between city and countryside by optimizing urban and rural land use and developing modern agriculture and rural characteristic economy.


Liu Y S, 2013. Overcome the “rural disease” in the process of new urbanization.Weishi (Modern Management), (11): 21. (in Chinese)

Liu Y S, Li Y H, 2017. Revitalize the world’s countryside.Nature, 548: 275-277.


Liu Y S, Liu Y, Zhai R X, 2009. Geographical research and optimizing practice of rural hollowing in China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 64(10): 1193-1202. (in Chinese)

Liu Y S, Long H L, Zhang X L , et al. 2011. Research progress and prospect in the disciplines of agricultural geography and rural development in China.Progress in Geography, 30(12): 1498-1505. (in Chinese)This paper firstly reviews the brief development course of the disciplines of agricultural geography and rural development in China,then introduces the recent major achievements and their applications in econom-ic development,finally demostrates the prospect on the new innovative research tasks and scientific proposals in the fields of agricultural geography and rural development to meet the needs of national strategies,based on comparison with related research progress abroad.Recent research progress includes research achievements,the applications of new technologies and methodologies,the establishment of basic research platforms,and talents fostering programmes.The summary of recent research achievements concerns five topics:(1) integrated re-search on agricultural and rural geography;(2) rural hollowing and the renovation of hollowed villages;(3) inte-grated research on building a new countryside;(4) regional agriculture and rural development;and(5) the sys-tematization and internationalization of research achievements.With the implementation of the strategy on "building a new countryside,"relative research concerning new countryside construction and the renovation of hollowed villages has attracted the interest of a wide variety of researchers in China.Recent research results indi-cated that the evolutive process of rural hollowing can be identified into five stages,i.e.,emergence,growth,flourishing,stability,and decline.Based on regional economic development level and its physiographic features,the types of rural hollowing can be categorized as urban fringe,plain agricultural region,hilly agricultural re-gion,and agro-pastoral region.Especially,the plain agricultural region is the most typical one in rural hollow-ing,which shows the spatial evolution of rural hollowing as a"poached egg"pattern with a layered hollow core and solid shape.Furthermore,the driving forces behind rural hollowing are identified as the pull of cities and the push of rural areas.Currently,regional discrepancies,rural poverty,rural land-use issues and the present interna-tional environment are four major potential factors influencing the building of a new countryside in China.Ac-cordingly,some researches have been carried out such as the implication of rural land-use change for building a new countryside,rural development types and their regional differentiation caused by industrialization and ur-banization.In the future,there will be an obvious trend of regionalized and base-oriented agricultural produc-tion,and also an increasing trend of urbanization and industrialization in the rural development of China.There-fore,there is an urgent need for innovative researches on agricultural geography and rural development to pro-vide strong support to the realization of the coordinated and balanced rural-urban development,and the balance between agricultural economy and social issues,and to appropriately deal with the conflict between rural devel-opment and environmental protection.Accordingly,the future of agricultural geography and rural development research may focus on the following themes:(1) the mechanism and the integrated renovation model of hollow-ing village;(2) differentiation and restructuring of rural territorial types;(3) multi-functionality of rural system during the transition period;(4) the new pattern of regional agricultural types;(5) the effect and value of rural el-ements transformation;(6) rural-urban relationship and spatio-territorial restructuring;(7) driving mechanism and competitiveness of rural development;(8) territorial model and institution innovation of building a new countryside;and(9) the long-term strategy and guaranteeing system of building a new countryside in China.


Liu Y S, Yang R, Li Y H, 2013. Potential of land consolidation of hollowed villages under different urbanization scenarios in China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 23(3): 503-512.


Liu Z Q, Zhou A L, Lu Q, 2012. The transition of rural territorial leading function and the classification of rural development stages.Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment, 26(4): 49-54. (in Chinese)Rural territoriy takes on some functions for promoting economy,social,culture and environmental protection,which is rural territorial function.It and urban territorial function accomplish geographic division in a broad sense.Rural territorial function is objective existence but relative value of every function is various in different developing stages.Defining rural territorial function in this paper elaborates characteristics of every function.Based on model of division of stage of socio-economic development proposed by H.B Chenery,we analyzed transition locus of urban and rural territorial functions and classified rural development stages as subsistence-based,industry-driven and multifunction-leading.According to new criterion for classifying industrialization development stage,China's rural is at industry-driven rural development stages overall,suburbs in some metropolitans are at multifunction-leading stage but many rural areas in some provinces and autonomous regions are at subsistence-based stage for a long time.

Long H L, 2013. Land consolidation and rural spatial restructuring.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(8): 1019-1028. (in Chinese)Currently,the implementation of new type industrialization,new type urbanization and agricultural modernization strategy lacks of a major hand grip and spatial sustain platform,due to long-term existed "dual-track" structure of rural-urban development in China as well as unstable rural development institution and mechanism and backward rural and agricultural infrastructures,which greatly affects the advancement of urban-rural integration development.It is necessary to restructure rural production,living and ecological space by carrying out land consolidation,so as to establish a new platform for building new countryside and realize urban-rural integration development in China.This paper develops the concept and connotation of rural spatial restructuring,i.e.,an optimization and adjustment even utterly changing process of rural production,living and ecological space accompanied by rural socio-economic structure reshaping under the pressure of rapid industrialization and urbanization.The connotations of rural spatial restructuring involve three aspects of assembling industrial development,centralizing farmers' living and intensive resources utilization.Based on the effects analysis of industrialization and urbanization on rural production,living and ecological space,this paper also probes the mechanism which push forward rural spatial restructuring by carrying out land consolidation,an important approach to supplying cultivated land,revitalizing the stock land,optimizing rural-urban land,utilizing land intensively,and increasing land productivity.A conceptualization of the models of rural production,living and ecological environment spatial restructuring is analyzed in combination with agricultural land consolidation,hollowed villages consolidation and industrial and mining land consolidation.Finally,the author argues that a "bottom-up" restructuring strategy accompanied by a few "top-down" elements is helpful for smoothly pushing forward current rural spatial restructuring in China.The optimization and restructuring of rural intensive and high-efficient production space,suitable living space with amenity and ecological space with beautiful mountain and clean water will rely on the innovation of regional engineering technology,policy mechanism and mode of rural land consolidation,and more attentions should be paid to rural space,the foundation base and platform for realizing urban-rural integration development.

Long H L, 2014. Land consolidation: An indispensable way of spatial restructuring in rural China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 24(2): 211-225.The implementation of new type industrialization and urbanization and agricultural modernization strategies lacks of a major hand grip and spatial supporting platform, due to long-term existed "dual-track" structure of rural-urban development in China as well as unstable rural development institution and mechanism. It is necessary to restructure rural production, living and ecological space by carrying out land consolidation, so as to establish a new platform for building new countryside and realizing urban-rural integration development in China. This paper develops the concept and connotation of rural spatial restructuring. Basing on the effects analysis of industrialization and urbanization on rural production, living and ecological space, the mechanism of pushing forward rural spatial restructuring by carrying out land consolidation is probed. A conceptualization of the models of rural production, living and ecological spatial restructuring is analyzed combining with agricultural land consolidation, hollowed villages consolidation and industrial and mining land consolidation. Finally, the author argues that a "bottom-up" restructuring strategy accompanied by a few "top-down" elements is helpful for smoothly pushing forward rural spatial restructuring in China. In addition, the optimization and restructuring of rural production, living and ecological space will rely on the innovations of regional engineering technology, policy and mechanism, and mode of rural land consolidation, and more attentions should be paid to rural space, the foundation base and platform for realizing urban-rural integration development.


Long H L, Li Y R, Liu Y S, 2009. Analysis of evaluative characteristics and their driving mechanism of hollowing villages in China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 64(10): 1203-1213. (in Chinese)

Long H L, Liu Y S, Zhang X Let al., 2016. Recent progress in agricultural geography and rural development research.Progress in Geography, 69(8): 1145-1158. (in Chinese)This paper firstly reviews the recent progress in the international research on agricultural geography and rural development, including the research fields, theory and methodology, and the developing trend. Then, the recent research progress, major achievements and their applications in economic development of agricultural geography and rural development in China are analyzed. Finally, the prospects for the new innovative research tasks and scientific propositions in the fields of agricultural geography and rural development in China to meet the needs of national strategies are put forward, based on comparison with related research progress abroad. Recent research progress includes the aspects of research achievements, the applications of new technologies and methodologies, and the influences and applications of major achievements. The summary of recent research achievements includes eight topics: (1) integrated research on agricultural and rural geography; (2) rural transformation development and rural restructuring; (3) integrated research on building a new countryside; (4) urbanization, rural hollowing and the renovation of hollowed villages; (5) the construction of key villages and specialized villages; (6) urbanrural integration development and urban-rural equalized development; (7) regional agriculture and rural development; and (8) the systematization and internationalization of research achievements.


Long H L, Zou J, Pykett J , et al. 2011. Analysis of rural transformation development in China since the turn of the new millennium.Applied Geography, 31: 1094-1105.Since the turn of the new millennium, the Chinese central government has focused significant attention on substantially improving rural residents’ well-being and achieving the coordinated development of urban and rural areas. This paper examines China’s Highlights? Three assessing indicator systems were used to examine China's rural transformation development. ? Rural China has experienced universal and intense transformative development since 2000. ? China's urban--rural coordination development declined greatly between 2000 and 2008. ? Improving policies aimed at various types might be effective way to shape a more coordinated development pattern.


Luo Q, Li X J, 2011. Study on the evolution of farmer interaction network: In the case of Mengzhai village, Henan Province.Reformation & Strategy, 27(4): 93-96. (in Chinese)Farmer interaction network has some features such as embeddedness,multifunction,dynamics and inheritance.According to the dynamics of farmer interaction network,this paper brings forward the four-stage evolutional model of farmer interaction network,and in the case of Mengzhai village,Henan province,illustrates this model.The result shows that in the initial stage,farmer interaction network has simple interactive content,small scale and discrete structure,that in the one nuclear stage individual household' energy is rapidly accumulated,represents significant difference with surrounding farmers,and becomes "star" farmer in the rural,that in the several nuclear stage,the scale of interaction network appears larger than in one nuclear stage,and interactive network structure presents confusion and disorder,and that in high levels of interactive stage,farmer interaction network has larger scale,power and energy flow,and presents orderly structure.

Ma E P, Li T S, Wei Q R, 2016. Mechanism of change in spatial pattern of rural settlements in peri-urban areas of China: A case study of Kangdu Village in the college town of south Xi’an.Progress in Geography, 35(7): 816-828. (in Chinese)半城市化地区因其在社会、经济、景观等方面的过渡性、多样性和动态性,从而得到地理学、城乡规划学、生态学及社会学等多个学科学者的关注。本文重点研究城市化近域推进过程中半城市化地区城乡聚落的消长规律,探讨保留村落的空间格局演化特征及其动力机制。在综述半城市化地区和乡村聚落研究进展的基础上,以西安市南郊大学城康杜村为例,综合运用遥感影像解译、野外调查和统计分析等方法,对其近15年来的聚落空间格局及其演化机制进行研究。结果表明:康杜村在2001-2015年间共经历了4次建房高峰和2次显著的就业变迁,绝大多数原住民的房屋租赁始于2006年;原住民的就业变迁时间与主要的城市化时间节点高度一致;就业变迁与建房高峰之间呈现出“刺激—反馈”的系统演化特征。城市化近域推进的外部驱动和村庄原居民的自我调适是半城市化地区乡村聚落空间格局演化的主要动力。


Mao D Q, 2003. The Study on the Theory and Method of Quality Assessment of Urban Life. Beijing: Atomic Energy Press. (in Chinese)

Massam B H, 2002. Quality of life: Public planning and private living.Progress in Planning, 58(3): 141-227.The search for meaningful definitions and ways to measure and describe the quality of life (QOL) is the focus of this paper. It is argued that planners need to pay close attention to the concept of QOL in order to assess the effects of plans and projects on places and lives of all citizens. The linkages between QOL and the concept of sustainability are explored. A review of a wide variety of literature on QOL is presented and a discussion of the relationships between QOL and the public good. An overview and critique of the variety of indicators used to measure QOL is offered with example of specific projects. A number of case studies are reviewed and particular attention is placed on a set of six recent initiatives in Canada to define and measure QOL. A detailed case study on the perceived QOL of residents in three towns near to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is presented as part of a larger project on the effects of tourism on the QOL of residents in small communities near to international tourist resorts. A description of the use of multi-criteria techniques for analyzing data on QOL is presented as part of the Puerto Vallarta project.


McKenzie P, Cooper A, McCann T , et al. 2011. The ecological impact of rural building on habitats in an agricultural landscape.Landscape and Urban Planning, 101(3): 262-268.The impact of rural building on the type, area and distribution pattern of habitats in a hedged grassland landscape is assessed from a field-mapped survey of a random sample of 25 ha grid squares (1998 and 2007). Buildings covered 4.0% of Northern Ireland in 1998 increasing by 30.4% to 5.2% in 2007. The number, area and edge density of building patches also increased. Building was predominantly on productive agricultural grassland. A relatively small area but wide range of other habitats was built over, in particular broadleaf seminatural woodland and species-rich grassland habitats, specified by the European Habitats Directive as important for their biodiversity. Building on habitats such as wetland, bog and heath, associated with biophysical land use constraints, was much less. Building followed a simple area-proportional model in which habitats with the greatest area were proportionately more built over. The impact of building next to existing buildings and at isolated sites followed a similar pattern. The current land use planning policy and practice does not adequately protect habitats. This paper highlights the importance of implementing a consistent rural development strategy across government sectors to facilitate habitat protection and the ecosystem services they provide.


Montis A D, Ledda A, Serra V , et al. 2017. A method for analysing and planning rural built-up landscapes: The case of Sardinia, Italy.Land Use Policy, 62: 113-131.The implementation of the European Landscape Convention has paved the way for innovative tools able to analyse scattered and medium-small size elements, far beyond the usual isolated relevant landmarks. In this context, planners have been confronted with the problem of defining those characteristics of rural landscapes which are typical of agricultural and forestry activities and ecosystems. The specific focus on rural landscapes has attracted the interest of international scientists. They have approached the question from many perspectives, but have rarely analysed the interplay between landscapes, buildings, and settlements. In this paper we design and apply a method which is able to define, analyse and plan built-up rural landscapes. This method is based on organizing qualitative and quantitative landscape information in fact sheets, a tool that was often used in the last generation of landscape atlases in Italy. We have investigated three landscape units in Sardinia, Italy, one of the first administrations to approve a regional landscape plan which conformed with the European Landscape Convention. Our evidence demonstrates that the method is powerful, as it helps in the identification of the main characteristics of each rural built-up landscape and the drafting of general planning propositions. In particular, the method proves useful in stressing the cross-fertilization between building types and the shape of the rural landscapes: single story buildings on plains and multi-story buildings in mountainous areas. While the method is clearly influenced by the European Landscape Convention and the Italian local regulations, it is based on general principles and can be applied, with proper adaptations, to other cases worldwide.


Myers D, 1988. Building knowledge about quality of life for urban planning.Journal of the American Planning Association, 54(Summer): 347-358.Abstract The comprehensive notion of community quality of life holds important opportunities for planning. Popular interest in the subject, both as a curiosity and as a goal of many interest groups, may assist with the public relations of planning and may provide a basis for negotiating consensus in planning goals. To date, planners have focused largely on individual elements of quality of life, such as transportation or housing; they have not defined and measured systematically the comprehensive community quality of life. This article describes a research method suitable for planning and contrasts it with alternative social science approaches that yield different results. The community-trend method stresses the role of quality of life within a system of ongoing development processes. The method also seeks greater policy relevance by grounding the measurements in local political reality.


Nelson P B, 2001. Rural restructuring in the American West: Land use, family and class discourses. Journal of Rural Studies, 17(4): 395-407.Migration patterns, technological developments, and altered human-and relationships are combining to precipitate tremendous changes in rural communities across the western US. These processes of restructuring, however, have been quite contentious and divisive for many of the region's small towns. While we are beginning to understand the causes of recent growth and development trends, the consequences of contemporary forces of restructuring on communities remain unstudied. This paper explores the reactions of residents to forces of restructuring in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, the Methow Valley, Washington, Kane County, Utah, and Teton Valley, Idaho. In depth interviews and survey responses give voice to community members by allowing them to articulate their perceptions and interpretations of recent events. The analyses demonstrate tremendous diversity in the ways in which individuals interpret the changes taking place around them. These diverse interpretations challenge singular conceptions of community and highlight the ways in which notions of land use, family, and class are negotiated in the context of contemporary rural restructuring. The analysis further demonstrates the need for a more synthesized field of rural studies spanning disciplinary and national divides.


Qiao J J, Li X J, Ge Z, 2009. Village-level commercial economic activity space based on 580 rural households surveyed.Economic Geography, 29(5): 817-922. (in Chinese)This paper uses the data from 580 rural households of 5 administration villages, which represent different villages, and then it takes 5 villages with different income levels and different terrain conditions in Henan for example. Through a questionnaire survey, it concludes a spatial hierarchical structure of rural residents' consumption and agricultural products sales based on different administrative scales (village level, township level,county level,city level). According to this survey, these 5 villages have different consumption structures. This paper tries to establish a pattern of centre structure and research methodology based on rural households in order to compare it with the classical center place theory based commercial infrastructure. The research on commercial center structure and space of rural residents travel has a theoretical significance to some degree. It also comparatively analyzes the spatial difference between the 5 villages and attempts to interpret it.

Ren P, Zhou J M, He W , et al. 2006. Marking investigations in peasants’ satisfaction in the course of integration of urban and rural.Yunnan Geographic Environment Research, (1): 75-78. (in Chinese)The final purpose of advancing integration of urban and rural is to achieve the honour altogether in urban and rural areas,among them peasants'problem solves and becomes the key of success or failure of integration of urban and rural or not.How are peasants of the pilot town of several integration of urban and rural of Chengdu nowadays the life situation,it is a question receiving much concern too.Through the field investigation,adopt the fuzzy mathematics method,the present state to them,carry on fuzzy comprehensive appraisal,draw their satisfaction,find out the existing problem,offer reference for general development of integration of urban and rural in the future.Calculating through the treatment to census datas,the result showshe satisfaction of peasants of the pilot cities and towns of integration of urban and rural of Chengdu is in satisfiedly and generally satisfied with the stating.

Rostow W W, 1971. Politics and the Stages of Growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 17.

Shanghai Urban Social and Economic Survey Team (SUSEST), 2002. Building evaluation index system of quality of life for urban residents.Shanghai Statistics, (12): 16-19. (in Chinese)

Tan X L, Yu S Y, Ouyang Q L , et al. 2017. Assessment and influencing factors of rural hollowing in the rapid urbanization region: A case study of Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan urban agglomeration.Geographical Research, 36(4): 684-694. (in Chinese)In recent years, rural hollowing has become a common phenomenon in China's rural social and economic development.The essence of rural hollowing is considered to be an important part of the evolution of rural regional systems in the urban-rural transition. China is currently in a critical period of urban-rural transition and reconstruction. Urban and rural population mobility, as well as the reorganization and interactions of socio-economic development factors, have accelerated. A direct result is rural overpopulation, idle homestead,and economic backward. In some areas, there has emerged an obvious "rural disease." Therefore, understanding the regional differentiation of the rural hollowing during the new period, adapting to the new trends of rural population mobility and changes in villages during the process of new urbanization, and optimizing the rural population, industry, and use of land space are important strategic issues to be solved urgently, and are important problems in rural geography that need to be solved. By constructing the frame and index system, which measures the three aspects of land, population and economy of rural hollowing, 23 counties and districts of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan area were used as the research units. Using the entropy method, multi-index comprehensive evaluation and multiple regression analysis, the spatial variability of rural hollowing was investigated, and the key influencing factors and mechanisms of hollowing were also discussed. The results show that the hollowing of land in Changsha,Zhuahou and Xiangtan agglomeration is gradually reduced from the center of the city to the fringe. The hollowing of the population is characterized by a high area in the central part,whilst there is low area in the northern part. The high and low distributions of economic hollowing have very similar characteristics to the low and high distributions of population hollowing. The spatial distribution of the comprehensive hollowing is unbalanced, and dominated by middle and low levels, with the spatial distribution of gradually slowing down from the central city to the east and west of the urban fringe. The distance from the central city has a more obvious influence on the spatial distribution of the comprehensive hollowing level.There are great differences in the modes, degrees and intensities of various factors. The increase in the income of farmers and the development of the regional economy, the size of the rural population, and the change in the employment structure are the leading and direct influencing factors of rural hollowness, land use patterns and efficiency changes, which inhibit the aggravation of the degree of rural hollowing.

Tang L J, Wang D Y, Wang L L, 2014. Rational distribution of rural settlements based on farming radius: A case study in rural-urban construction land in Yiyuan County, Shandong Province.China Population, Resources and Environment, 24(6): 59-64. (in Chinese)In order to promote the rural construction land consolidation and promote land saving and intensive use,the urban and rural construction land projects are carried on in China. The merger of villages is involved in the urban and rural construction land projects process. Problems appeared during the implementation process,and the choice of resettlements is one of the problems. In order to ensure the enough field operating time,the distance between the resettlements and tillage plots should be reasonable. The premise of the rational distribution of rural settlements is ensuring the enough field operation time,so reasonable fanning radius is the key for whether the site selection is reasonable and whether the project can be executed. On the basis of previous studies,a systematic study about farming radius is made in this paper. The influencing factors of farming radius are considered. 11 factors are selected,from four aspects of nature,society,economy and land use,and the mechanism of action between the influencing factors and farming radius is studied. In order to determine the affecting factors of the farming radius,the Delphi technique and AHP method are used. By analyzing the result,the decisive factors of the fanning radius are determined. We studied the reasonable farming radius in Lucun Town of Yiyuan County in Shandong Province in this paper. We use farming radius general calculation model to calculate the reasonable farming radius.In order to make the result more accurate,a large number of investigations are made in the study area. Substituting the survey data into the model,we find that the reasonable fanning radius is 3. 2 km. This result means all the rural villages which the distances from their farmland to the new center village were no more than 3. 2 km can be amalgamated to the center village. At this stage,the ratio of nonhuman way to travel and mechanization agricultural tools are low in the study area. Improving the ratio of high speed transportation and widely using mechanization agricultural tools are important ways to ease the limit of farming radius.

Tian Y P, 2011. The dilemma of urban-rural integration under the village of “depopulation”.Zhejiang Academic Journal, 49(5): 31-35. (in Chinese)

Wang Y, Li G B, 2011. Functional transformation and spatial restructuring of rural settlements in southern Jiangsu: A case study of Suzhou.City Planning Review, 35(7): 54-60. (in Chinese)Based on the spatial relationship between rural production and inhabitation,through tracing historical events that impact on the rural settlement function evolution in Southern Jiangsu,this paper comprehensively discusses the changes of function and spatial form of rural settlements in Southern Jiangsu since 1978.It finds that the function of rural settlements in Southern Jiangsu has experienced three modes since 1978.The original mode was "industrial production+ agricultural production+ habitation",then the "industrial production" was separated from "agricultural production+ habitation",after that,the three functions were independent.With the function transformation of rural settlements,the spatial segregation of industrial production,agricultural production and habitation is more obvious.Local government plays an important role in reconstructing rural spatial form at present in Southern Jiangsu.Lastly,it examines the practices in new countryside development

Wang Y F, 2010. Clan, size and average income in villages: Evidence from China.Nankai Economic Studies, (3): 64-72. (in Chinese)This paper considers the effect of clan structure and village size on villagers' income.We argue that the power of clan will weaken villagers when they act as independent market entities,but it may coordinates villagers when they product collectively.People in a village with a undersized population may get less since they have a smaller social network,but oversized population may weaken the virtue of social network and perhaps with a inefficient governance.Since the current administrative division is legacy of planned economy which may be optimal for such economy but the optimal size for a modernized market society may bigger than it.These are consistent with our data which shows that villagers' income varies and gain less if they live in a village with a monopolistic clan and there's an inverted U shaped relationship between the population of village and villagers' income with a optimal population at 6,400,and most villages' population are smaller than it.

Woods M, 1997. Discourses of power and rurality: Local politics in Somerset in the 20th century.Political Geography, 16(6): 453-478.ABSTRACT This paper examines the changing nature of the local power structure of a rural county in the UK during the 20th century. In contrast to previous accounts, which have focused on the material factors behind political restructuring, this paper follows recent thinking in political geography in considering the interrelation between ‘the cultural’ and ‘the political’. Using empirical examples from Somerset, the evolution of the local power structure is examined from the perspective of the discourses of power and rurality used to legitimate the leadership position of political elites. Domination of local governance at the start of the century by a landowning elite based on discourses of ‘the country gentleman’ and ‘stewardship’ is replaced after the first world war by a broader elite of landowners and farmers united by discourses of ‘agriculture’ and ‘community’. After the second world war the power structure fragments under pressure from new non-agricultural political actors acting within an environmentalist discourse. The paper concludes by discussing the empirically derived model in the context of the concept of ‘societalization’.


Wu L Y, 2001. Introduction to Sciences of Human Settlements. Beijing: China Architecture & Building Press. (in Chinese)

Yang R, Liu Y S, Long H L , et al. 2015. Research progress and prospect of rural transformation and reconstruction in China: Paradigms and main content.Progress in Geography, 34(8): 1019-1030. (in Chinese)


Zeng J X, Yang Q Q, Liu Y J , et al. 2016. Research on evolution and influential mechanism for rural human settlement in national key ecological function areas: A case of Lichuan.Human Geography, 31(1): 81-88. (in Chinese)This paper use the method of AHP and FCE to proposed a new evaluation system of rural human settlement environment for the major ecological function zone. An evaluation of the rural human settlement environment is obtained by this new evaluation system for the Lichuan from 1998 to 2012. Furthermore, the spatial changes of natural ecological environment and social economy elements are analyzed by using the software of Arcgis and the investigation. Based on this, the evolution mechanisms of the rural human settlement environment are explored. Three conclusions are obtained in this paper: the first one is the construction of rural human settlement environment for the major ecological function zones are improved well the second one is that the social economic environment and the spatial pattern of ecological environment improved well; the last one is that the national policy gradually changed from imbalance to balanced.

Zhang D Y, Pan L, 2008. Thirty years’ reform in rural area: A survey in Anhui Province.Chongqing Social Sciences, 26(12): 14-16. (in Chinese)Based on the survey in sixteen rural cities of Anhui province,we concluded that farmers are satisfied with opening-up policies because under the instruction of these policies their situation was improved totally.Develop- ment,however,seems to be unbalanced in rural area.With rapid changes in rural cities,farmers also have more clear consciousness of market economy.

Zhang J X, Zhang X L, Zhang W, 2002. On planning organization of rural settlement system.Human Geography, 17(1): 85-96. (in Chinese)Rural Geography is an important branch of Human Geography. The evolution of the rural settlement is one of the key research fields in Rural Geography. Under the new economic and social development background, the importance and value rural areas of is being re-recognized. To carry out the reasonable planning and organization of it and form the settlement system in match with the regional macro-social economic background it has an important realistic meaning to the integral coordinative development of urban and rural regional space. This article expounds the evolution theories and planning organization theories of rural settlement system. As to the evolution of rural settlement system, it puts forward four steps of regional spatial course: rural society step, transition step, industrialization step and technical industry and high consumption step. This article also makes a research of the international strategic methods to rural settlement system organization, including the integration strategy of functional regions, selective spatial sealing strategy and rural urban development strategy. In combination with the case studies in Jiangsu,this paper focuses on discussing the choice and building of central towns and villages auxiliary facilities and the policies and so on?It points out: ①to realize the combination and re-organization of towns and villages through the construction of central towns; ②to realize the intensive business of agricultural space through the construction of central villages; ③to realize the guide of rural settlement system optimization through auxiliary supporting systems. Besides, this article puts forward the main standards of the selection and building of central villages: ①location advantage; ②connective reasonableness; ③scale economy; ④land use saving.

Zhang L, Du H R, Lei J Q , et al. 2016. Influencing factors of reconstructing the rural residential areas in minority area in Hotan, Xinjiang.China Population, Resources and Environment, 26(6): 136-147. (in Chinese)The reconstruction of the rural residential areas is not only the way to modernize the rural areas,but also is the important way to realize the intensive utilization of land. Hotan region,which is slow in economic development and has the prominent contradiction between man and land because of the rapid increasing of population,is on the way of reconstructing the rural residential area. This paper is based on 1 162 household survey questionnaires in Hotan region in 2015 and chooses 19 factors from four categories which are named individual characteristic variables,family characteristics,professional characteristic variables,living environment characteristics as the independent variables. The paper uses peasants 'willingness moving to the central village as the dependent variable and use the binary logistic model to have a regression analysis to the influence factors and the relocation willingness. Statistics of the questionnaire shows that 64% of respondents said they would like to accept reconstructing rural residential areas. Compared with other regions,results indicate that peasants in the less developed area are less likely to move than peasants in the relatively developed area. Peasants' willingness of reconstructing is based on the joint results of farm households,residential and the professional characteristic. The family with less labors,higher income and moderate cultivated land has higher willingness of reconstructing. In the same time,the peasant who would like to participate in land circulation and has the experience of being migrant workers will prefer to accept the reconstruction of rural residential area. Besides,if peasants are quite unsatisfied with the current living environment,they will also have higher willingness of reconstruction. Therefore,in the process of guiding peasants' reconstruction,the local government should guide peasants to have land circulation,promote more employment,promote the development of characteristic agriculture,and follow the path of agricultural modernization so as to promote sustained growth of peasants' income. In addition,one of the peasants' expectations for reconstruction is to improve the living environment. So in the process of overall planning and construction,the village infrastructure and residential construction should be actively improved. For a long time,there is less research on reconstruction of the rural residential areas in less developed areas. In this paper,the study of central village in Hotan region is important supplement to the reconstruction research in arid zone and the less developed areas.

Zhang T, Liu Y X, Wang Y L, 2017. The rural spatial evolution and reconstruction on a resilience view.Acta Ecologica Sinica, 37(7): 2147-2155. (in Chinese)With the development goal of urban-rural integration and the strategic needs of new rural construction recently,reasonable reconstruction of rural production,living,and ecological space is fundamental for rural area development and transformation in China.In the present study,a major concept was emphasized,where resilience was defined as the ability of a system to maintain its original structure,characteristics,feedback,and function after absorbing interferences and experiencing changes and reconstructions.The construction of rural community resilience is determined by social economic conditions;however,more focus should be on the local economy and employment,local environmental quality,and establishing a strong social sense of belonging.At this level,the promotion of rural community resilience is intrinsic with rural production,living,and the improvement of ecological conditions,resulting in the integrated sustainable development of the rural economy,society,and ecology.In the present study,we emphasized and integrated a series of core concepts about resilience,such as social-ecological,rural community,and spatial resilience.A more suitable reconstruction and evolution for the Chinese rural area could be established if a deeper understanding of the correlation between these concepts is developed,with the combined resilience method from the current study.We interpreted the evolution process of the village space using the resilience concept,based on the macroscopic ecology.Simultaneously,an abstract comprehension of the rural evolution and reconstruction was performed in the present study,which could enhance the theoretical connotation of rural space evolution and reconstruction,and provide a more effective understanding of the evolutionary process and reconstruction target forthe rural area.Furthermore,the present study embedded the evolutionary phase of rural space into the socialecological adaptive cycle,which will elucidate the adaptive social-ecological cycle in the geographical research.We emphasized that rural spatial reconstruction was optimized for landscape space at the land-planning level;moreover,we need to improve the socio-ecological resilience and develop the rural spatial reconstruction from the perspective of rural spatial evolution mechanisms.Under a resilience framework,we should construct an intensive and efficient rural production space based on rural economic resilience,and develop a comfortable living space relying on social resilience.The ecological space should also be optimized based on the ecological resilience,and these could be identified as a suitable way to reconstruct the rural space.Based on the dynamic characteristics of the adaptive cycle,it is necessary to strengthen the dynamic monitor for the rural spatial reconstruction process in future research.The critical threshold of socio-ecological evolution under the transformation of rural development should also be quantified in further research.


Zhang X L, Sheng M, 2005. The reorientation of rural geography in China.Human Geography, 17(1): 81-84. (in Chinese)Rural Geography is a weak branch of Human Geography in China. It is an important task for us to develop rural studies because rural population constitutes the majority. Rural areas occupy the most territory of China. The artical analyses the main research contents of Rural Geography, Rural Society, Rural Economics. The authers think these three branches have paticular emphasis. Rural Geography pays attention to different rural problems from spatial perspective angles. Rural Economics follows the laws of rural economic systems. Rural Society pays much more attention to the changes of rural society. But they have overlapping parts. Rural problems have regional and comprehensive characteristics: the functions of rural areas are changing, industrial and social structure are experiencing overall transformation from tradition to modenization. At present, Rural Geography needs to be reoriented. We should take changes of rural society and economy as the main clue to research and probe into spatial structure pattern and its law.

Zhang Y T, Xiao Y Y, 2009. Influences of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) on scale and structure of Chinese residential areas.Huazhong Architecture, 27(6): 164-167. (in Chinese)This article analyzes the advantages of Transit Oriented Development in China,sums up the scale and structure of residential areas suitable for urban development based on the TOD theory and by some practical cases.

Zhao K, Hui Z J, 2008. Research of rural suitable farming radius in north Shanxi yellow soil inter-vale area. Shanxi Architecture, 34(8): 14-15. (in Chinese)It discusses the different meaning and affecting factors of farming radius in each stages,and brings forward the rural suitable farming radius under socialism modernization new group construction of north Shanxi yellow soil inter-vale area,so as to offer scientific foundations for socialism new group construction on basis of mitigate the paradox between agricultural producing actuality and agricultural modernization development.

Zhao R, Wang E Y, Zhang X L et al., 2006. Human Geography. Beijing: Higher Education Press. (in Chinese)

Zhen W R, 2010. Evaluation and optimization of rural public service based on the farmers’ satisfaction in Zhejiang.Agricultural Economy, 30(7): 15-17. (in Chinese)

Zheng H W, Gao J Z, Zang Y J , et al. 2017. Analysis on farmers’ satisfaction at rural ecological civilization construction.Bulletin of Soil and Water Conservation, 37(4): 52-57. (in Chinese)

Zhou G H, He Y H, Tang C L , et al. 2013. Dynamic mechanism and present situation of rural settlement evolution in China.Journal of Geographical Sciences, 23(3): 513-524.This paper makes a deep analysis of the influencing factors in rural settlements evolution,including natural environment constraints,infrastructure,regional cultural inheritance and integration,urbanization and rural industry transformation,land use reformation and innovation,rural household behavior conversion,macro-control policy factors,and so on.Based on the differences between their effective way and degree to rural settlements evolution,these factors are classified into base factors,new-type factors and mutation factors.The driving of base factors is mainly focused on traditional inheritance of rural settlements,the new-type factors mainly have effect on rural settlements transition,and the mutation factors may bring about sudden change.All these factors constitute"three-wheel"driving mechanism of rural settlements evolution,and shape three typical driver paths,which are slow smooth path under the base factors,new path to rapid development under the new-type factors,sudden change path under the mutation factors. The paper also investigates the overall situation of rural settlements evolution in the aspects of the settlement system,settlements scale,settlements morphology,settlements function, settlements culture,settlements environment,and so on.And the general process of rural settlements evolution is divided into four stages,i.e.,initial stage,transitional stage, development stage and mature stage.


Zhou Q H, 2009. Loess Plateau.Settlements in the Valleys: Spatial Patterns of Human Settlements in Northern Shaanxi. Beijing: China Architecture & Building Press. (in Chinese)

Zhou X Q, Zhang X L, 2005. Retrospect and expectation of rural geography in China.Economic Geography, 25(2): 285-288. (in Chinese)Rural geography, as a branch of human geography established long time ago in western countries, was introduced in China in 1930s, which initial research focused on rural settlement and land utilization. In the first twenty years after Country-Foundation rural geography research have been simplified into the study of agriculture, till 1980s it just entered into the right path, which leading to acquire abundant research results and set up a steady basis for the subsequent work. Rural geography researches in 1990s succeed to the merit of that in 1980s, and achieved plentiful and substantial harvest with more researchers' support, more advanced techniques and more available means. Any way, rural geography in China is still a weak subject now.Comparing with the development of rural geographical abroad, there are many deficiencies in our research: ① the system of subject is still weakness; ② poor of philosophical base; ③ the study field is still confined in tradition topic, and need to deepen; ④ the study means is still simple.Therefore, we should pay more attention to such facts of rural geography in the future: ① attaching importance to the development of subject; ② strengthening the base of subject; ③ paradigm should turn from special analyze to social/cultural analyze; ④ studying hot-spot field, such as the conflict of economy development and environment, the evaluation of rural resource, the reconstruction of rural space and the behavioral change of farmer.

Zhu X H, Chen Y F, Liu Y S , et al. 2010. Technique and method of rural land consolidation potential investigation and assessment: A case study of Yucheng City, Shandong Province.Acta Geographica Sinica, 65(6): 736-744. (in Chinese)Along with the advancement of new countryside construction and the launch of coordinating urban-rural strategy,the government and academic circles have paid more attention to the hollowed village problem.As a result,the hollowed village regulation has been turning from a pure academic question to a major action currently taken to expand domestic demand,to push forward the new countryside construction and to realize urban-rural coordination.However,investigation and assessment of hollowed village land consolidation potential is the premise and crux of launching the mission of hollowed village regulation.This paper took 13 typical villages including Xuji of Yucheng City in Shandong Province as examples,and synthetically integrated the advantages and technique methods of multiple disciplines such as geography,3S technology,land science,and information science,etc.Based on this,it built the technique and method system of hollowed village land consolidation potential investigation and assessment.During the process,we studied from different angles,such as choosing typical hollowed villages,making up current land use classification system on the village scale,designing the schedule and questionnaire for household surveys,as well as the usage and interpretation of high resolution remote sensing images,the classification of hollowed village regulation potential and the corresponding assessment models,and so on.Through the case study of Yucheng City,Shandong Province,the technique and method system built in this paper has proved to be inventive,well-founded,and easy to put into practice.Also,the result of hollowed village potential investigation and assessment was proved to be consistent with the real situation in Yucheng City and good results were gained,which could help to make use of the land consolidation potential of hollowed villages in China.


Zhu X Q, Wang Z, Ying S A, 2010. The evolution and spatial adaptability of mixed-use settlements: Analysis on live-work unit under “Zhejiang pattern”.Economic Geography, 30(6): 933-937. (in Chinese)Based on the mixed-use development in Chinese urbanization,this paper illustrates the motivation of live-work residence.With the core of live-work community,spatial analysis on settlement is given at scale of cluster and unit.Typical configuration models simulate various mixed-use paradigms,and spatial performance are assessed by industrial and residential rules.Then,planning ordinance and regulation modification are provided as applicable approaches.Lastly,through spatial optimization for live-work inhabitant pattern,constructive strategies are given to improve mixed-use development in small towns and cities.

Zhu X X, Zhu J G, Qiao J J, 2016. Research progress and Chinese rural settlement. Human Geography, 31(1): 33-41. (in Chinese)

Zhu Y L, Zhou L H, Huang Y B , et al. 2009. The influential factors and regional differences of farmers’ life satisfaction in the agro-pastoral ecotones of northern China: A case study in Yanchi County.Economic Geography, 29(2): 303-307, 279. (in Chinese)Life satisfaction is the sense of happiness in the meaning of life quality.Life satisfaction was acquired by methods of household research,and research results show that farmers'life satisfaction is influenced by many factors and various in different regions.This paper analyses generally the related factors which influence farmers' life satisfaction using the methods of SPSS.At the same time,the regional differences of farmers'life satisfactions are analyzed by Pearson correlative analysis.The result shows that Life satisfaction of YanChi County is influenced by income and environment,but the regional differences of life satisfaction are closely related to differences of the personal income and have little correlativity with differences of the natural environment.