Review Articles

Review of and prospects for China’s human and economic geography

  • CHEN Mingxing ,
  • LONG Hualou ,
  • WANG Chengjin ,
  • HUANG Jinchuan ,
  • NIU Fangqu , *
  • Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Author: Chen Mingxing, PhD and Associate Professor, E-mail:

Received date: 2017-06-21

  Accepted date: 2017-08-10

  Online published: 2017-12-10

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671125, No.41101119, No.41530634

National Key Research and Development Plan, No.2016YFC0503506


Journal of Geographical Sciences, All Rights Reserved


The “High-Level Forum of the Development of China’s Human Geography Under the Background of Change” was held in Beijing on January 22-23, 2016. More than 30 professors attended this forum. At this conference, they discussed the major progress made towards developing China’s human geography, as well as the existing problems, limiting factors, opportunities, international collaborations, emerging directions, and prospects in the development of this discipline. In recent years human geography has boomed, generating many important opportunities for its development. Establishing an academic community for joint research on major research issues and collaborative innovation is a promising and important route to take. We should embrace both domestic and international characteristics, to promote China’s human geography onto the world stage. Meanwhile, the cultivation of various scholarly talents is also of great value to enrich and advance the discipline.

Cite this article

CHEN Mingxing , LONG Hualou , WANG Chengjin , HUANG Jinchuan , NIU Fangqu . Review of and prospects for China’s human and economic geography[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2017 , 27(12) : 1556 -1576 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-017-1452-y

1 Introduction

According to the proposal put forward by Lu Dadao, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the “High-Level Forum of the Development of China’s Human Geography Under the Background of Change”, sponsored by the Geographical Society of China (GSC), was held in Beijing on January 22-23, 2016. This proposal generated positive responses by nationwide well-known scholars, as more than 30 well-known scholars attended this conference. They hailed from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (Chinese Academy of Sciences [CAS]) and the Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology (CAS), Peking University, Tsinghua University, East China Normal University, Nanjing University, Sun Yat-sen University, South China Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Nanjing Normal University, Northwest University, Soochow University, Beijing Normal University, and GSC. Experts attending this conference participated in a wide and deep discussion of several aspects of human geography, such as discipline orientation, practical demands for serving the nation and regions, international development, opportunities and challenges, development prospects, countermeasures and suggestions, etc. The conference was characterized by a full program and heated debate. This present text, based on this forum activities, reviews the latest developments and progress in China’s human geography. Besides the cited references given, main standpoints of this paper are all cited from the contents addressed by experts attending this conference.

2 Review of China’s human geography in recent years

“Developing the discipline with tasks” goes through the whole developing process of China’s human geography. China’s human geography plays a significant role in the major plans and tasks for national socio-economic development. These include “National Territorial Planning”, “Main Functional Zone Planning”, “One Belt and One Road”, “Revitalization of Northeast China”, the “Development of Western China”, and the “Rise of Central China”, etc. (Lu, 2015c; Liu et al., 2011; Fang et al., 2011; Li et al., 2014). The history of discipline development since China’s reform and opening-up may be roughly divided into three phases: (1) Renaissance phase: In this phase, the key representative person is Li Xudan, who positively introduced classical Western regional schools and knowledge structures, especially by putting an emphasis on “cultivating outstanding talents and creating excellent books” to revive the development of China’s human geography. (2) Phase with special characteristics: In this phase, the key representative person is Wu Chuanjun, who emphasized that we can do everything that is good for the development of China’s human geography when we learn from Western countries. Furthermore, he put forward a regional system theory of the human-land relationship, developing human geography with Chinese characteristics by addressing the construction of the national economy. (3) Phase of deepening development: In this phase, the key representative person is Lu Dadao, who emphasized that human geography is a humanistic and pragmatic discipline, and that geographers should have national feelings. On the basis of learning Western regional theory, he proposed a “point-axis system theory” for the first time, and proposed a T-typed spatial structure on the basis of his “point-axis system theory”, which still guides the macro-level thinking of China’s regional development patterns.
Figure 1 Publications of human geography in three major geographical journals, from 2005 to 2015
In recent years, the number of papers on China’s human geography has continued to increase. The proportion of those published in Acta Geographica Sinica has remained steady, at c. 45%, whereas those published in Geographical Research and Scientia Geographica Sinica have clearly increased, reaching to c. 60% (Figure 1). In general, since the reform and opening-up, China’s human geography has made splendid achievements in many aspects, namely the compilation and publication of academic papers, the policy consultation function for serving the national strategy, and the raising of science and research funds, and so on (Wu et al., 1999), and by greater inclusion of sub-disciplines, namely those of culture geography, time geography, geopolitics, tourism geography, and urban geography (Zhou et al., 2014; Chai et al., 2009; Du et al., 2015; Bao et al., 2012; Xue et al., 2014; Yu et al., 2012).
Six geographical journals (Acta Geographica Sinica, Scientia Geographica Sinica, Geographical Research, Progress in Geography, Economic Geography, Human Geography) and five urban planning journals (Urban Planning, Urban Planning Forum, Urban Problems, Urban Studies, Planners)—the most representative journals—were chosen as the literature sources, with a time window dating back to 1980, which amounted to 23 342 retrieved articles in all. Next, a comprehensive analysis was made on the high-frequency keywords used in these publications, according to different time periods and the entire time window. Geography at each period paid attention to not only inherited ideas and topics, but also to novel further developments. High-frequency keywords consisted of climatic change, land use, sustainable development, urbanization, spatial pattern, geographic information system (GIS), spatial structure, regional development, geographical science, regional economy, economic development, and index system.

2.1 Study of economic geography under globalization

Under the background of global change and sustainable development, study objects addressed by contemporary geography are becoming more comprehensive and complicated (Song et al., 2006). The development of geography also faces the situation of trying to cope with the significant realistic backgrounds and decision-making demands forced by global environmental change, economic globalization, global geopolitical structure, and governance structure (Lu, 2011). Global environmental change is mainly characterized by biodiversity losses, vegetation cover and its response to change. Economic globalization is mainly concerned with growth, scale, and hotspot regions, regional integration processes (e.g., “One Belt and One Road”), urban and regional development, as represented by new-type urbanization, and technology changes, as represented by Internet+. Together, these will influence the industrial economy, posing significant problems such as supply-side reform and transformation, mitigation of resource and environment pressure, optimization of land use, and so on, which provide the disciplinary study and its fertile development. Against this background, the study of economic geography study includes characteristics of topical humanization and scientific methodology: these topics are to positively cope with new problems arising from reform and development, ceaselessly developing toward the direction of humanization, socialization, and functionization. However, the method of study used consistently displays an attempt of scientization, by combining qualitative and quantitative analyses, which reveals the strong trend of technicalization in this field.
Compared with the paradigm-oriented discussion and theoretical construction tradition of Western economic geography, the study of Chinese economic geography is strongly flavored by its practice-oriented approach (Liu, 2014; He et al., 2014). This pragmatism is justified by China’s national situation and its developing mode of “developing the discipline with tasks”, which fosters a close relationship with system and policy characteristics as applied to the complicated problems that inevitably occur during periods of transformation and development. Additionally, the planning guidance, regional guidance and comprehensive guidance are the concentrated embodiment of China’s economic geography as it participates in nationally important strategic decision-making. With the ongoing development of China’s market economy, to further promote discipline construction while also sustaining the deepening of international communication, our thinking on the problems, scales, and methods of economic geography study will vary accordingly. Under the edifice of economic geography, as a whole, the important scientific problems it must address vis-à-vis the change of globalization should include the following: change and governance of global politics, economy, society and environment; influence of state systems; policy and governance structures; regional collaboration and trans-regional governance; novel factors, and the power of urban and regional development; mechanism of interactions among many interested communities over multiple spatio-temporal scales, as well as their spatial effects; economic geography analysis; and visualization methods in the era of big data.

2.2 Study on the decision-support of urbanization and economic growth

In March 2014, China issued its “New Urbanization Plan (2014-2020)”, which marked the great transformation of China’s urbanization development, changing it from one that was urbanization oriented to an “urbanization of people”. However, the transformation of state urbanization policy cannot be implemented without the long-term promotion by numerous scholars and their collective intelligence on the study and exploration of urbanization; in this respect, the series of consultation reports on urbanization, led by Lu Dadao, are symbolic achievements that played a key role in the transformation of urbanization policy.
Four consultation reports on urbanization brought substantial influences on the transformation of state urbanization policy. On August 30, 2013, the State Council of People’s Republic of China held the urbanization achievement report meeting of CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. At the meeting, Prof. Lu Dadao gave a speech called “Cognition and Suggestions on Taking the Urbanization Road Suitable for China’s National Conditions”, on behalf of the expert group for the urbanization project of CAS. By focusing thematically on series of consultations for urbanization, relatively systematic fundamental research was carried out for better understanding and predicting urbanization, and much progress has been made in the following areas: scientific thinking and the cognition of urbanization progress; expansion of basic theoretical methods, e.g., Northam Curve and Chenery Mode, and so on; developing characteristics and so-called rules of the world’s urbanization; analysis on the developing process of China’s urbanization and the identification of radical urbanization; strategy selection for promoting the new-type urbanization (namely, the “urbanization of people”); regional patterns and differing urbanization policies, and so on, which provide for consultation research that has a strong scientific basis (Lu et al., 2015a).
In 2015, Lu Dadao completed a consultation report titled, “Analysis and Suggestions on the Supporting System of China’s Economic Growth Rate”. This was based on his systematic study and comprehensive discussion on the supporting system and trends of economic growth in China, performed for the first time; it entailed a deep analysis on the supply-side while also stressing the possibility and sustainable supply levels for the material basis of economic growth. In this report, Lu Dadao held that the predicted value of economic growth in China would be adjusted to a moderate growth rate with the implementation of the “13th Five-Year Plan” (2016-2020) (Lu, 2015b). Indeed, critical structural problems have been caused by the long-term, hyper economic growth that has unfolded in China. The developing mode in terms of high-speed economic growth and mass spatial expansion of urbanization has already shown itself to be unsustainable. China is thus stepping towards moderate economic growth, which should provide important opportunities and room for building economic power while achieving a harmonious society. These prospective conclusions provide China’s policy-making with a decision-making basis.

2.3 Study of the development route map in the science and technology field of China’s 2050 regional development

The study of economic geography of regional development in China insists upon working to meet the demands of a nationally important strategy, by following the development road of “precisely raising the key scientific argument from the realistic demands, realizing science and technology innovation, and promoting the building of science in problem-solving”. Regional development research mainly focuses on the evolution mechanism of regional system, the analysis/simulation methods for describing the human-land relationship, the evolution rule for regional development patterns and its regulation approach, the process of urbanization, and the evolution of urban and rural structures and its effects of resources and environment. Main trends for science and technology are relatively straightforward. The changing global climate and economic globalization will exert a substantial impact on China’s regional development. The future population of China will exceed 1.5 billion people, of which approximately 70% will live in the cities. The demands for land and space necessary for food security, ecological guarantees, and urbanization will all increase concurrently. Hence urbanization and regional development must address the core problem of sustainably adjusting and reconstructing the interactive relationship between human and natural systems.
Until 2030, the key demands for science and technology in China in the field of regional development are as follows: economic growth in future phases and spatial patterns of social development; scientific progress and the mode of China’s urbanization; development mechanisms, as well as regional development trends in a “3D-target space”; application of simulation techniques and spatial analysis; problems of regional development against the background of globalization and from a global perspective; ecological compensation and transfer payments from the treasury.

2.4 Study on comprehensive regionalization of human geography

In China, there are different kinds of physical geographic regionalizations as well as a humanity regionalizations based on single factors, but as of yet there is no comprehensive regionalization of human geography. The fundamental basis for this includes eight elements: nature, population, economy, culture, landscape, nationality, urbanization, and agriculture. Of which, natural factors include terrain, landforms, climate, ecology and physical geography, etc. Based on these, an index system could be built for the comprehensive regionalization of human geography. Indexes of nature: aridity, altitude, and accumulated temperature (≥10°); indexes of population: population density and gross population size; indexes of economy: GDP per capita, economic density, and the industrial structure indicators; index of culture: area-weighting in a region occupied by certain kind of culture; index of settlement landscape: area-weighting in a region occupied by certain kind of landscape; index ethnics and religion: proportion of population of minority nationality to the region’s total; index of urbanization: level of urbanization. Considering the great complexity and differences inherent to human geography, this prescribed regionalization scheme can safeguard the integrity of the county-level administrative division; and since the county-level administrative region is seen as the basic unit of regionalization, region divisions may be carried out according to a four-level classification system: “large region of human geography—region of human geography—sub-region of human geography—small region of human geography”. In the preliminary regionalization scheme, there are eight regions ascribed to Level I (i.e., Northeast region, North China region, East China region, Central China region, South China region, Northwest region, Southwest region, Qinghai-Tibet region) and 62 Level II regions.

2.5 New developments for agriculture and rural geography

Wu Chuanjun has repeatedly emphasized that geography should provide services for “agriculture, rural areas, and farmers”. The mode of “developing the discipline with tasks” promotes agricultural development and rural geography in tandem. Research on agricultural geography and rural development, disciplinary development and the building of talented teams in China were weakened at a time. But in the 21st century, Chinese development of agriculture and rural areas has already stepped into the new phase of transformation (Long et al., 2014). The problems related to “agriculture, rural areas and farmers” are now of great significance to the implementation of the “Scientific Outlook on Development” and the overall situation of the modernization construction. At the beginning of 2006, Shi Yafeng, Wu Chuanjun, Lu Dadao, and She Zhixiang jointly advocated “Suggestions for Active Research on Geography to the Issues of Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Area”. The Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, built the Research Department of Agricultural Geography and Rural Development; in 2008, the Committee of Agricultural Geography and Rural Development of GSC was also established.
In recent years, however, more and more geographers are attaching greater importance to the comprehensive study of agricultural geography and rural development. Especially so with respect to several strategic themes centered on agricultural innovation, food security, construction of a new countryside, rural valley economy, poverty relief, and the development and management of rural land. Hence, many young and middle-aged scholars as well as relevant research institutes are emerging, which have promoted the development, both in depth and in breadth, of the agricultural and rural discipline. With the aid of the China Urban and Rural Development Think-Tank Alliance (CURTA) (Long, 2016), third-party assessment on the working achievements and effects of nationally-targeted poverty relief has been carried out nationwide. Research works have substantial influence worldwide, and many outcomes have been published in international journals.

2.6 Study of transport geography

Following the basic theory and research methods of transport geography, analyses have been made on traffic construction and the traffic network, including material facility networks, such as a comprehensive transportation network, railways, highways, airports, and ports (Jin et al, 2011; Wang, 2008). Considering the spatial rule and regional mode of traffic flow, “four fundamental rules” of generation, growth, distribution, and communication as related to the transportation connection were put forward, and subsequently verified by empirical research at different spatial scales in China.
Based on the evaluation methods for traffic flow, relatively more extensive research has been carried out on the passenger flow of railway, coal flow, container flow, etc. Based on the analysis of the spatial structure and the evolution path of the logistics network organization, it has been found that the axis-radiation network is the universal mode of allocation for spatial flow and socio-economic elements. Empirical research of traffic accessibility evaluates the accessibility of traffic networks, analyzes the advantage level of regions, and strengthens the application and correction of various methods (i.e., time accessibility, day accessibility, timeline accessibility, etc.). Considering the comprehensive transportation advantage formed by various kinds of traffic facilities, the methods to evaluate such comprehensive transportation advantages is defined from the perspective of “quality, quantity, and advantage”. Given the interactive mode between traffic network and regional development, the idea that a traffic-economic belt forms a mechanism, with rules and types, has been put forward. In general, a great deal of work has been carried out in this vein, by combining theoretical research and practical applications, while paying close attention to quantitative evaluation and analysis. More attention should be focused on conducting theoretical research and upgrading the influence of traffic industry.

2.7 Study of geopolitics

Because geopolitics was the expansion theory of German fascists in World War II, studies in this field were mostly restricted in China, from the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to the early 1990s. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, huge changes took place in the world’s political landscape and the geographic environment of China, so the study of geopolitics became gradually “unrestricted”. Since 2000, more and more geographers are engaged in researching geopolitics, relevant achievements continuously emerged, disciplinary teams became stronger and stronger, and a “High-Level Forum of China Global Strategy and Geography” has been convened three times. This field has constantly expanded, and now encompasses the basic theory and framework of geopolitics, the geographic strategy of China and world superpowers, the geopolitical environment in global hotspots, the geo-economic cooperation and the geopolitical environment of countries surrounding China, global resources geopolitics and China’s resources strategy, the marine geopolitics, and China’s marine strategy, etc. In recent years, geographers continued to focus on the significant issues underpinning a national geographic strategy, while also making efforts to do fundamental research related to geopolitics; they have finished many nationally important decision-making consultation research topics, and compiled a series of internal special reports related to important theories and realistic problems, many of which have since been approved by leaders in the CPC Central Committee or adopted by the departments concerned.

2.8 Important role in local socio-economic development

The human geography discipline and its research teams play an important role in regional socio-economic development. For example, Northwest University has finished a series of influential works: planning and series application for main functional zones in Shaanxi Province; planning for the city system in Shaanxi Province; planning for the urbanization and urban-rural integration in Shaanxi Province; development of different-scale industries and their planning for industrial parks; planning for the protection and utilization of great ruins; and “Multiple Planning Integration”, etc. Based on the research addressing the regional strategy demands of Shaanxi province, human geographers—being concerned with the major problems of urbanization and regional sustainable development—provide the Provincial Government of Shaanxi and its relevant sectors with multiple copies of significant consultation reports and consultation suggestions, all of which have played a critical role in the development of Shaanxi sciences over time.

2.9 New directions

Regional interactions. Local comprehensiveness, scale correlation, and correlative dependence among regions are the three research perspectives of geography. The research by geographers on the correlative dependence among regions has been done for many years now; however, in the past 30 years, economic geographers have paid much greater attention to local development power mechanisms and economic globalization, attaching lesser importance to the interactions among regions. Correlative dependence and interaction among regions have already been the important and influential factors of regional development, especially in the process of economic globalization, whereby production “fragments” distributed all over the world are integrated within a production network having various scales. By carrying out research on the dependence among regions, it is possible to better understand how the development of certain region may influence other, interacting regions. An input-output analysis among regions can completely define the trade links between sectors of key regions, which has a vital role to play in the analysis of regional interactions.
Human geography against the background of the Internet era and technology change. Internet and technology have never promoted the transformation of the discipline and socio-economic development so thoroughly, and so quickly. The related domains mainly include the digital gap, city network, urban and rural development; the spatial differences of network activities; a city network based on the Internet fundamental facilities; the urban system and an inner space structure of cities, as well as website, trip and tourism geography; cities dealing with tourists and residents; the trends, influences, and countermeasures of city tours and leisure under the background of “time-space compression”; influences of e-commerce, industrial organization, economic geography, and Internet technology on the spatial organization of enterprises; location of “Taobao villages” and e-commerce enterprises, and their spatial organization; and the development path of e-commerce, etc. ICT, online shopping, behavior geography, and information technology will jointly influence the traveling of urban residents and buyer behaviors. The planning for big data and intelligence cities, new urbanization, and city-countryside should be pursued.
Regional innovation geography. Regional innovation and development will become the important content of the post-industrial age, which is also the key factor determining whether or not the industries along coastal regions are transformed successfully. Therefore, it is necessary for us to go beyond the industrialization thinking of standardization and scale, and instead to set up a post-industrial thinking of differentiation, small mass, and personalization; to go beyond the pure technology innovation thinking so as to better set up the comprehensive innovation thinking of “triple helix”; to go beyond pure physical space and entity space thinking, and quicken the construction of new-type knowledge spaces, cyberspaces and maker spaces, etc.; to go beyond the developing concept of traditional “economy on stocks”, to establish a kind of development concept of a new “economy on data”; to go beyond the linear longitudinal industry chain thinking, to establish a new mode of non-linear horizontally-networked industrial organization. Industrial clustering guided by innovation is still the important selective factor for the transformation of industries along China’s developed coastal regions.
Financial geography. Compared with foreign countries, domestic research in this field has a bigger gap. With rapid development of China’s economy and society, financing has become more prominent than ever, embodied by a series of policies, i.e., state-level plans to build a financial supervision system and seek opportunities to establish global financial dominance, the internalization of the yuan (RMB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road fund, and the BRICS Bank to further promote the construction of an International Finance Center, and finally, to set up stock exchanges: a main enterprise stock market, a small and medium enterprise stock market, a growth enterprise market, and a national equities exchange and quotations, etc. Local governments even frequently use and depend on financial innovation and means to promote the growth of their economies. Nevertheless, in China, much of the human geographic phenomenon is inextricably linked to finance, such as the rapidly accumulated debts of local governments trying to promote urbanization quickly, the spatial agglomeration of listed companies and their far-reaching influences, the development of risk investment industry, the construction of financial center for transactions, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to pay more explicit attention to financial geography in the future, including research on finance industry itself and influence of financing on other industries, as well as the relationship between finance and patterns in regional development.

3 Research review of the human geography team at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), CAS

Human geographers in CAS are playing multiple roles in the classification reform of CAS, as part of their assignment to the Center of Science and Education Integration of UCAS (University of Chinese Academy of Sciences), the Institute of Science and Development, etc. Major regional plans are formally carried out in our country (e.g., Regional Planning of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei metropolitan area, Yangtze River Delta Regional Planning, Northeast Revitalization Plan, West Development Plan, Plan to promote the rise of Central China, transformation of resources-dependent cities, and Land Use Planning of Guangdong Province). Human geographers are mainly responsible for researching and developing (or technology guiding); they have completed the research for a regional development route map, collectively obtained awards for outstanding scientific and technological achievements from CAS, succeeded in applying the key laboratory protocol of CAS, and launched the simulation of China’s regional sustainable development and the construction of its decision support system (DSS). The overall orientation of this laboratory is characterized by a fertile crossover between the natural and social sciences, especially regarding the regional resources and the environment; the coordinated socio-economic development process and pattern as the object of study; setting up of the regional sustainable development theoretical system; promoting the advancement of the discipline to provide science and technology support to the regional development strategy decision-making and national territory spatial planning. Main research activities cover three aspects: Studies on the mechanism of regional sustainable development, on the construction of regional sustainable development models, and on the simulation technology of regional-scale sustainable development. There are plentiful and diversified outputs, of which the representative achievements are summarized as follows.

3.1 Theoretical methods and simulation decision-making research for regional spatial planning

Globalization and informatization promote so-called production “segments”. Although these are distributed all over the world, they are being integrated to a production network spanning various scales, which has disrupted the traditional administrative boundary; a “city-region”, with organic links consisting of a “gateway city” and its central region, are now becoming the basic unit of global economic competition. “Time cost” is the core mechanism to determine the new location, while a quick response and fast delivery also become two important factors; by creating a large scale of “time compression”, economic activities are collectively concentrated to the big cities and their surrounding regions through a high level informatization; some industries have broken away from the restraint of traditional transportation modes and traffic locations. Accompanying the globalization process, both location and space of the world’s economy are being replaced by flow space, as space structure is established on the flow, connection, network, and node. A “point” refers to different-level residents’ point and central city, and the point scale, once purely strengthened in the past, is now gradually transformed to the level of a point strengthened in flow space. The “axis” refers to the “fundamental facilities cluster”, a traffic axis mainly strengthened in the past is now transformed to the comprehensive passage of regional development. IGSNRR opened up regional interaction research and utilized the geographic weighting regression method to construct the industry of trade flow among estimated regions—spatial statistical model to simulate the input-output relation of regions by re-constructing gravity model weighting industries differently.

3.2 Development and research for the planning scheme of the main functional zone and provincial-level technical procedures in China

IGSNRR put forward a regional functional theory, to contribute towards a comprehensive geographical regionalization. This theory attached great importance to the comprehensive impacts of the functional patterns of natural and ecosystem services, the changes in land use and cover, the concentration and dispersion process of people and industries, etc. on the formation and development of regional functions and the space-time pattern. In so doing, its proponents established a comprehensive and equilibrium model of regional sustainable development to improve the classical theory of a core-driving force in the change of regional patterns. This model provides references to the design of regional policies; initially it was used to investigate the evolution rule of the spatial proportional relation of functional regions, which has enriched the basic theory of space structure consisting of the “point-axis” system. As far as methods are concerned, IGSNRR developed a theme to determine the type of regional function which incorporates a policy meaning and planning guidance; researched and prepared the index system and the algorithm of function regionalization; carried out the single-element index evaluation, as well as a comprehensive evaluation on the adaptability of the land space in China; compiled the provincial-level technical procedures and conducted application demonstrations; and finally, successfully integrated the main function regionalization of two levels and also implemented their dynamic monitoring and evaluation.

3.3 Research on new factors of regional development and a series of China’s regional development reports

In recent years, research on new factors and patterns of regional development has clearly made great progress. New factors focused upon include globalization, informatization, technology innovation, etc. Research of new patterns is concerned primarily with the status monitoring of regional development, regional policies, strategy of regional development, evolution of regional economic pattern, space configuration of regional elements, etc. Since 1996, the China Regional Development Research Group has tracked and studied regional development problems in China, with a long term view, and it has accomplished many excellent research achievements that possess significant meaning according to the national strategic demands. To date, this report has been published in 10 versions; it has become the brand report of CAS, thus having a great impact on levels of both government and society. Six reports have been published in the last 10 years: the 2006 report focused on the urbanization process and its space expanding; the 2007 report provided the “Rise of Central China” with crucial support; the 2009 report provided the 10-year Western China Development with its decision basis; the 2011 report made an analysis of the regional development trends against the background of the financial crisis; the 2013 report discussed the regional development trends in the context of overall transformation; the 2015 report analyzed in-depth Western China Development under the “New Normal”, and its numerous viewpoints were later absorbed and accepted into Western China Development’s “13th Five-Year Plan”.

3.4 Sustainable development mechanism of urban agglomeration and the research and application of dynamic simulations

IGSNRR put forward the identification standard for the spatial scale of China’s urban agglomeration and the spatial organization pattern of “5+9+6” for urban agglomeration; revealed the formation and development phase of a structure system for China’s urban agglomeration and regional differentiation rule; calculated the ecosystem service values and the carrying capacity of resources and the environment of urban agglomeration; developed a computational experimental system and sustainable development simulation system for the spatial expansion of China’s urban agglomeration. By revealing the ecological response mechanism for the spatial expansion of urban agglomeration, the ecological status diagnosis and ecological function zoning system of urban agglomeration were both developed, and the integrated measurement model for the input and output efficiency of urban agglomeration has been constructed. Urbanization and ecological environment interactions coupling theory with dynamic simulation systems have been developed, namely via the double exponential curve formed by the superposition of a power function and an exponential function. These two functions are obtained from the interaction describing the relationship between urbanization and the resources and environment of urban agglomeration.

3.5 Research and demonstration of rural sustainable development and comprehensive land management

IGSNRR revealed the “life cycle” of rural hollowing and its spatial evolution pattern. It put forward the mode of “three-in-one integration”—rural reorganization, industry, and space, as well as the discipline system of land management. A zoning scheme for rural idle and waste land was also put forward: in it, 10 large regions and 47 sub-regions were established, covering c. 114 million mu (15 mu=1 ha) of land, with respective to different regions all over the country, thus lending the management of rural waste land a sounder scientific basis. As far as method innovations are concerned, IGSNRR developed the multi-scale transformation technology paths and its methods based on the survey of land use in hollow villages, the measurement and calculation of county-level land, and the potential production evaluation of provincial-level and state-level cultivated land as derived from remote sensing and GIS; developed the land management theory and management platform (i.e., the “Overall Information Management for Urban and Rural Land and the Planning of Decision-Making Support System”; the “Information Management Database System for House Site in Villages”); and set up an information platform for use in urban and rural land allocation.

3.6 Evaluation of the carrying capacity of environmental resources

Based on the functional zone, the theoretical basis for evaluating carrying capacity was formulated. IGSNRR put forward the index of regional carrying capacity, which is restricted by the regional function, and solved the scientific problem of the carrying object being not clear by the function estimation; constructed and reconstructed adaptability single-element evaluation and integration evaluation technology, which has filled the “blanks” in both quantitative and comprehensive evaluations of Chinese resources and environmental conditions. Depending on the development intensity, the method for measuring and calculating the carrying capacity has been improved. By expanding the spatial structure, land development intensity, and space interaction comprehensive analytical techniques, the development intensity-calculating model was put forward and later applied, the method for measuring and calculating the reasonable population capacity has been improved, and the reasonability and degree of accuracy for measuring and calculating the population capacity were promoted, with the policy connotations of the calculation results for population capacity also being enriched. Comprehensive processing on damage data was carried out by an emergency-integrated innovation: comprehensive remote sensing, investigations on the ground and geosciences, and simulation analysis by computers. A space-time scenario model was established that was driven by stochastic factors, such as the estimation of dammed lakes and land management effects, etc. A way to evaluate the carrying capacity of different planning accuracy demands was designed in a complete technology process, for the first time, and an evaluation process of different accuracies was established to strengthen their accuracy, which is suitable for improving multi-type and multi-scale layout planning.

4 Changes in Western human geography and the internationalization road of China

4.1 Western human geography

Western human geography has also experienced a period of flourishing and chaos. The global natural environment has changed dramatically, and some elements, namely the human, society, politics, economy, and culture are undergoing a major period of transformation and change. Since the World War II, the thinking, theory, and methods of geography all over the world have frequently changed: Positivistic Geography, Humanism Geography, Behavior Geography, Structuralism Geography, Marxism, Radicalism Geography, Moral Geography, New Region Geography, New Culture Geography, Realism, Postmodernism, Feminism, and Post Colonialism emerged in an endless stream. Western human geography is still experiencing significant changes, as the crossover between it and other disciplines happens more frequently. At present, the Western countries—represented by European and American countries—still dominate the discourse on power and knowledge, and occupy the central position in the development of human geography in the world. But, geography, from the very beginning, has meant different things to people in different times and places. The geography tradition, not unlike a species, evolves as it adapts to different social and academic circumstances, trying to explore the shifting differences and inherent features of the Earth’s surface. Now geography is developing prosperously by relying on communication and diversity.
In this new century, human geography shows an inter-disciplinary trend of crossing and diversified development. Its three main directions are governance, globalization and urbanization. According to the journals with the highest impact factor, and the rankings list of scholars and research institutes, European and American countries are still the main regions contributing most of the highly influential papers on human geography, accounting for >90% of the highly cited literature and leading scholars. With the ongoing internationalization of human geography, and the increasing international attention paid to the problems of China’s human geography, we expect that in the next 5-10 years more scholars of China’s human geography will join the world-class stage, and increasingly more world-class organizations and institutes will emerge for them to work at.

4.2 Internationalization road of China’s human geography

The international communication process of China’s human geography can be roughly divided into four stages.
The first stage, visits to Europe and America (1909-1949): In 1909, Zhang Xiangwen, who knew the Japanese well, founded the China Society of Geology in Tianjin. One after another, outstanding geography talents went to Europe and America for study. In 1934, Zhu Kezhen, Ding Wenjiang, Weng Wenhao, and Hu Huanyong (among others) returned to China after finishing their studies and founded the Geographical Society of China (GSC) in Nanjing. They were pioneers in human geography, as they introduced the human geography system of Western countries to China, and initially established the first sub-disciplines of China’s human geography. Economic geography: Ren Meie (US), Li Xudan (UK), Wu Chuanjun (UK), Lin Chao (UK), et al. Population geography: Hu Huanyong (France), Zhang Yintang (UK), et al. Settlement geography: Wang Yiya (France), Zhou Lisan (US), et al. Historical geography: Hou Renzhi (UK), et al. Political geography: Zhang Qiyun (US), Huang Guozhang (US), et al.
The second stage, learning from the Soviet Union (1950s-1960s): From the 1950s through to the 1970s, China’s human geography learned from the Soviet Union, and the field of economic geography was developed rapidly. The Soviet Union regional school (Nikolay Nikolayevich Baransky, Klossowski, Y. G. Saushkin, et al.) and the sector statistics school (Fegen, Konstantinov, et al.) were introduced to China. In 1962, the “Specialized Committee of Economic Geography” was founded. Mutual communications in the field of geosciences among the countries in the socialist camp was frequent, but the communication with Western countries was now blocked.
The third stage, learning from the Western countries (1979-2000s): From the end of the 1970s through the 1980s, came the revival of human geography. Li Xudan, at the end of 1979, put forward the revival of human geography in the 4th session of the Geographical Society of China. In 1983, under the promotion of Li Xudan and Wu Chuanjun, the “Specialized Committee of Human Geography” was founded, which sent young and middle-aged scholars to foreign countries. In 1980, Lu Dadao went to Germany to study at the Ruhr University Bochum. In 1982, Xu Xueqiang went to the University of Hong Kong to engage in collaborative research. In 1985, Cui Gonghao went to the University of Akron as a visiting scholar. In 1986, Zhou Yixing went to England to continue his studies at the University of Nottingham. In 1987, Ning Yuemin went to London to pursue his further education.
The fourth stage, the establishment of the human geography school with China’s characteristics (since 2000): more and more young and middle-aged scholars went to the foreign countries for either an academic visit or to study. Many of them made good use of the theories learned abroad to carry out empirical research after they coming back to China, and thus became the backbone of all branches of human geography currently practiced in China. Some of these scholars are trying to establish a concept, pattern, and model endowed with Chinese characteristics, so that one day they can be part of the typical human geography school in China.

5 Problems, challenges, and opportunities in the development of human geography

5.1 Problems

Methodology system for theory is not yet perfected. Although many important achievements have been made, there is a lack of significant innovations in the theory of human geography with Chinese characteristics, and the theoretical system of this discipline is still incomplete. Empirical research is driven solely by the theory of foreign countries, whereas theory upgrading or synthesis remains insufficient (Leng et al., 2005). Parts of discipline are deemed of little importance, which leads to an imbalance in the development among branches of the discipline. Due to the uncertainties of the study object and the particularities of methodology (Lu, 2011), technological methods of the discipline’s research require improvement. Unfortunately, a large number of valuable works are not completed in time via the standard system of research methods, which is not good for the inheritance and spread of the discipline’s knowledge system, and it is prone to make other disciplines mistakenly believe that the threshold for entering into our disciplines is relatively low. Hence it is necessary to make the discipline more rigorous and scientific (Liu et al., 2014; Tang, 2013; Lu, 2014).
The trend for disciplines becoming assimilated by related fields of science has increased significantly. For geography (including human geography), the sense of identity of this discipline is also waning. Some scholars engaged in both geographical science and the teaching have abandoned the research discipline they have engaged in for decades and their name in this field. Some, surely, have gained new vitality, while others cannot win a “first-level” position because of the lack of approval of discipline’s value, so they become confused again. With the increase in comprehensive problems and crossover research among disciplines, the boundaries of human geography tend to show signs of being blurred (Leng, 2013). Tourism and resource geography are both in danger (“tourism science” and “resource science”). There are substantial risks that the discipline as a coherent field is fast being eroded and marginalized.
The professional evaluation system makes scholars pay less attention to the core issues of their discipline. At present, SCI and SSCI have become the most important evaluation indexes of domestic universities and research institutes. However, some important geographical journals are still outside of this corresponding evaluation system, and so it is difficult for papers published in these geographic periodicals to be included in it. Under such a single evaluation system, some scholars choose to try and publish their most relevant papers in those journals with the highest impact factors, but these may not best reflect the core issues of our discipline.
Crisis in that the discipline is turning into a social science. In European and American countries, humanism, structuralism, realism, and post modernism geography have prevailed. The social phenomenon of human geography became more and more serious, which strays far away from the scientific road of real geography. Domestic human geography is more or less affected by this, thus tends to be a social science.
Construction of talents team at all levels should be urgently strengthened. As a result of the various problems in the evaluation index system, it is difficult for our leaders in scientific research to win prestigious titles (such as academicians (senior professors), “Outstanding Youth”, “One-Hundred-Talents”, and other similar titles). Famous scholars of human geography must cleverly apply for the title of Yangtze River Scholar by stepping into other discipline fields, like that of land resource management. Nonetheless, the cultivation of young talents, especially of young academic leaders, should be further strengthened.
Major scientific problems ought to be solved cooperatively. At present, due to the many practical needs and the strong instrumental value of this discipline, the works and tasks of all organizations in our country are relatively abundant. But the research practices, as carried out by collaborative projects between trans-organizations, in addressing the major pressing issues we face are simply not enough.

5.2 Restrictions and challenges that the evaluation of the first-level discipline brings to the development of human geography

Why is the status of human geography not so high in colleges and universities? One important reason is the evaluation of the first-level discipline, which is the baton of university development. Universities and colleges attach great importance to the ranking and evaluation of first-level disciplines, and, accordingly, the second-level disciplines are not so highly valued in some sense. However, the most important evaluation indicators are talents that hold a title, such as the Yangtze River Scholar, Outstanding Youth, and the platform-like state-level key laboratory, provincial-level and ministerial-level key laboratory (and so on), as well as your major projects and representative papers as determined by impact factor. But papers on human geography cannot meet this threshold for entrance. Therefore, in the evaluation of first-level geography, human geography has been neglected for the most part, and in fact, the evaluation of geography has become an evaluation of physical geography.
But geography has its own particularities, and its branches are different and incomparable. Physical geography without human geography is just pure physical geography lacking certain characteristics and advantages, similar to sister disciplines, such as geology, environmental science, ecology, and so on. Conversely, compared with social disciplines like sociology, economics, and so on, human geography without the basis of physical geography also missed certain characteristics and advantages. The evaluation principle and index system of the first-level discipline should be adjusted. Considering the particularity of geography, it should instead consider the evaluation of second-level disciplines, as only the evaluation of these disciplines can fully promote the overall development and advancement of geography in colleges and universities. The cultivation of students majoring in human geography cannot ignore some basic training in physical geography.

5.3 Important opportunities facing the development of human geography

Strengthening the integration of disciplines and guiding decision-making are the important direction for the new-round reform of science and technology at home and abroad. The international frontier science program advocates the integration of “research-decision making” and “nature-humanity”. This view originates from the research of global environment change and accords with the “Future Earth” Plan researched by CAS (Fu et al., 2015). It intends to research the theories, means, and methods necessary for achieving global sustainable development, and finally sets a goal to solve problems in both global and regional sustainable development. The integration of “scientific research-government decision” with “natural science and humanity science”, thus becomes an important symbol of the required transformation. It makes explicit efforts to strengthen the integration of nature and human, and puts forward solutions for problems stifling sustainable development at different special scales (Fan and Jiang, 2015). The CAS has established a policy for running institutes in this new era, namely, “Three Orientations & Four Leadings”, which have highlighted and strengthened the main battlefield of serving the national economy and the construction of a state high-level science and technology think tank.
In the new period, the state and major regional development strategies have made great demands on the discipline. Due to the rapid development of China’s society and economy, both its physical structure and socio-economic structure has been experiencing dramatic change. This change has brought about a series of important scientific problems to geography, such as the “New Normal” of the economy and the scientific judgment of reasonable economic growth, the scientific connotation of “One Belt and One Road” initiative (Liu, 2015); the evaluation of the carrying capacity of environmental resources, and the assessment on the planning and implementation of main functional area (Fan et al., 2015); the third-party assessment on the working achievements and effectiveness of national poverty relief; the sustainable development of the new urbanization and urban agglomeration, and the collaborative development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei; the protection and development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt; the overall revitalization of Northeast China; the promotion for the Rise of Central China; the development of Western China, etc.
Research paradigms of human geography are also being perfected and becoming scientific. The developing history and current situation show that the research paradigm of geographical empirical science lays the basic characteristic for geography. The research paradigm of geographical demonstrative science is the current trend in geography research; it perpetually studies pattern and process in-depth, which signifies the achievement of geography. The research paradigm of geographical science is the frontier, which is a key to fully understand the behavior of land surface systems and to make geographical knowledge more practical.
The discipline team has already had a good foundation and social reputation. For a long time, scholars of China’s human geography insisted upon the development road of “developing the discipline with tasks”, thereby directly influencing decision-making with good science and research achievements, at the forefront of the world by serving the decision-making. The famous scholars of China’s human geography actively participated in many major national and local planning projects, and they were consulted for strategic decision-making purposes; those who have made an important contribution to the scientific decision-making at all levels of government also have established a good social reputation. Meanwhile, the quantity and quality of papers published by young and middle-aged scholars in the international SCI/SSCI journals has continuously increased.
The arrival of the big data era provides the innovation of human geography with new ideas. Big data is the product of the next great development in digital information technology. It is nothing less than the vast collection of primarily non-structural data, in very large quantities, in complex structures, and of numerous types. Science and Nature journals have respectively set up a special column to discuss the advent of big data. For our discipline, big data can provide the analytical perspective of a time-space behavior traces, pattern and mode based on a massive sample of individuals. Big data provides the study of human geography with important data and methodological support.

6 Broad prospects for the future development of human geography

At present, the development of China’s human geography finds itself in an important transformative period (Song, 2016). In general, it has a broad developmental prospect, and with the further application of this fundamental discipline, its decision supporting capacity to solve the major problems on the sustainable development of earth’s surface will obviously increase. As an important component of geographical science, human geography is of great value to science as it can reveal the processes, patterns, and mechanisms of the interplay between humanity and the earth’s surface.

6.1 Build up the academic community and carry out joint research and collaborative innovation in light of the major issues

Autonomy of Science referred to such people with special professional skills, having the same or similar value orientation, cultural life and inner spirit, who, for the purpose of a common value idea or interest, observe a certain code of conduct to form a group. Scholars of China’s human geography should work closely together to further strengthen their academic communication and cooperation, and to jointly build the academic community. They should focus on investigating some significant or leading theories and practical issues, and promote the formation of a collaborative innovation center or alliance of trans-organization and sectors, and work to carry out joint research that enhances the inclusiveness. At present, there are several possible urgent and important topics, as detailed below.
Firstly, the construction of “One Belt and One Road” against the background of economic globalization. Globalization means studying human geography in a broader space, and thus in a more complex relationship, so it is necessary to reconstruct the understanding on core concepts, such as time-space relationship, space and local, state and region, as well as the appropriate scale. “One Belt and One Road” means “Economic Belt of Silk Road” and “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”, which is a new mode of international and regional economic cooperation through which China can promote the development of economic globalization. Several important topics related to “One Belt and One Road” include geopolitics, geography of different countries, foreign trade and economic cooperation, world cities and urban systems, optimization organization for traffic and transportation, etc. (Liu, 2015).
Secondly, devising a new urbanization and collaborative development of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei (Lu, 2013; Chen, 2015). This work ought to be upgraded to a national strategy at the same time, given the close relationship between the two. The issuing of a new urbanization plan is just the new starting point of relevant research. To further promote healthy and sustainable development of China’s new urbanization, there are still many scientific problems worthy of discussion, which are related to the pathway for realizing human urbanization in different types of regions (Xue et al., 2016), and for the sustainable development of key resource-based cities, as well as that of rural areas, and for the mode of urban-rural integration development. Strengthening the study of sustainable development of urban agglomerations constitutes another topic (Fang, 2014; Huang et al., 2015). The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei synergetic development is an important demonstration zone of the new urbanization, which clearly defines the function orientation of different cities, and makes an in-depth analysis of population distributions, of industries, of consolidation, protection, and utilization of land, and layout of different cities in space and collaborative development, etc.
Thirdly, the regional governance system in the “13th Five-Year Plan” against the background of the “New Normal”. As the modernization of the governance system and governance capacity in China increases to new heights, it is now required to strengthen the study of causes for regional function and the evolution rule of space structure, to deepen the evaluation and research on the carrying capacity of resources in the environment, and to strengthen and enhance research on regional policy and space planning systems (Fan and Guo, 2015). It is also needed to observe the economic geography phenomenon, from the perspective of the national governance structure, to carry out studies in human geography of space governance, and to improve the ability of this discipline to serve national strategic decision-making. Carrying out precise poverty alleviation research in concentrated and contiguous poor areas (Liu et al., 2016) constitutes another urgent topic for study.
Fourthly, the response of human geography in the era of Internet and big data. With the rapid development of mobile communication technology and the popularization of orientation-type application programs—providing immense datasets, such as for abundant individual behaviors and their time-space tracks, etc.—new possibilities arise for building much more complex models, for dynamically analyzing the relationship between individual and local governments, for describing the interactive process and pattern of human and the land surface (Zhen et al., 2015).

6.2 Be compatible with features of localization and internationalization, lead China’s human geography into the world

Localization and internationalization form contradictory dialectical unity, which are two indispensable aspects of one problem. On the one hand, there is the regionality, locality, aboriginality, and integrity, which are the most basic characteristics of geographic science and also make its evaluation differ from those of other disciplines. Regionality will generate the locality, and human geography is a kind of practical knowledge, so scholars should have strong national feelings and pay much attention to the research of national situations with localization characteristics. On the other hand, we must continue to expand international academic communications and bring China’s human geography out to the world stage. Scholars should be more active in letting our academic researchers go out and promote the international development of our scholarship and activities through thoughtful communications and cooperation. Both the international frontier and China’s own national demand are the main directions and key tasks of our discipline.

6.3 Strive for more support from National Natural Science Foundation of China and other departments, while promoting the growth of young and middle-aged talents

Giving priority to the scholarly talents is the successful experience of many countries and regions seeking to rapidly improve their comprehensive strength. The same is true for the development of our discipline, which is impossible without nurturing talent. We should insist on combining self-cultivation with the accelerated introduction of talents, and to make greater efforts to foster the talented scholars at different levels, such as those for outstanding talents, young and middle-aged backbone talents, and young reserve talents, etc. An endeavor is needed to win the support from relevant sectors—such as National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China, and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China—and to encourage that the evaluation mechanism be made much more scientific and reasonable. We should also actively apply for various kinds of academic titles—academicians, One-Thousand- Talents, One-Hundred-Talents, Outstanding Youth, Yangtze River Scholars, Excellent Youth and so on—and thereby increase the number and proportion of scholars with such titles, and go on to place a group of young talents into important positions of our discipline’s team. All in all, we should spare no effort to create such a good and inviting situation so that more and more talents emerge in human geography to play their role.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Bao Jigang, Yin Shoubing, Liang Zengxian et al.Liang Zengxian , 2012. Development report on tourism geography in China.Progress in Geography, 30(12): 1506-1512. (in Chinese)Tourism Geography is a comprehensive sub-discipline that involves physical geography,economic ge-ography and human geography.Most of the vibrantly participating tourism geographers in China have the aca-demic backgrounds and training history of physical geography and economic geography.Tourism geography in China was born in the 1980s when both the discipline of geography as a whole and the tourism industry have witnessed huge developments and prosperity since then.After 30 years of development,tourism geography has nowadays become one of the fastest-growing,most vibrant and productive sub-disciplines in Chinas geographi-cal studies.On the one hand,in the pursuit of knowledge innovation and diffusion,1) academic standards have been discussed substantially,issues related to research question have been emphasized,and the self-awareness of disciplinary development has been intensified,hence a number of achievements with Chinese characteristics have been made in the areas of community-based tourism(community participation and empowerment in tour-ism development,power structure in tourism community),event event tourism(mega-events such as Olym-pic Games,World Expo,Asian Games and the Canton Fair;festivals such as Qingdao International Beer Festival and Wutaishan Buddhist Festival),heritage tourism(heritage management governance,heritage tourism),ur-ban tourism(tourism commercialization in historic towns,recreational business district,urban tourism growth mechanism and tourism-induced urbanization),tourist flow and time-space structure,and related methodological innovations;2) with the rapid establishment of many tourism faculties and/or schools in universities,tourism ge-ography has been given a broader platform on which greater progress can be made,for instance,there had been 852 tourism programs or departments offered in China's universities by the end of 2009,and tourism geography is one of the core courses in universities;3) as the international communication and cooperation deepens,tour-ism geography in China is getting more and more internationally-oriented,for example,scholars and students in and from China have published more academic papers in leading tourism-related English journals than before,more and more students from China have completed their Ph.D in universities in the USA,UK,Canada,and Ja-pan,and most of them are scholars and students with geographical background and training history.On the other hand,in the pursuit of knowledge application/social services,tourism geography has made great contributions to regional development,by 1) participating in regional tourism plans of provincial regions such as Hunan Prov-ince and key areas such as Suzhou,Zhangjiajie,Huangshan and Guilin;2) preserving world heritage sites such as Danxiashan in Guangdong,Zhangjiajie in Hunan,Huangshan in Anhui,and Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan;3) promot-ing the standardization and internationalization of the tourism industry,such as drafting the Standard for Nation-al Exemplary Ecotourism Area.In the future,tourism geography in China is supposed to continue not only to take advantage of integrating theories with practices to strengthen and sustain the discipline,but also to stress the importance of theoretical constructions and developments for the purpose of disciplinary survival by increas-ing the heory depth nd promoting international dialogues and cooperation between China and the world.


Chai Yanwei, Zhao Ying, 2009. Recent development in time geography.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 29(4): 593-600. (in Chinese)Time geography is a powerful conceptual framework for understanding the constraints on human activity participation in space and time.However,it entered a downturn during the 1980s owing to methodological shortages and technological restricts.The last decade has witnessed a resurgence of time geography as researchers have improved methodology and Geographical Information Systems(GIS) develops rapidly,which broaden its application. The improvements of methodology can be concluded from four aspects: the redefinition of activities,the consideration of emotions,individual preferences,and the modification of behavioral objects."New time geography" has been introduced which includes virtual interactions because virtual space behavior becomes as important as physical space behavior.Researchers extend the theory to include virtual interactions by introducing two new time-geography objects,which are portals and message windows,and identifying their relationships in space and time.Emotion and preference while traveling and undertaking activities in urban space,neglected in the past,have been taken into account recently and added into the presentation of space-time path in the form of different colors.In addition,assumptions of behavioral objects are modified to extensive ones including attention to vulnerable groups,especially women. Since the development of methodology,new methods of collecting spatial-temporal data,managing behavior data and representing behavior patterns have been promoted by combining with GIS.The resent development of location-aware technologies(LAT) and location-based services(LBS) provide excellent means for data collection about subjects.The principles of object-orientation have potential to manage and explore these available data,which is intensive and time consuming previously.Furthermore,it is GIS-based geo-computation and three-dimensional geo-visualization methods that make time-geographic construction more feasible than ever before.As a result,time-geographic perspective is so powerful for the analysis of human activity patterns and movements in urban space that its applications have been widened in urban transportation planning,feminine research,urban spatial structure,information and communication technologies,etc. This paper also reviews recent development of time geography in China briefly and summarizes the shortages of Chinese research in order to inspire related studies in China.


Chen Mingxing, 2015. Research progress and scientific issues in the field of urbanization.Geographical Research, 34(4): 614-630. (in Chinese)In 2014, the "National New Urbanization Planning" was issued, which indicates that China's urbanization has entered into a transition period from "quantity growth" to "quality improvement". New urbanization will be an important work for the future China in quite a long period of time, which provides a significant opportunity for urbanization field research. This paper gives a general review on the domestic and foreign research progress in time.Internationally, the basic theory and theoretical system of urbanization have come into being.They have been enriched gradually with the deepening of the research. The research field has been expanded. The research methods have been improved. As for China's urbanization research, it developed fast despite a late start, and has made remarkable achievements in many fields, such as the scientific cognition and thoughts of a reasonable urbanization process with Chinese characteristics. In the future, five front scientific issues and their sub- issues in urbanization research have been put forward, such as the interdisciplinary features of urbanization and the establishment of urbanization discipline; the concept, principle, and method of the construction of urbanization basic theoretical system; the regional characteristics of urbanization and relationships between urban and rural integration; the developing model and spatial pattern research of sustainable development; the integration research and simulation platform of urbanization system based on the big data.

Du Debin, Duan Dezhong, Liu Chenglianget al., 2015. Progress of geopolitics of Chinese geography since 1990.Geographical Research, 34(2): 199-212. (in Chinese)The world is undergoing profound changes and restructuring. Resulted from the rise of China, the shifting of world power center and the restructuring of the international order are bound to put forward a new theoretic demand for geopolitical research in China, and bring new opportunities for the development of China's geography. Geopolitics is born from political geography, thus geographers can play a fundamental role in Chinese geopolitical studies and national geopolitical strategies. Having experienced two stages of development from importing the western theories to self-reflection since the founding of P. R. China, studies on Chinese geopolitics are entering the stage of indigenous innovation recently. This paper summarized the achievements and analyzed the deficiencies of Chinese geographers in the fields of geopolitics in the past half a century. Chinese geopolitics has made great progress in team building and academic achievements and some breakthroughs in some aspects recently. However, some problems still exist in Chinese geopolitical research. Firstly, the theoretical system is not yet complete and the academic community is disunited. Secondly, the disciplinary position is not clear,resulting in limited academic development potential. Thirdly, compared with other subjects,Chinese geography, the basic subjects of geopolitics and geo-economic study, is in an obvious weak position. So there is a serious shortage of outstanding achievements. Fourthly, the current research mainly focuses on the phenomenon description, and the mechanism examination is insufficient. Lastly, China's geographers have excessively relied on western thinking, and are lack of independent value judgments. On the basis of the above points, the authors suggest an action plan of strengthening Chinese geopolitical research, including the studies of geopolitical philosophy and methodology, geopolitics basic theory, global geopolitical situation and the major geostrategic powers, and the analysis of China's surrounding geopolitical environment.


Fan Jie, Guo Rui, 2015. Discussing some core issues of innovated regional governance system oriented to the thirteenth national five-year plan period.Economic Geography, 35(1): 1-6. (in Chinese)The fourth session of the eighteenth conference of Communist Party of China has uplifted the modernization of"governance system"and"governance capability"to a new height. Regional strategy, planning and policy should become an important part of regional governance system, and they should be reconsidered and innovated in the key fiveyear plan of deepening the reform comprehensively. Firstly, the new demands of the innovation of regional governance system are analyzed from four aspects. They include that regional development strategy of "four plate" should be shifted to narrowing policy unit to strengthen the strategic target; the main functional region strategy should convert the idea innovation to the in-depth implementation phase; the single and centralized urbanization development patterns should be transited into a diversified, comprehensive and innovative stage; the core work and guiding ideology of poverty alleviation and development should support relative poverty rather than absolute poverty. Secondly, five important points of innovated regional governance system are put forward. They contain to further improve the national spatial development pattern of our country, to build China's regional policy system using two dimension constituted by both the functional area and the policy area, to pay more attention to using the restrictive policies, to make a clear path to deepen the main function region, and to meet the demand of national spatial fine-scale management. Finally, four essential issues should become central part in the studies of the economic geographer in order to provide support for the national decisionmaking when oriented to the innovated regional governance system. They include strengthening the research on the regularity of regional function causes and spatial structure evolvement to improve the ability of predicting the evolution of regional space pattern and regional spatial structure; strengthening the research on resources and environment carrying capacity evaluation to enhance the ability of evaluation of regional sustainable development; strengthening the regional policy system and the spatial planning system research to promote decision support capability based on the research of regional development regulation mechanism and approaches; strengthening the infrastructure construction which is linked to the development of the discipline, such as data, models and research methods etc., to promote the scientific level of economic geography discipline and the service ability to meet the needs of our society.

Fan Jie, Jiang Zilong, 2015. Trend of human-economic geography in relation to the Future Earth initiative for systemic solutions of regional sustainable development.Progress in Geography, 34(1): 1-9. (in Chinese)Future Earth initiative puts forward the academic thought, top-level design, core content, and methodology for systemic solutions of regional sustainable development, which provides a reference for future research of regional sustainable development in human-economic geography. Based on an analysis of the core concepts of Future Earth, this article elaborates the development opportunities and positioning of human- economic geography, and discusses the five grand challenges of Future Earth and their implications for exploring systemic solutions of regional sustainable development. It maintains that progress in the study of each of these challenges is essential to overall solve the problem of global sustainable development. This article also discusses the objective,perspective, and path of regional sustainable development system, and analyzes the academic thought of systemic solutions for regional sustainable development from the applied basic research and application practice. Using the Future Earth research initiative as a reference and based on the research framework of the regional sustainable development system, it examines the future development of human-economic geography from the three aspects of improving the ability of prediction and assessment, applied research on regulatory process and controlling mode, and institutional design with respect to Future Earth.


Fan Jie, Wang Yafei, Tang Qinget al., 2015. Academic thought and technical progress of monitoring and early-warning of the national resources and environment carrying capacity.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(1): 1-10. (in Chinese)It is an innovative work of comprehensive deepening reforms of China to establish the mechanism of monitoring and early-warning of carrying capacity. Based on the scientific connotation of the carrying capacity of national resources and environment and oriented to regional sustainable development, this article explores the"pressure-state-response" process of the interaction between the carrying body: the natural foundation (which consists of resources, environment, ecology and disasters) with the carrying object: the human production and life activities, and presents the academic thought that the early-warning of the national resources and environment carrying capacity is an overload early-warning according to the cap of the constraints of resources and environment or the population and economic rational scales or other key thresholds, and also presents a process early-warning in terms of the changes of the natural basic conditions or the tendencies of the impact of resource utilization and environmental changes. According to the exploration on the principles of early-warning carrying capacity, this article constructs the differential indicator system and the overall technical process of early-warning of marine and terrestrial resources and environment carrying capacity. Land resources stress index, water resources use intensity index, environmental stress strength index and vegetation coverage change range index are chosen as basic indicators to conduct an overall regional evaluation, and different specific indicators, such as the pollution level of dust-haze, the increase and decrease of arable land, equilibrium index of grass and livestock and the variation of eco-environmental quality, are chosen to conduct the specific evaluation respectively for the urbanized areas, major grain producing areas, pastoral and semi-pastoral areas and ecological function areas, and then the key thresholds of these indicators are determined to conduct classifying evaluation. Finally, this article integrates all the evaluations and puts forward an evaluation method which shows the differentials in terms of major function oriented zone and evaluation results of consistent expression, and then carries out the process evaluation using two indexes of resource utilization efficiency and environment pollution pressure to reflect auxiliary the early-warning state of China's resources and environment carrying capacity and sustainable development abilities, thus providing a scientific basis for the proposed recommendations for restrictive measures and the improvement of monitoring and early-warning mechanisms.

Fang Chuanglin, 2014. Progress and the future direction of research into urban agglomeration in China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1130-1144. (in Chinese)Urban agglomeration has been the inevitable result of China's rapid industrialization and urbanization over the last 30 years. Since the early 2000 s,urban agglomeration has become the new regional unit participating in international competition and the division of labor. China has declared urban agglomeration the main spatial component of new types of urbanization over the next decade as clarified at the first Central Urbanization Working Conference and in the National New-type Urbanization Plan(2014?2020). However,research on urban agglomeration remains weak and needs to be strengthened. From 1934 to2013,only 19 papers published in Acta Geographica Sinica contained the theme of urban agglomeration(0.55% of the total number of articles published) and the first paper on urban agglomeration appeared less than 10 years ago. Despite a small number of divergent studies,this work has contributed to and guided the formation of the overall pattern of urban agglomeration in China. For example,spatial analyses have promoted the formation of the fundamental framework of China' s urban agglomeration spatial structure and guided the National New-type Urbanization Plan; spatial identification standards and technical processes have played an important role in identifying the scope and extent of urban agglomeration;serial studies have facilitated pragmatic research; and problems with the formation and development of urban agglomeration have provided a warning for future choices and Chinese development. Future research into urban agglomeration in China should(1) review and examine new problems in China's urban agglomeration options and cultivation;(2) critically consider urban agglomeration when promoting the formation of the 5+9+6 spatial pattern;(3)rely on urban agglomeration to construct new urbanization patterns such as 'stringing the agglomerations with the axis,supporting the axis with the agglomerations'; and(4) deepen national awareness about resources,environment effects and environmental carrying capacity in high density urban agglomerations,management and government coordination innovation,the construction of public finance and fiscal reserve mechanisms,the technical regulation of urban agglomeration planning,and standards for identifying the scope and extent of urban agglomeration.


Fang Chuanglin, Zhou Shangyi, Chai Yanwei et al.Chai Yanwei , 2011. Updated progress and perspective of the discipline of human geography in China.Progress in Geography, 30(12): 1470-1478. (in Chinese)This paper focuses on the status quo,progress and future development prospects of human geogra-phy,particularly on its crucial and newly emerged subgroups including the theory of human-environment in-teractions,cultural geography,behavioral geography,social geography,and political geography.After compar-ing intensive literature review of both China and English-world scholars,we strongly believe that human geog-raphy in China has achieved fruitful results on its theoretical innovation,research methodology,technological innovation and practical application.Some conclusions can be drawn as follows.(1) By virtue of geographical thinking,the position and content of the theory of human-environment interactions has been greatly enhanced.(2) The scope of cultural geography has broadened,whose study direction is turning to New Cultural Geogra-phy.(3) Behavioral geography has aroused attention and generated many crucial results.(4) To meet the needs of geopolitical strategy,political geography resurges in the research and policy analysis circles.(5) Along with the construction of harmonious society,social geography is emerging as an important field.The general trends of Chinese human geography in future has to keep pace with Chinese social and economic development,be oriented to the national strategic needs,aimed at establishing a scientific development viewpoint with harmonious human-environment interactions,and solving new problems in national development with full strength.Mean-while,it should deepen studies on the theory and research methods of human-environment interactions,strengthen the research on the regulation mechanism,process,pattern,rhythm,and the demonstration and application of the man-land system,and strengthen the research on systematical management and monitoring,dynamic simulation,and technique support system,and enhance the research on global problems,global change and its regional response in the evolution process of man-land system,and reinforce the research on human-oriented environmental ethics and ecological morality of man-land system.With the rapid development of the national cultural industry and the strategic requirement of cultural construction of a powerful country,we should strengthen the inter-disiciplinary research between cultural geography study and cultural industry promotion,and construct the subject system of cultural geography based on absorbing overseas advanced results.Meanwhile,the theoretical scope and depth of research on behavioral geography should be expanded,and the experimental study should be strengthened.Last but not the least,human geographers should pay attention to the research of New Geopolitics,urban political geography and local political geography,and promote the development of social geography based on the Sixth National Population Census Data.We did this research to promote a faster but sound and sustainable development of human geography in China.


Fu Bojie, Leng Shuying, Song Changqing, 2015. The characteristics and tasks of geography in the new era.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(8): 939-945. (in Chinese)Geography is a subject of "exploring the laws of nature, declaring the human essence", with characteristics of comprehensiveness and interactiveness. Since the 1980 s, Geography plays an important role in global environmental change research programs. Theories, methods and techniques of Geography have become the basis for solving the problems of the sustainable development of human society is facing. Originated in the global environment change research, and combined with the social science research, The " Future Earth" research plan represents the direction of the development of Geography in the new period. In contemporary, Geography research methods have shift from survey, observation, and records, drawings and other traditional research methods to the modern scientific methods such as spatial statistics, earth observation, GIS, indoor and outdoor simulation and modeling, decision-making system, etc., and are gradually tend to comprehensive and quantitative. As the problems that Geography is facing are more complex and more comprehensive, the Geography research issues become more comprehensive and diverse, and attract more extensive subjects to participate in. In more and more field, the angle of Geography are considered. The discipline boundary that concepts and tools belonging to is blurring. In the new era, the geography, is heading for geographical science. China is an ideal geography test sites of studying the problem of the sustainable development of human society. The future development of Chinese Geography needs to deepen the comprehensive and integrated understanding of the complex man-land system, and strengthen the research of global problems. To achieve the goal of geographical science and social service value, the internationalization level of Chinese geographical science needs to be promoted, and the ability of using advanced technology to parse geographical phenomenon needs to be improved.


Gu Chaolin, 2009. Chinese human geography in transition.Acta Geographica Sinica, 64(10): 1175-1183. (in Chinese)Chinese human geography, as a branch of geography, has played an important role in the service of development for the country since the reform and opening up, at the same time, the process of national development has flourished the disciplines of human geography. However, much discussion has taken place on the status of human geography, in particular the debates have been long focused on human geography research methodology. In the context of globalization, the world needs to understand China, and China needs to enter the world system, thus in this process human geography will become even more important than ever. This paper explores the development process of human geography, and highlights the role that human geography has played as a major part of geography. On the one hand, economic, social and political changes in China have promoted the development of human geography, and on the other hand, Chinese human geography can make its due contributions to the development of the country with the enhancement of China's international economic status. Besides, human geography has its own law of development and research methods. We should emancipate the mind, and pay more attention to the law of value in economics, the value of social justice in social science , natural landscape and historical analysis methods, and analysis of quantity. There is a need to deepen and innovate the Chinese human geography research as well as to upgrade its results obtained in previous studies.


He Canfei, Guo Qi, Ma Yan et al.Ma Yan , 2014. Progress of economic geography in the West: A literature review.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1207-1223. (in Chinese)Since the 1980 s,the western countries have developed into the postindustrial society with the dominance of knowledge based economies and services. The societal economic transformations make the space-economy relations more complex. Economic actors are embedded in the complex global-local system. Economic geography starts to go beyond economics and widely borrows theories and methods from sociology,management,institutional economics,anthropology,and cultural studies. This paper provides a comprehensive literature review about the progress in the western economic geography in the last three decades,documenting the changes of research perspectives,progresses in hot research areas and policy relevance. The mainstream economic geography has experienced a number of turns in research perspectives,including new regionalism,institutional turn,cultural turn,relational turn and evolutionary turn. Political economy remains one of the influential perspectives in the research of economic geography,especially in the global financial crisis. Based on the analysis of knowledge network of economic geography built with key words,this paper identifies eight hot research areas in the western economic geography and reviews their progresses in research. Those areas include region and local development,industrial geography,economic globalization,labor geography,innovation geography,consumption geography,financial geography and environmental economic geography. Finally,this paper summarizes the key features of economic geography in the west and proposes some implications for economic geographers in China.


Huang Jinchuan, Chen Shouqiang, 2015. Classification of China’s urban agglomerations.Progress in Geography, 34(3): 290-301. (in Chinese)Urban agglomeration is an important carrier of China's new urbanization strategy, but also a new geographical unit for participating in global competition and international division of labor. At present, the mode of China's regional spatial governance is undergoing a major shift from the original spatial split according to the administrative divisions to govern in accordance with the type of area. Based on the significant extension of the characteristics of urban agglomerations, we divide the 23 Chinese urban agglomerations at four levels and analyze the spatial variation, aiming to provide a scientific basis for the implementation of China's urban agglomerations spatial pattern optimization and planning. First, the 23 areas are divided into national, regional,sub- regional and local levels of urban agglomerations with reference to the development status of more mature urban agglomerations worldwide, resulting in a "3-5-6-9" pyramid structure for the four levels. Then, based on the five essential characteristics of urban agglomerations, we build an index system for the classification of urban agglomerations that consists of 10 factors and 22 indicators, and a Q-type cluster analysis is employed to quantitatively group five kinds of the urban agglomerations: mature export- oriented type, dual- core catch- up type, environment-friendly type, single nuclear radiation type, and inland extensive type. Finally, by synthesizing the classification results of different levels and quantitative clustering, China's urban agglomerations are divided into 10 subgenera: National mature export-oriented genre, national dual-core catch-up genre, regional dual-core catch- up genre, sub- regional environment- friendly genre, local environment- friendly genre, regional single nuclear radiation genre, local single nuclear radiation genre, regional inland extensive genre, subregional inland extensive genre, and local inland extensive genre.


Jin Fengjun, Zhang Wenchang, Zhang Xiaolin et al.Zhang Xiaolin , 2011. Growth and development of transport geography in IGSNRR.Progress in Geography, 30(4): 417-425. (in Chinese)The Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research(IGSNRR),CAS has been founded for 70 years and has achieved great success.IGSNRR has established a strong basis for geography re-search of China.Each branch has made its own contribution to the growth and development of IGSNRR,includ-ing transport geography.This paper mainly summarizes and assesses the foundation and growth of transport ge-ography in IGSNRR since the 1950s,and also introduces IGSNRR’s research fields,research groups,and re-search achievements in transport geography.Transport geography in IGSNRR grew from nothing to something,and from little to much,and mainly aimed at satisfying the central government’s strategic demands.The re-search group completes some practical projects,and meanwhile summarizes relative theories and methods.Re-cently,the research group tries to enhance international exchanges and cooperation,and promotes the interna-tionalization of research subjects.


Leng Shuying, Song Changqing, 2005. Challenges and opportunities of Chinese geography.Acta Geographica Sinica, 60(4): 553-558. (in Chinese)A rational institutional framework consisting of relavant research institutes and intellectuals has been formed in China in the process of geographical development. However, geographical development is also meeting challenges in the point of view of either disciplinary development or national demands for new economic construction and social advancement. Generally there are some advantages in practical demands for and professional reserve of Chinese geography as well as the understanding of international geographical developmental trend. Meanwhile there are still some gaps compared with the international advanced standard in the aspects of professionals' train of thoughts relating to integrated studies, problems of interest, research methods and approaches, knowledge structure of professionals as well as public recognition of the role of geography.

Leng Shuying, 2013. The researching features of human geography in NSFC.Acta Geographica Sinica, 68(10): 1307-1315. (in Chinese)

Li Xiaojian, Fan Xinsheng, Luo Qing, 2014. The development of Chinese economic geography: A review on papers published in Acta Geographica Sinica from 1934 to 2013. Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1093-1108. 1108. (in Chinese)Papers published in Acta Geographica Sinica are academically regarded as of high quality,speciality and practice- oriented studies. Reviewing these papers can help us better sketch the contours of the development of economic geography in China. This article examined 421 economic geography papers published in Acta Geographica Sinica from 1934 to 2013 based on the number of papers,evolution tracks,research paradigm,topics,and the development of sub- disciplines,and concluded that economic geography research in China has made considerable progress. But this progress remains uneven among sub-disciplines of economic geography. It has shown a close link to new issues in economic development,changing from studies on economic growth to sustainable development,from studies pertinent to nature elements to those pertinent to anthropogenic elements,and the study areas having shifted from industries providing tangible goods to economic activities on services aspects.Sub- disciplines focused on regional,industrial,and agricultural studies before the 1980 s,while a growing number of papers have since then been published on transportation,service industries,and urban studies. Research ideas in the 80 years originated from various sources,leading to research by using multiple spatial scales and dynamic quantificational methods. In summary,Chinese economic geographical research has always stood close to the nation's requirements,leaning towards macro studies,economic growth,and practical characteristics.However,studies at the micro scale,with comprehensive features and theoretical deductions are emerging increasingly.


Liu Weidong, 2014. Economic geography for spatial governance.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1109-1116. (in Chinese)Economic geography is a discipline that studies geographical practices in the real world and plays an important role in supporting the state's strategic decision- making on spatial development and helping to understand spatial issues and solutions in contemporary society. Thus,the discipline's vitality lies with its capability to satisfy the demands of the state and society. At present,the development of economic geography in China is facing two critical challenges or opportunities. First,the Communist Party of China,the ruling party,lists modernization and enhancement of national governance capability as a major target of deepening reforms in China,which indicates reforms in the country are moving from targetoriented(i.e.,crossing the river by feeling the stones) to institutional building and capability enhancement. Second,recently the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council co- launched a large scientific program,i.e. the Future Earth,which calls for inter-disciplinary research for managing the Earth's environment and moving towards sustainable development,and China has established its national committee on Future Earth.The program emphasizes the connection of research to decision-making of both the state and society. Against these two opportunities,this paper suggests an economic geography for spatial governance to lift the discipline's capability to engage with the state and society. Then the paper gives a general discussion of the political,administrative and cultural basis on which China's unique governance structure has developed,as well as a general picture of major tools that the Chinese government has taken for spatial governance,including planning,land,Hukou,and fiscal and tax systems. This paper argues economic geographers can do a better job only if they have a better understanding and theorization of China's national governance structure although they were inclined to do research either at local and global scales or global-local connections and ignored the national scale in the past.


Liu Weidong, 2015. Scientific understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative of China and related research themes.Progress in Geography, 34(5): 538-544. (in Chinese)The Belt and Road Initiative here the "Belt" stands for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the "Road" stands for the 21 st Century Maritime Silk Road s a call of China for new modes of regional economic cooperation under the trend of development of economic globalization. It targets at promoting orderly and free flow of economic factors, efficient allocation of resources, and deep integration of markets; enabling the countries along the Belt and Road to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out broader, deeper, and more efficient economic cooperation; and jointly building an open, inclusive, and balanced regional economic cooperation architecture. Thus the Belt and Road Initiative is an alternative road to further economic globalization, but contains ideas that are different from the past, that is, the spirit of the Silk Road "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win." Based on such an understanding, this article first analyzes the general background of the Belt and Road Initiative against economic globalization and the changing configurations of the world, and then discusses the Initiative's spatial connotation by revealing its multi-scalar and transscalar characteristics. The article points out that the Belt and Road Initiative is a national strategy, rather than a regional strategy, to coordinate all-around opening of China to the world and promote further integration of the country into the global economy. Last, the article suggests several research themes in geography that are brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative, including geopolitical studies, geography of countries of the region to explore cooperation opportunities, foreign direct investment theories advanced by the Belt and Road Initiative, and optimization of transcontinental transportation.

Liu Weidong, Jin Fengjun, Zhang Wenzhong et al.Zhang Wenzhong , 2011. Progress in economic geography (2006-2011).Progress in Geography, 30(12): 1479-1487. (in Chinese)Economic geography,the study on the location,distribution and spatial organization of economic ac-tivities,is an important subfield of the discipline of geography,and has always been playing a significant role in understanding and solving the geographical and spatial issues of economic activities.Economic geography in China was affected not only by the country's economic and institutional conditions,but also by academic thoughts and research methods from Europe,America and the former Soviet Union.Its unique trajectory forms a distinct"practice-based"characteristic,and can be summarized as"promoting the discipline through fulfilling tasks",namely,the primary target and driving force of the discipline development are to satisfy the strategic demand of the country.At the same time,the practice tasks promoted the theoretical development.Chinese economic geographers' work is widely recognized by governments at all levels and the whole society in the country.The development of China's economic geography in recent years has the following characteristics.(1) Spatial planning at different scales is an important part of the research in economic geography(planning-oriented);(2) An increasing importance has been attached to the cross-disciplinary approach to the issue of economic geography,and to the cooperative study with other disciplines,especially with natural sciences(comprehensive guide).(3) Regional development and regional differences have become major study fields of economic geography(regionalism).(4) New techniques and simulation tools including GIS-based simulation analysis and visualization are more widely used(the application of new techniques).(5) China economic geographers are going out of the country and actively serve in international academic organizations(going towards"international").The traditional research fields of economic geography have been greatly strengthened,at the same time,some new fields emerged,some of which,such as function zoning,energy and carbon emissions,globalization and foreign trade,producer service industry,information technology and the internet,and rural area development and farmers geographic location research,have made great progress.Meanwhile,China's economic geography achieved significant progress in the areas of man-land system and regional sustainable development,new factorsand new patterns of regional development,industrial cluster and industrial agglomeration,globalization,multinational corporations and foreign investment,transportation geography and spatial organization,the transformation of resource-based cities and old industrial bases,marine economic geography,and regional spatial planning approaches.Function zoning analysis is highly associated with the Major Function Oriented Zoning.Carbon emissions are a new and amazing topic which brings economic geography into a grand field of global environmental change.Globalization,finance and information technology are important emerging factors shaping China regional development.Economic geographers are playing a critical role in making major spatial planning.The main nation-scale territorial planning projects are Main Function Zoning,the revitalization planning for Northeast China,the development strategy of Western China,the planning for the rise of Central China,the planning for resource-exhausted cities,eco-regional development planning,and other key areas lanning,such as the Yangtze River Delta,Beijing,Tianjin,and Chengdu-Chongqing region.Based on practical research,China's economic geographers,mostly from the Chinese Academy of Sciences,provided the CPC Central Committee and State Council with a number of advisory reports and exerted a great influence on the national policy making.The new development contents,for example,the globalization of sciences,the economic(re)rise of China,and the emergence of social and environmental problems,offers huge opportunities to the development of China's economic geography.Although China's economic geography has made remarkable achievements in the past years,it is facing challenges.In addition,the academic contribution of China's economic geography to the international academic circle is relatively weak in terms of academic outputs.We suggest that China's economic geography in the coming decade needs to(1) continue to meet strategic demands of national development,and further construct economic geography with Chinese characteristics;(2) strengthen the discipline construction and improve the capacity for sustainable academic development,through constructing new cooperation platforms and personnel training,and creating an atmosphere of academic criticism;(3) strengthen the advantages of tradi-tional research areas,explore new problems and new phenomena of economic geography,and actively participate in the discussion of major topics such as global change;(4) improve the ability to apply new techniques in simulating and visualizing economic activities,including GIS,geo-computation,spatial intelligence;(5) expand international academic exchanges through attending and hosting international conferences.


Liu Yungang, Li Zhigang, Li Bin, 2014. A critical review of research methods of Western human geography: A combination of knowing and doing for Chinese human geography.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1224-1233. (in Chinese)The research of China's human geography today calls for a transition from ‘exquisite mediocrity’ to ‘exquisite innovation’. This transition demands scholars to clean up the barriers in- between scholarships and their application, and by returning to the origin of innovation, the interaction between theories and reality, and abandoning their superstition and imitation within the studies or imitation of Western human geography. We identify several key issues for Chinese researchers, such as an understanding of the roots of western theories and methods, and their links to indigenous problems or institutions; improving the development of academic institutions by distinguishing society and association, scholarship and application, academic and applied geography; encouraging real scientific spirit with criticism; keeping the openness of the system of knowledge-production and being respondent to the indigenous demands of the society; deepening the communication between theories and phenomena. To extricate itself from the trap of colonial geography and to build up a model of independent production of knowledge, for China's human geography the combination of knowing and doing is the only pathway.


Liu Yansui, Zhou Yang, Liu Jilai, 2016. Regional differentiation characteristics of rural poverty and targeted poverty alleviation strategy in China.Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 31(3): 269-278. (in Chinese)Poverty is a challenge facing all countries and the international community as a whole. Narrowing the rural-urban gap and eliminating poverty to ultimately achieve common prosperity is an ideal that humanity constantly pursues. China has long insisted the government-led to promote poverty reduction and constantly bring forth theoretical,organization,and institutional innovation of poverty relief in practice,and explored a road of poverty alleviation and development with Chinese characteristics that captures the world's attention,contributing significantly to the global effort to eliminate poverty. However,at present China still have 70.17 million poor people in rural areas,becoming the biggest weakness for building moderately prosperous society. This study deeply analyzed and investigated the basic characteristics of Chinese rural poverty in the new era and then revealed the laws of territorial differentiation of rural poverty,and explored the leading factors and the main sticking points of rural poverty. Finally,we proposed some problem-oriented policy implications for poverty alleviation in China. Results showed that China has still large poor populations with the characteristics of wide distribution and deep poverty,and it is more and more difficult to leave the remaining poor population out of poverty by conventional measures. The phenomenon on poverty and returning to fall into poverty again for the poor who have got rid of poverty induced by disease,disability,and natural disasters are very universal. The remaining poor population gradually gathered towards the central-western deep mountain,alpine areas,minority areas,and border areas,with coexistence of impoverished households,poor villages,poverty counties and areas. The proportion of poor people in the northwestern and southeastern regions of the Hu Huanyong line was 16.4% and 83.6%,respectively. The crux of the persistent poverty in rural China was largely due to harsh natural conditions,poor regional location,infrastructure backwardness,uneven regional development,and inaccurate early anti-poverty policies and measures. These findings demonstrated that it is urgent to innovate the institutional mechanisms for anti-poverty and promote scientifically the targeted poverty alleviating strategy in China. In present,five important aspects need to be strengthened further to implement China's targeted poverty alleviation strategy:(1) Deepening the frontier theory and practical exploration of the targeted poverty alleviation;(2) Strengthening the institution establishment,management innovation and platform creation of the targeted poverty alleviation;(3) Attaching importance to summarizing the new modes emerging in the process of poverty alleviation and development for different region types;(4) Creating a multi-target system for the assessment of targeted poverty alleviation and its dynamic evaluation mechanism;(5) Integrated planning and long-term design of the strategy for shaking off poverty and sustainable development in the rural areas.

Long Hualou, 2016. The establishment ceremony of China Urban-Rural Development Think Tank Alliance and expert seminar held in Beijing.Acta Geographica Sinica, 71(2): 352-353. (in Chinese)

Long Hualou, Liu Yansui, Zhang Xiaolin et al.Zhang Xiaolin , 2014. Recent progress in agricultural geography and rural development research.Acta Geographica Sinica, 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.


Lu Dadao, 2009. A tribute to the geographers for their contributions to China and mankind.Acta Geographica Sinica, 64(10): 1155-1163. (in Chinese)

Lu Dadao, 2011a. The methodology of human-economic geography and its characteristics.Geographical Research, 30(3): 387-396. (in Chinese)Based on the analysis of the background of geographical development,this paper expounds the basic methodology of human-economic geography and the characteristics of man-land system,and proposes studies on "man-land system dynamics".The paper is an effort to develop a comprehensive theory system and to improve academic research of human-economic geography by expatiating its methodology and characteristics.It can also contribute to forging a consensus that human-economic geography and sustainable development research have had a significant position for academia,especially for physical science;meanwhile,to promoting formation of research framework on resource-environment(including ecological)-sustainable development study in earth surface system.Being dead against the prejudice of a few scholars,it emphasizes and analyzes the uncertainty and scientific characteristics of human-economic geography.


Lu Dadao, 2011b. Development of geographical sciences and research on global change in China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 66(2): 147-156. (in Chinese)Geographical research in China has witnessed great changes in the past 10 years. It is mainly involved in global change research in a wide range of fields. This paper presents the main topics of global change and the roles that geographers will play in these studies. It indicates that the long-term rapid economic growth in China has a much greater impact on environmental change than the atmospheric warming does. Thus geographers should put emphasis on the relevant major regional issues as well as the trends in the global change research.


Lu Dadao, 2013. Characteristics of human geographical proposals of National Natural Science Foundation of China.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 33(8): 897-901. (in Chinese)The article explores the characteristics of human geography of China in recent years, based on a study of human geographical proposals of National Natural Science Foundation of China from 2007 to 2011, which includes an analysis of application code, key research area and research contents of these proposals. The conclusions can be drawn as follows.(1) More complicated research issues and more interdisciplinary research projects make it difficult for us to distinguish human geography from other relevant disciplines;(2)research interest reflects the characteristics of the times and presents a balanced distribution in the number of disciplinary orientations;(3) more key words have appeared, but less disciplinary identity was shown in the representations;(4) topic selection is featured by local application, and the awareness of disciplinary system construction is increasing.


Lu Dadao, 2015a. The value of geographical science and the feelings of geographers.Acta Geographica Sinica, 70(10): 1539-1551. (in Chinese)This paper focuses on the viewpoint proposed by predecessors of geography and they believed that geography is interdiscipline subject between natural science and social science. From the perspective of national demand and development trend of international geography, this paper explains the objects and nature of geographical science and characters of region as well as comprehensive characteristics and knowledge structure. Besides, it elaborates the differences among geography, natural science and social science and advocates that geographers should concentrate on the China's environmental changes and the issues of sustainable development and further fulfil the advantages of interdiscipline and comprehensive subject. Finally, this paper proposes that China's geographical science is faced with the significant opportunities and some deep-seated crises.


Lu Dadao, 2015b. Moderate-speed growth: Sustainable development of China’s economy.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(10): 1207-1219. (in Chinese)China's national economy has experienced a long period of rapid growth, but prominent structural problems have already appeared. Instead of following the traditional research approach of investigating the speed of future economic growth through investment, consumption and export, this article analyzes the capacities of systems which support economic growth, including resource(energy), environment(bearing capacity)and the urbanization and development patterns on the basis of resources and environment. It includes seven aspects: 1 It points out that the long period of high-speed-but-low-efficiency economic growth has led to the structural problems at the current stage. 2 It analyzes the serious situation of China's environmental pollution. 3 It argues that excessive consumption of natural resources may bring about severe national security issues. 4 It indicates that urbanization is the most important supporting factor of the high-speed economic development of our country.5 It holds that the development patterns of"world factory"of low-end products and relying on investment which have been practiced for a long period of time are important concepts and supports of the high-speed economic development of China. 6 It also argues that China has taken full advantage of backwardness which has limits in fact. 7 Finally, based on practice and international experience, it analyzes the relationships between the speed of economic growth and employment, the influence of the country, and economic transformation briefly. Based on these analyses, a meta-synthetic research is conducted and the following conclusions are arrived at: China's economic development will enter a stage of moderate-speed growth rather quickly. The economic growth of a moderate speed will create significant opportunities and spaces for building economic superpower and achieving a harmonious society in China.

Lu Dadao, 2015c. Splendid achievements, greater mission: Write before the 33rd International Geographical Congress in Beijing.Advances in Earth Science, 30(10): 1075-1080. (in Chinese)This paper reviewed the major achievements of geography in China over the past 60 years. It pointed out that such accomplishments are unmatched by any other countries in the world in the diversity of fields,scale,and their contributions to solve significant practical problems in the development of our country and society and that the theoretical progress made in certain important fields also took a leading position in the world in general. The 33 rd International Geographical Congress which will be held in Beijing in August 2016 will be a rare opportunity for Chinese geography to display its notable achievements to the world systematically and thoroughly. We should take full advantage of this Congress and make it a good opportunity for Chinese geography to comprehensively reach out to and lead the world in the new development of geography.

Lu Dadao, Chen Mingxing, 2015. Several viewpoints on the background of compiling the “National New Urbanization Planning (2014-2020)”.Acta Geographica Sinica, 70(2): 179-185. (in Chinese)The "National New Urbanization Planning(2014- 2020)"(hereinafter referred to as "Planning") marks a significant transformation in China's urbanization development process,with the core of human urbanization, and the general requirement of seeking advance in stability. This paper elaborates the authors' preliminary thoughts on the formation of the "Planning" mainly from the speed and quality aspects of the urbanization development.Urbanization level should be consistent with industrial restructuring, the amount of new jobs,the actual ability of absorbing rural population, and water- soil resource and environment capacity of the urban area, etc. The large scale and high speed urbanization development in China has resulted in severe environment pollution, great pressures on the infrastructure, and huge challenge to the supporting capacity of natural resources. Urbanization is an important frontier scientific issue with obvious cross disciplinary feature, which is also a complex system.The interdisciplinary human economic geography has outstanding advantages and solid research foundation in the field of urbanization research. Therefore, facing the significant realistic demand of the national new urbanization, we should do some in- depth research and tracking studies in this field.


Lu Yuqi, 2014. The major objectives and implementation methods for human geography toward the tendency of physical science.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1224-1233. (in Chinese)The development of contemporary human geography shows a diverse tendency. Physical science should be the base of human geography, and the tendency of physical science will be the unavoidable choice and unique way for future development of human geography in China. According to the disciplinary property of human geography and the need of Chinese economic social development, the tendency of physical science should not be a passive target but an initiative pursuit. There are two elementary goals. One is building a relatively complete theory system of regional spatial structure. It is necessary to discover new regional spatial structure patterns, construct evolution model of the central place system and find the internal logical relationship among different structure patterns from the perspective of typology and phylogeny. The other is constructing relatively complete methods of spatial analysis. The region can be divided into homogeneous region and functional region, and furthermore be decomposed into three fundamental elements: point, line, and area. The theoretical framework of spatial analysis for human geography in this article is constructed by the technologies to explore and express the spatial coupling inter- and intra-elements. Expanding the accessibility analysis technology, integration of economic models and spatial analysis technologies, construction of the comprehensive system of spatial-temporal spectrum spatial analysis, and discovery of new spatial analysis technologies based on the extension of space concepts, should be the significant fields of spatial analysis for human geography in the future. To achieve these goals, we should establish scientific thinking patterns, integrate resource and environment basis, improve the long period analysis of historical process from the perspective of phylogeny and fully use modern technology such as mathematical model and GIS technology.


Song Changqing, 2016. On paradigms of geographical research.Progress in Geography, 35(1): 1-3. (in Chinese)


Song Changqing, Leng Shuying, 2006. Some important scientific problems of integrative study of Chinese geography in 5-10 years.Acta Geographica Sinica, 60(4): 546-552. (in Chinese)A multiple element and integrative geographical study has been developing from previous single element and process study all over the world facing more and more complicated and synthetic target of study. There have been some outstanding achievements in the earth surface process description and human process understanding in Chinese geographical study. Meanwhile there are lots of aspects to be perfected, among which the synthetic and integrated study ability needs to be improved especially. In the following 5 to 10 years, Chinese geographical study should be aimed at theories and approaches of synthesis and integration on the basis of in-depth study of earth surface processes so as to rapidly mix together with all-round modern international geographical development.

Tang Maolin, 2013. Problem-dominated versus method-dominated? The reflection on the methodology of human geography research in mainland China.Human Geography, 28(5): 19-23. (in Chinese)The social science research in mainland China is obviously policy-oriented, and this tradition has a long history. The main purpose of the researches is to verify the validity of the policies by the national and local authorities. As a part of social science, human geography research in mainland China has almost the same policy-oriented. It is also becoming more and more obvious that there emerges a trend of method-oriented in the researches. The policy- oriented and method- oriented of Chinese human geography studies can be explained by several factors, including pragmatism, lack or lost of our research tradition, critical thinking not so popular because of traditional Chinese culture, the dominant thinking of science and technology, the oversimple understanding of modernization, the highly praised of instrumental rationality, and the progress of statistical software and remote sensing and geographical information system. Based on such transformation towards ambitious prospect of human geography studies in China, let us do our best to see whether we can thus find new geographical problems or phenomena, validate their ubiquity and search theoretical explanations(old or new ones). We should remember that all methods and techniques are the tools to solve our academic or practical problems. According to Jrgen Habermas human sciences can be divided into three broad categories, empirical- analytic sciences, historical-hermeneutic sciences and critical sciences. As to our human geographical studies little attention has been paid to the critical sciences and the attention been paid to the historical-hermeneutic sciences are limited.

Wang Chengjin, 2008. Research prospect and progress of modern port geography.Advances in Earth Science, 23(3): 243-251. (in Chinese)The theorical and empirical researches about port including seaport and riverport which is the most important infrastructure of one region or country have developed into a branch subject of humanity geography called port geography and main contents of transportation geography since 1950s.Based on review about the social-economic background changes of transportation geography research,we discussed the research progress and study contents of modern port geography,especially analyzed its important opinions of different research period,from these perspectives including its basal research categories,developing theory of port,ports system,hub port,port and its hinterland,marine shipping network,shipping company and port terminal company.Moreover,we analyzed the research progress and study contents of modern port geography in China,and the important opinions from foreign researchers on Chinese port system and shipping market competition.Then,we concluded and commented on the research characteristics of modern port geography,from its perspectives of research contents,research categories,research institutions and important research regions,which concluded its developing regularites and research path since 1950s.Finally,based on these discussions,we probed into the future research trends of modern port geography in detail,from the perspectives of research fields,research category and research institutions.This study concluded the research progress and developing regularity of modern port geography since 1950s,which will help enrich the theory system of this subject and its empirical research.

Wu Chuanjun, Zhang Jiazhen, 1999. Review the development of geography in the 20th century and prospect for geography in the 21st century: Congratulation on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Geographical Society of China.Acta Geographica Sinica, 54(5): 385-390. (in Chinese)

Xue Desheng, Wang Li, 2014. Progress of urban geography research in China since the 1980s.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(8): 1117-1129. (in Chinese)Built on a database composed of major books and journals published in mainland China,this study examines and summarizes the development of urban geography in postreform China for the last decades. It applies the methods of literature quantitative analysis to interrogate the modality of recent urban geography and its studies within China's mainland.The findings include: first,along with China's miracle economic growth the community of urban geography also sees a remarkable prosperity in the last years. In particular,the topics and contents of this field witness a sustained expansion and evolvement. Moreover,its research methods are becoming more and more scientific and standardized,while the scale of these studies is turning from macroscopic to microscopic level. Along with a remarkable increase of both topics and interdisciplinary approaches,the perspectives of urban geography studies turn to be even diversified. It is found that state policy and hot- spot topics have significant impacts upon the development or direction of urban geography research. In addition,the impacts of Western theory or schools upon the research in China's mainland are also prominent. We argue that the emphasis of both theoretical studies and their applications is a key feature of post-reform China's urban geography research,among which urbanization and urban system are two key directions. After a comparative analysis of our case with recent development of urban geography in the West and other contexts such as South Africa or Brazil,say the global south,we suggest that the future study of Chinese cities should further expand a global perspective,critically import western theories,explore new theories as well as interdisciplinary approaches,and further follow the academic standard of international communities.


Xue Desheng, Zeng Xianjun, 2016. Evaluation of China’s urbanization quality and analysis of its spatial pattern transformation based on the modern life index.Acta Geographica Sinica, 71(2): 194-204. (in Chinese)New urbanization is one of China's key national policies. Scientific evaluation focusing upon the human being is the necessary basis of understanding China's recent urbanization and then developing the right policies. There are currently two main evaluation methods of urbanization: the proportion of urban population in a given country or region, and the development of cities and towns in a given region, which are based on the urban-rural dual system. These two methods have deeply reflected the economic and spatial changes than the social restructuring in the course of urbanization, which means the human being as the core of urbanization, particularly those living in the countryside, has not been paid enough attention. Based on the interaction between people's daily activities and urban environment, this paper established a new evaluation system of the population's urbanization quality with 7 modern life indexes, and analyzed the urbanization quality of the urban, rural and the total population at the two levels of the state and 31 provinces. The main findings are: (1) As a social restructuring process, urbanization has not only taken place in the cities and towns, although the urbanization speed in the urban areas is more faster than that in the rural areas. The urbanization quality of both urban and rural population has improved at state and provincial levels since 1995. (2) Two different urbanization spatial patterns of the urban and rural population have formed during the past two decades. The urban population has changed from a low level balance before 1995 to the rise of some provinces in 2000, to the dual structure of East and West in 2005, to the trichotomy of Eastern-Central-Western China after 2010, which is evolving to a higher balanced situation; While the urbanization of rural population has changed from a low level balance before 1995 to the two gradient patterns of Coastal East and Inland Middle and West in recently years. (3) The urbanization quality indexes of rural population in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang Province have exceeded those of urban population in some inland lower urbanized provinces such as Jiangxi, Guizhou, Qinghai and Tibet, which indicates that the urbanization of rural population in the coastal areas is well developed compared with some inland urban areas. So this paper suggests that the evaluation ways and standard of urbanization should be changed, the institutional system of dual urban-rural system should be modified, in order to meet the demand of China's objective need of urbanization.


Yu Taofang, Lu Lachang, LiuYunganget al., 2012. Progress of urban geography in China.Progress in Geography, 30(12): 1488-1497. (in Chinese)

Zhen Feng, Qin Xiao, Xi Guangliang, 2015. The innovation of geography and human geography in the information era.Scientia Geographica Sinica, 35(1): 11-18. (in Chinese)The impacts of information and telecommunication technology(ICT) on geographic progress and the innovation of theories and methods in geography are very popular research topics for geography and other related disciplines in the past 30 years. With wide application of next-generation information technology, geography will face with many opportunities in the future. There is more important academic value and practical significance to discuss theoretical system innovation of geography, especially human geography. Based on analysis of related studies of ICT and geography, this article pays more attention to discuss the development and innovation of Chinese human geography including methodological innovation based application of big data, analysis framework of space of flows, Man-land relationship with theory system and application, etc. As to the development of Chinese human geography in the future, on the one hand, it needs to break up framework of traditional discipline to foster a new theoretical and methodological system of human geography in the information era with integrating innovation works of other related disciplines including theories, methods and technology.On the other hand, some steps also should be done to enhance ability to solve problems for human geography and comprehensive application according to Chinese characteristics and national strategies.


Zhou Shangyi, Dai Juncheng, 2014. Logic analysis of concept and theory of cultural geography: Progress in cultural geography in China’s mainland during the past decade.Acta Geographica Sinica, 69(10): 1521-1532. (in Chinese)A review of progress in cultural geography in mainland of China during the past ten years needs to be discussed. This paper constructs an analysis system which recent research projects and publications relate to. Some articles reviewed the research of cultural geography by Chinese scholars based on the view angle of five themes in traditional cultural geography. However, they did not tell the logical relation between key concepts and theories.The method of this paper is constructivism. It takes references to build up a "genealogy tree" of cultural geography. The main object in geography is "place and region". Cultural geography seeks to analyze the mechanism of place from the perspective of culture. This is the trunk of the "genealogy tree". "Relationships between layers" and "scaling of place" are two branches of this tree. They are two methods to explore place. This paper also puts main concepts and theories to the "tree". The three conclusions are as follows. The first is that many case studies done by Chinese cultural geographers are on mechanism of place making.Most are based on the methodology of structuralism. The second is that the major development by Chinese cultural geographers is increasing the volume of case studies which refer to interaction between different layers of cultural system, which do not only refer to nature- society nexus. The third is about scale conversion issues of cultural areas. Chinese cultural geographers have started to pay attention to this poorly developed theme.