Research Articles

Urban structural evolution over a century in Changchun city, Northeast China

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS, Changchun 130102, China

Author: Kuang Wenhui, PhD and Associate Professor, specialization in Land Use/Cover Change (LUCC) and urban ecology. E-mail:

Received date: 2017-08-28

  Accepted date: 2017-12-08

  Online published: 2018-12-20

Supported by

China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.BX201700241; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371408


Knowledge on urban land-use change and its driving forces has vital significance in the practice of urban planning and management. However, the characteristics of historical, long-term changes and their quantitative relationships with the urban environment are still poorly understood. Based on multi-source data, including remote sensing imageries, large-scale topographic maps, historical maps, multi-temporal city maps, and other urban thematic maps, high-quality spatial information on urban land use in the built-up area of Changchun has been extracted for 1898, 1932, 1954, 1976, 1990, 2002, and 2012 by means of geographic information systems and remote sensing. We found that the land-use structure and spatial configuration has undergone tremendous alterations according to urban function in the 100-year history of Changchun city. The built-up area of Changchun expanded from 2.26 km2 in 1898 to 328.12 km2 in 2012, increasing about 144 times over the past century. Historically, the development of Changchun can be categorized into three stages: the initial forming stage, the old industrial development stage, and the modern metropolis development stage. Commercial and industrial land expanded rapidly following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with an increase from 1.74 km2 in 1954 to 15.91 km2 in 2012, and from 16.45 km2 in 1954 to 107.05 km2 in 2012, respectively. Although there was substantial growth in residential land use (from 1.81 km2 in 1898 to 113.95 km2 in 2012), the area percentage of residential land decreased continuously (from 80.09% in 1898 to 34.73% in 2012). Moreover, it was noted that the spatial configuration and structural percentage for commercial, industrial, and residential lands and others had tremendous divergences at different stages. These divergences of land-use structure occurred between the stages and were associated with social regimes and the functional orientation of urban society across the 100 years of historical development. Socio-economics, population growth, and planning policies from specific stages, especially after 1949, had strong effects on the divergence of urban structure.

Cite this article

Wenhui KUANG, Fengqin YAN . Urban structural evolution over a century in Changchun city, Northeast China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018 , 28(12) : 1877 -1895 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1569-7


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