Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (8): 1315-1328.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201608003

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Assessment and influencing factors of social vulnerability to rapid urbanization in urban fringe: A case study of Xi'an

Yanbing HE1,2(), Xiaojun HUANG1(), Lingxin ZHAI1, Qian YAN1, Xinjun YANG1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
    2. School of Architectural and Artistic Design, Henan Polytechnic University, Jiaozuo 454000, Henan, China
  • Received:2015-09-28 Revised:2015-11-30 Online:2016-08-25 Published:2016-08-30
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401138, No.41571163;Humanity and Social Science Foundation of Ministry of Education of China, No.12YJC790072;Shaanxi Natural Science Foundation, No.2014JQ5195


Vulnerability theory is an important tool to analyze the degree, mechanism and process of interaction between human and environment, which provides a new perspective for the research of sustainability assessment. Applying the tool of social vulnerability to studies of urban fringe, we consider that rapid urbanization is the major disturbance to social system of urban fringe. Taking Xi'an as an example and selecting 25 subdistricts in Xi'an urban fringe in 2013 as the basic units, this paper constructs an evaluation framework and index system of social vulnerability in urban fringe from the perspectives of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. By using entropy method, function model and combining with Fragstats software, remote sensing and geographic information system technology, this paper reveals the spatial differentiation pattern and key influencing factors of social vulnerability in Xi'an urban fringe. The results are shown as follows: (1) The exposure pattern of Xi'an urban fringe is gradually slowing down from the center, and the distance from the fringe to the center of the city has a prominent effect on the spatial distribution of exposure. High sensitivity and low exposure, as well as low sensitivity and high exposure have similar characteristics in spatial terms. Affected by non-spatial factors, the spatial regularity of adaptive capacity is not obvious, which is mainly affected by urbanization on the time scale. (2) The degree of social vulnerability and its spatial distribution are imbalanced, and the social vulnerability indexes are dominated by middle and low levels. The units of low social vulnerability indexes are distributed in the inner of urban fringe, while the units of middle social vulnerability indexes are dispersed in the periphery of urban fringe. (3) There are eight factors, including proportion of construction land, having important impacts on the social vulnerability. The change of land use pattern and landscape, as well as the imbalance of material and social development in urban fringe are the main factors. Moreover, the discrepancy of social transformation of different subdistricts in urban fringe exacerbates social vulnerability. (4) To adapt to the disturbance, urban fringe should optimize the internal structure and function of the social system by establishing adaptive management strategies and strengthening the adaptive capacity.

Key words: urbanization, land use, social vulnerability, adaptation, urban fringe, Xi'an