Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (10): 1865-1879.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201810004

Special Issue: 人口与城市研究

• Urban Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal coupling of demographic-landscape urbanization and its driving forces in China

WU Yifan1(),LIU Yansui1,2(),LI Yurui2   

  1. 1. Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2017-09-05 Online:2018-10-25 Published:2018-10-25
  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program, No.2017YFC0504701


Urbanization is an inevitable trend of modernization and the fundamental transition in socioeconomic structure, human production and life style. China is undergoing a rapid and unprecedented urbanization process, and has achieved the short-term goals that European and American countries attained in the past decades or even centuries ago. This kind of rapid expansion has inevitably led to a serious imbalance between urban land expansion and urban population growth. We used the demographic-landscape urbanization coupling relationship index (ratio of the annual average growth rate of demographic permanent population and urban development land) to explore the spatio-temporal characteristics of demographic-landscape urbanization coupling situation, and further explain its driving forces during the past decade in China. All analyses, based on the demographic statistics and landscape dataset of 636 cities in China, aimed to identify and diagnose six coupling types. Furthermore, we made the macro pattern of urbanization development level more visible with the help of Kernel Density spatial analysis tool. Results show that: (1) Over the past decade, the average annual growth rate of urban development land in China was 1.65 times that of the urban population, and demographic-landscape urbanization coupling situation was poorly coordinated. (2) We found that there is a spatial dependency between demographic urbanization and landscape urbanization. Moreover, the spatial agglomeration center of high-density urban population showed a gradual westward moving trend. Meanwhile, urbanization development mode shifted from "land lag" to "population lag". (3) Generally, the area of per capita urban development land has exceeded the standard threshold; and 41.96% of the cities currently have a development land area per capita more than five times of the ideal value. (4) The proportion of three coordination types was 73.25%, which is much higher than that of three incoordination types (26.75%). Among them, "Both Growth and Uncoordinated Type" took the largest proportion of 43.27%, which reflects the uncoordinated relationship between demographic urbanization and landscape urbanization. This situation will continue or even is intensified in the years to come. Additionally, the cities located at the edge of urban agglomeration seemed to be more uncoordinated than cities at the center. This is probably because that the cities at the edge of urban agglomeration, which had a small population and low property price, relied more on the "land finance" to earn their main source of urban economic income. (5) Economic development level, population size, governmental decision-making behaviors, geographical location and regional disparity were all driving factors of demographic-landscape urbanization. In addition, there are few obvious differences in the mechanism and effect of these factors. To sum up, urban population and land use management in the new era should get more attention according to the new trend in system diagnosis and comprehensive analysis, thus to provide a scientific basis in development decision for new urbanization and urban-rural integration strategy as well as the rural revitalization strategy.

Key words: urbanization, urban-rural integration, land use, man-land coupling, rural revitalization, China