Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (5): 1011-1024.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201905013

• Land Use and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of land use structure in small towns of China:Empirical evidences from 121 townships

ZHAO Pengjun,LYU Di   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, The Centre for Urban Planning and Transport Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2018-04-16 Revised:2019-02-14 Online:2019-05-25 Published:2019-05-24
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571147)


Land use structure is one of the fundamental spatial features of socioeconomic development. It is also a key issue of urban planning and management in small towns because proper land use structure is related to the improvement of urban function and land use efficiency. The existing literature on land use structure in townships of China is dominated by the studies which either focus on a given region or one certain type of townships, while a nation-wide study is missed. As a result, a generalized knowledge of land use structure in townships remain scarce. This paper aims to fill the research gap. Using the data of 121 townships from a survey conducted under the leadership of the Ministry of Housing and Urban & Rural Development, the paper analyzes the characteristics of land use structure and its mechanisms in townships in China. The results of analysis show that: (1) There is a small variation in land use structure between the townships due to a small size of total population and slight difference in population size between them; (2) Residential land use occupies a high proportion of the total area of land use in most townships due to industrial hollowing-out; (3) Land use structure is significantly related with industrialization and economic growth, and the higher level of economic growth, the higher proportion of industrial land use; (4) Land use structure in the townships which are located near to the large cities shows a clear trend of urbanization-featured land use due to the spillover effects and siphonic effects from these large cities; (5) Land use structure in the townships is obviously affected by land ownership and a higher proportion of state-owned land is related with a higher level of land use for public service facilities. The findings of this paper would have important theoretical values of enriching the existing literature and practical values of guiding urban planning and construction in townships of China.

Key words: small town, land use, land use structure, China