Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (6): 1366-1379.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202106004

• Population and Urban Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Identification and stage division of urban shrinkage in the three provinces of Northeast China

SUN Pingjun(), WANG Kewen   

  1. School of Geography Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2020-03-12 Revised:2020-12-22 Online:2021-06-25 Published:2021-08-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41501173);Talent Introduction Project of Southwest University(SWU019020)


Urban shrinkage is a global socio-economic phenomenon embedded in wave of economic globalization and rooted in "localization". And it has become a new proposition for Chinese geographers and urban planners to build a theoretical analysis framework of "Chinese-style" urban shrinkage research in the process of rapid urbanization and to provide Chinese experience for the study of urban shrinkage globally. In this paper, we think the essence of urban shrinkage is a response progress or status that the city's "development potential" is relative weakening or absolute degradation and caused re-location of the population-centric economic development elements and spatial reconstruction of the urban functional forms. It is a comprehensive concept, a multi-dimensional and integrated process based on the changes in population, economy, investment and consumption, and social security. And we establish the identification system and the classification criteria of urban shrinkage types based on the "two-step diagnosis method", and select the three provinces of Northeast China which are the most representative urban shrinkage regions in China to make an empirical analysis. The results show that: (1) There does exist an obvious urban shrinkage phenomenon, and the evolution trend is going to regionalization in the three provinces. And we classify the whole identified shrinkage cities into four categories: resource-dependent shrinking cities, "siphon" shrinking cities, comprehensive shrinking cities and location-constrained shrinking cities. It can be found that the resource-dependent shrinking cities are the main body, occupying 2/3 of the entire shrinking cities. (2) The spatial pattern formed by the identified shrinkage cities shows the characteristics that the number of the shrinkage cities is large in the north and small in the south, which is echoing the situation that the economic center is continuously moving from north to south. (3) From the indicator dimension, it can be found that urban shrinking wholly follows the internal evolutionary and logical connection of "investment and consumption, economic shrinkage→population shrinkage→social security shrinkage". (4) The urban shrinkage identification system and its type classification criteria based on the "two-step diagnostic method" in this paper reflect the rationality and limitations of the current urban shrinkage identification standard based on population shrinkage, although it can identify shrinking cities to a large extent, and have certain limitations in classifying shrinking city types and revealing the internal coupling mechanism of shrinking cities. (5) The empirical results confirm that the "two-step diagnosis method" of urban shrinkage is reasonable and feasible, which can provide tool support and reference basis for the identification of China's urban shrinkage and the formulation of policies for the revitalization of Northeast China.

Key words: urban shrinkage, urbanization, identification system, two-step diagnosis method, three provinces of Northeast China