Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (8): 1011-1020.doi: 10.11821/xb201208001

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The Spatial Characteristics and Formation Mechanism of the County Urbanization in China

LIU Yansui1, YANG Ren1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2011-05-28 Revised:2012-06-18 Online:2012-08-20 Published:2012-10-11
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41130748; National Youth Science Fund of China, No.41101162; Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCX2-EW-304

Abstract: The spatial and temporal characteristics and the formation mechanism of the county urbanization in China since 1990 were analyzed systematically, using the methods including regional differences, transect and geography detectors. Results show that the temporal and spatial differences of the county urbanization were significant. The "herringbone" shape region pattern of high county urbanization was gradually highlighted, which were made by the counties along the north border and in eastern coastal areas. The county urbanization process of some regions were accelerated and enhanced, including Wuhan metropolitan region, Chengdu-Chongqing region and Guanzhong-Tianshui region. The low county urbanization level was maintained in Southwest China and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau regions. The differences of urbanization and the change rate of county urbanization were converged in China after 2000, but the rate has slowed down since 2000. The county urbanization trend of transects were significantly different, including Lianyungang-Lanzhou railway and Lanzhou-Urumqi railway transects, the Yangtze River transect, the border of north China transect, 106 National Road transect, and the eastern coastal transect. There are many factors affecting county urbanization, mainly including economic development stage, the level of secondary and tertiary industries, rural net income per capita, population density, leading position of grain production, demographic statistics and special arrangements for counties. The high county urbanization in northern border regions was a typical type of statistical unrealistically high urbanization. In the future county urbanization development should follow the geographical differences, highlight its leading function, and adopt multiple urbanization development models such as promoting urbanization intensively in key urban economic development areas, separating urbanization in cropland and grain producing areas, migrating urbanization in ecological and water resource protection areas, suburban areas and urban-based urbanization and other leading county urbanization patterns.

Key words: county urbanization, rural development, regional differences, transect, formation mechanism, China