Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2006, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (10): 1025-1036.doi: 10.11821/xb200610002

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Characteristics of the Yangtze River Delta Mega-City Region

ZHANG Xiaoming   

  1. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2006-01-17 Revised:2006-06-20 Online:2006-10-25 Published:2006-10-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40435013; Special Research on Urban Development and Distribution Planning of Regional Planning of Yangtze River Delta from National Development and Reform Commission; "985 Project" of Urbanization and Urban Science of Nanjing University from the Ministry of Education of China


The polycentric Mega-City Regions (MCR) have arisen through a long process of very extended decentralization from big central cities to new or adjacent smaller ones. It is an emergent urban phenomenon in the course of formation at the beginning of the 21st century. The concept of MCR emphasizes the role of the regions with one or more global cities (or world cities) in the globalization process, and considers that the knowledge-intensive producer service business operations and flows are associated with a polycentric pattern of urban development in each MCR. Recently, some new trends and characteristics have risen in the development of cities and towns in the Yangtze River Delta that has been the biggest economic core region of China. It is now universally accepted that Shanghai would become a global city in the context of the Yangtze River Delta and the Metropolitan Interlocking Region with the core of Shanghai being evolving into a Mega-City Region. This paper explores the concept and characteristics of Mega-City Regions, and provides a research on characteristics of the Yangtze River Delta Mega-City Region, which is defined in terms of contiguous FURs. The polycentricity of the MCR is measured by both rank size analysis and functional polycentric analysis. The MCR's functional characteristics are investigated by measuring functional connections between 16 main FURs, and their network characteristics are reflected by highway and railway networks and intra-regional producer service linkages. Further, the polycentricity is measured again by analyzing the network of functional linkages. And it is found that Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi and Hangzhou are the four main centers of the MCR. This finding may have some differences between the previous rank size analysis and functional polycentric analysis. Finally, it concluded that the Yangtze River Delta Mega-City Region that has 55 contiguous FURs with a population of more than 80 million and an area of 78,000 km2 is a polycentric network city region.

Key words: Mega-City Region, Yangtze River Delta, analysis of characteristics