Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2016, Vol. 71 ›› Issue (2): 194-.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201602002

• Population and Political Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evaluation of China's urbanization quality and analysis of its spatial pattern transformation based on the modern life index

Desheng XUE(), Xianjun ZENG   

  1. Center for Urban and Regional Studies, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2015-03-09 Revised:2015-07-24 Online:2016-02-15 Published:2016-02-15
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41130747;International Joint Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41320104001


New urbanization is one of China's key national policies. Scientific evaluation focusing upon the human being is the necessary basis of understanding China's recent urbanization and then developing the right policies. There are currently two main evaluation methods of urbanization: the proportion of urban population in a given country or region, and the development of cities and towns in a given region, which are based on the urban-rural dual system. These two methods have deeply reflected the economic and spatial changes than the social restructuring in the course of urbanization, which means the human being as the core of urbanization, particularly those living in the countryside, has not been paid enough attention. Based on the interaction between people's daily activities and urban environment, this paper established a new evaluation system of the population's urbanization quality with 7 modern life indexes, and analyzed the urbanization quality of the urban, rural and the total population at the two levels of the state and 31 provinces. The main findings are: (1) As a social restructuring process, urbanization has not only taken place in the cities and towns, although the urbanization speed in the urban areas is more faster than that in the rural areas. The urbanization quality of both urban and rural population has improved at state and provincial levels since 1995. (2) Two different urbanization spatial patterns of the urban and rural population have formed during the past two decades. The urban population has changed from a low level balance before 1995 to the rise of some provinces in 2000, to the dual structure of East and West in 2005, to the trichotomy of Eastern-Central-Western China after 2010, which is evolving to a higher balanced situation; While the urbanization of rural population has changed from a low level balance before 1995 to the two gradient patterns of Coastal East and Inland Middle and West in recently years. (3) The urbanization quality indexes of rural population in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang Province have exceeded those of urban population in some inland lower urbanized provinces such as Jiangxi, Guizhou, Qinghai and Tibet, which indicates that the urbanization of rural population in the coastal areas is well developed compared with some inland urban areas. So this paper suggests that the evaluation ways and standard of urbanization should be changed, the institutional system of dual urban-rural system should be modified, in order to meet the demand of China's objective need of urbanization.

Key words: level of urbanization, urbanization proportion, urbanization quality, evaluation of urbanization, modern life index