Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (5): 1274-1293.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202105017

• Resources Use and Environmental Evolution • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Nonlinear effects and driving mechanism of multidimensional urbanization on PM2.5 concentrations in the Yangtze River Delta

GUO Xiangyang1,2(), MU Xueqing3, DING Zhengshan1,2(), QIN Dongli1,2   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Department of Geography, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650500, China
  • Received:2020-01-08 Revised:2020-12-18 Online:2021-05-25 Published:2021-07-25
  • Contact: DING Zhengshan;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41961021);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41671147);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901205);Graduate Student Scientific Research Innovation Projects in Jiangsu Province(KYCX20_1174)


Exploring the nonlinear effects and driving mechanism of multidimensional urbanization on PM2.5 concentrations is of great significance in the high-quality development of urban agglomerations. This paper uses inverse distance weighted spatial interpolation, spatial autocorrelation and standard deviational ellipse to analyze the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of PM2.5 concentrations in the Yangtze River Delta. It also applies the systematic dynamic panel regression model to explore the nonlinear effects and driving mechanism of multidimensional urbanization on PM2.5 concentrations based on the remote sensing images and statistical data of urban panels in the study area from 2000 to 2017. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) From 2000 to 2017, the pollution level caused by PM2.5 concentrations evolved from low to high. Overall, the PM2.5 concentrations showed a spatial trend of increasing from southeast to northwest. (2) The PM2.5 concentrations exhibited significant spatial agglomeration and correlation characteristics. Meanwhile, the centroid of the PM2.5 concentrations generally shifted from southeast to northwest, and the PM2.5 concentrations tended to be dispersed in the east-west direction, while in contrast they were gradually polarized in the north-south direction. (3) There were significant differences in the impact of different development stages of the urbanization subsystem on the PM2.5 concentrations. The economic urbanization exhibits an inverted N relationship with the PM2.5 concentrations, which indicates that an Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) existed between the economic urbanization and PM2.5 concentrations. When the per capita GDP exceeds RMB 63,709 yuan, economic urbanization will have a restraining effect on the PM2.5 concentrations. This illustrates the fact that the improvement of urban development quality and transformation of urban development methods are the key to controlling PM2.5 pollution. However, the relationship among population urbanization, land urbanization and PM2.5 concentrations is only the left part of the inverted U curve, which indicates that population urbanization and land urbanization are still at a certain distance from the inflection point of air quality improvement. Last but not least, the population size, foreign investment and industrial structure all have a significant positive effect on PM2.5 concentrations, while environmental regulations have a significant negative effect on PM2.5 concentrations. It is worth noting that the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of PM2.5 concentrations is formed under the interactive overlay and cycle accumulation of socioeconomic factors, government regulations, and other factors in this region. Among them, socioeconomic factors play a leading role. This paper provides a new research perspective to explore the effects of multidimensional urbanization on PM2.5 concentrations, so that we can achieve coordination between environmental protection and urban sustainable development in the Yangtze River Delta.

Key words: multidimensional urbanization, nonlinear effect, PM2.5 concentrations, driving mechanism, Yangtze River Delta