Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (2): 367-382.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202102009

• Population and Urban Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comprehensive urbanization level and its dynamic factors of five Central Asian countries

MA Haitao1,2(), SUN Zhan1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-07-31 Revised:2020-08-25 Online:2021-02-25 Published:2021-04-25
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20040402);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971209)


Central Asia was the main thoroughfare of the ancient Silk Road and is the core hub of the Silk Road Economic Belt. The healthy urbanization process in Central Asian countries will inevitably play a significant role in promoting regional socio-economic progress. In the context of the accelerated development of the Silk Road Economic Belt, it is necessary to conduct in-depth research on the urbanization of Central Asian countries. However, the current research does not focus enough on the urbanization of Central Asia; in addition, there is a lack of research on the outward force of urbanization in the era of globalization. This paper analyzes the spatial and temporal patterns and evolution of urbanization from 1991 to 2017, since the independence of the five Central Asian countries, by establishing an evaluation index system at the level of comprehensive urbanization. A fixed-effect panel data regression model is used to analyze the dynamic factors of comprehensive urbanization from the perspective of "internal-external force". The results are as follows: (1) The urbanization process of Central Asian countries is significantly influenced by the political and economic situation and presents periodic characteristics. All the five countries experienced a stagnation development stage at the beginning of independence and a rapid growth stage after the beginning of the 21st century. (2) The differences in the urbanization of Central Asia are obvious, and the evolutionary characteristics of each subsystem of urbanization are different. It is necessary to distinguish and clearly understand the urbanization process of each country in Central Asia. (3) Internal and external factors play a role in the urbanization process of Central Asian countries. The external railway transportation facilities are particularly important for the development of urbanization in these countries. The two outward forces of import and export trade and the introduction of foreign capital have a significant impact on urbanization. (4) Countries with smaller populations and economic scales should participate in international cooperation to promote the healthy development of urbanization. The results of the study indicate that internal and external factors work together in the urbanization process of Central Asian countries, and external forces are particularly important for the development of such urbanization. Central Asian countries need to drive the healthy development of urbanization by establishing high-quality and comprehensive external contacts. The Silk Road Economic Belt supports joint construction and sharing. Therefore, the development of multi-faceted international cooperation with China will bring about advantageous opportunities for the development of urbanization in Central Asia.

Key words: Central Asia, national scale, comprehensive urbanization, dynamic factors, external dynamic, Silk Road Economic Belt