Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 3125-3145.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212012

• Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Green technology innovation in China city system: Dynamics and determinants

DUAN Dezhong1,2(), DU Debin1,2   

  1. 1. Institute for Global Innovation and Development, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. School of Urban & Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2021-03-10 Revised:2021-12-17 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42271186);Major Projects of National Social Science Foundation of China(21ZDA011);MOE Project of Humanities and Social Sciences(19YJC790023)


Green technology innovation is the first driving force to promote green development and harmonious coexistence between human and nature. Green technology innovation is the core issue of environmental economics, innovation economics, innovation management and other research fields. It is also one of the emerging topics in the field of environmental economic geography in recent years. Overall, the research on enterprise level is dominant, while the research on spatial scale is relatively less. In this paper, by deriving green patent applications for measuring green technology innovation from the Wanfang Patent Database, the spatial and temporal characteristics and its determinants of green technology innovation in China's city system from 2007 to 2017 are explored. The results indicate that technologies related to buildings has dominated the development of environmental innovation in China's city system, while technologies in the field of greenhouse gases and water adaptation were quite unpopular throughout China. In 2007, China's environmental innovation was dominated by individuals and enterprises. By 2017, enterprises have become the main body of China's environmental innovation, highlighting the essential characteristics of enterprises as the subject of environmental innovation. In space, the geography of environmental innovation in China's city system presents a strong spatial imbalance feature, a tripolar pattern dominated by the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and the Beijing-Tianjin region has become increasingly prominent. In terms of determinants, spatial Durbin model regression results reflect that there are significant spatial spillover effects and path dependence characteristics in China's environmental innovation. Environmental regulation intensity, city size, market size, technological innovation level, FDI, and air quality have obvious positive effects on urban environmental innovation, while the industrial structure dominated by secondary industry has obvious inhibitory effect on urban environmental innovation.

Key words: green patents, green technology innovation, innovation subjects, space-time pattern, determinants, China