Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 78 ›› Issue (6): 1408-1426.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202306006

• Population and Urban Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial structure and factors influencing county urbanization of inter-provincial border areas in China

LIU Hailong1,2(), ZHANG Liping1, WANG Weiqiao1, ZHANG Yu1, WANG Zhenglei1, TANG Fei1, GUO Xiaojia1,3   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Sciences, Shanxi Normal University, Taiyuan 030000, China
    2. Research Center of Ecological Environment in the Middle Reaches of the Yellow River, Shanxi Normal University, Taiyuan 030000, China
    3. Institute of Human Geography, Shanxi Normal University, Taiyuan 030000, China
  • Received:2022-01-04 Revised:2022-09-22 Online:2023-06-25 Published:2023-06-21
  • Supported by:
    Postgraduate Innovation Project of Shanxi Normal University(2021XSY042);Humanities and Social Sciences Projects of Education Ministry(20YJC630032)


Selecting 887 inter-provincial border counties in China as a research area, this paper constructs an evaluation index system incorporating five dimensions to measure the degree of urbanization that each county experienced from 2000 to 2019, describes characteristics of the evolution of urbanized spatial patterns combined with spatial autocorrelation analysis, uses geodetectors to identify the main factors influencing urbanization and interactive relationships, divides driving areas into types on the above basis, and proposes targeted suggestions. The results show that: (1) From 2000 to 2019, the urbanization level of China's inter-provincial border areas continued to increase, but the overall level remained low, and displayed a spatial distribution pattern of stepwise decline from east to central to west. (2) The urbanization level of counties on the inter-provincial border showed a significant positive spatial correlation. In terms of spatial distribution, HH-clustering counties formed a "T" pattern, and LL-clustering counties concentrated in the inter-provincial border areas of the northwest, northeast, and southwest. (3) Economic development and traffic level are the leading factors affecting the spatial pattern of urbanization in the inter-provincial border areas. (4) The spatial pattern of urbanization in the inter-provincial border areas results from the main factors directly driving economic development and determining transportation levels. In addition, medical care, social investment, and natural conditions also directly impact the spatial pattern of urbanization. Government behavior and educational services exert indirect effects. (5) Inter-provincial border areas are divided into six types with distinct patterns of leading driving factors: terrain element restriction, location traffic leading, economic development driving, social investment driving, public service lagging, and government leading. (6) Urbanization of inter-provincial border areas exerts a spatial nearest neighbor effect, and the urbanization level of counties close to urban agglomerations of developed regions is high. The marginality of urbanization space of counties in the inter-provincial border areas is prominent. In areas with more county borders in the inter-provincial areas, urbanization levels tend to be lower.

Key words: urbanization, spatio-temporal evolution, geodetector, influencing factors, inter-provincial border area, China