The Change of Spatial Disparities of Urban Development in China, 1990s

  • Center for Urban and Regional Studies, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received date: 2003-06-21

  Revised date: 2003-12-08

  Online published: 2004-05-25

Supported by

The State Outstanding Youth Foundation of China, No.40125003


Based on the statistical data, this paper makes an analysis on the change of spatial differentiation of urban development in China during the 1990s. The spatial units in this study are the 30 provincial level districts, including provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis are two main methods in the research. Firstly, the characteristics of urban development in China since 1990 are sketched out. Results indicate that the level of urbanization increased greatly and the process of urbanization has stepped into an accelerating period; the metropolises developed so rapidly that the regionalization has become more popular; the quantity of compact urban districts has increased and the landscape of regional urbanization has emerged; and the outward property of the urban system has been enhanced, and the relationship between cities and regions has been changed greatly. Secondly, three main factors, namely aggregative-oriented factor, innovative-oriented factor and outward-oriented factor, are chosen by factor analysis to describe the spatial variation of the urban development properties, and ten city-clusters are obtained. Thirdly, through the comparison of the spatial disparity of 2000 to that of 1990, the change of spatial disparity of urban development since 1990 is analyzed from three perspectives, namely the level of urban development, the property of urban development and the speed of urban development.

Cite this article

YAN Xiaopei, LIN Zhangping . The Change of Spatial Disparities of Urban Development in China, 1990s[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2004 , 59(3) : 437 -445 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200403014


[1] Cui Gonghao. Some contemporary considerations in urban and regional planning. Urban Planning, 2002, 26(2): 40-42.
[崔功豪. 当前城市与区域规划问题的几点思考. 城市规划, 2002, 26(2): 40-42.]

[2] Simon X B Zhao, Roger C K Chan, Kelvin T O Sit. Globalization and the dominance of large cities in contemporary China. Cities, 2003, 20(4): 265-278.

[3] Gu Chaolin. The Economic Globalization and the Urban Development in China. Beijing: The Commercial Press, 2000.

[4] Zhou Yixing. On the regional variation of urbanization in China. Urban Planning, 1983, 2.
[周一星. 论我国城镇化的地域差异. 城市规划, 1983, 2.]

[5] Xu Xueqiang, Gar-on Yeh. Provincial variation of urbanization in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1986, 41(1): 8-22.
[许学强, 叶嘉安. 我国城市化的省际差异. 地理学报, 1986, 41(1): 8-22.]

[6] Chen Tian. A preliminary analysis on the system of influence regions of China's urban economy. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1987, 42(4): 308-318.
[陈田. 我国城市经济影响区域系统的初步分析. 地理学报, 1987, 42(4): 308-318.]

[7] Guoying Long, Mee Kam Ng. The political economy of intra-provincial disparities in post-reform China: a case study of Jiangsu province. Geoforum, 2001, 32: 215-234.

[8] Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, Daniel Kirchert, Jiancheng Pan. Disparities in Chinese economic development: approaches on different levels of aggregation. Economic Systems, 2002(26): 31-54.

[9] Gu Chaolin. The theory and application of urban economic region. Changchun: Jilin Science & Technology Press, 1991.

[10] Wang Guixin, Shen Jianfa. A study of the urban comprehensive competitiveness of cities at prefecture level or above in China. Fudan Journal (Social Sciences), 2002, 3: 69-77.
[王桂新, 沈建法. 中国地级以上城市综合竞争力研究. 复旦学报 (社会科学版), 2002, 3: 69-77.]

[11] Zhou Yixing, Zhang Li, Wu Yue. Study of China's centrality hierarchy. Areal Research and Devlelopment, 2001, 20(4): 1-5.
[周一星, 张莉, 武悦. 城市中心性与我国城市中心性的等级体系. 地域研究与开发, 2001, 20(4): 1-5.]

[12] Zhou Yixing, Zhang Li. China's economic region in the open context. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2003, 58(2): 272-284.
[周一星, 张莉. 改革开放条件下的中国城市经济区. 地理学报, 2003, 58(2): 272-284.]

[13] Wang Mingfeng. Research on provincial variation of the urban primacy index in China. Urban Research, 2001, (3): 27-30.
[汪明峰. 中国城市首位度的省际差异研究. 现代城市研究, 2001, (3): 27-30.]

[14] Wang Fang. Inter-provincial differences and future development of urban structures in China. Population Research, 2002, 26(3): 50-55.
[王放. 中国城市规模结构的省际差异及未来发展. 人口研究, 2002, 26(3): 50-55.]

[15] Zhou Yixing, Cao Guangzhong. On spatial disparity of comparable increase speed of China's urban size, 1949-1995. Economic Geography, 1998, 18(1): 27-34.
[周一星, 曹广忠. 中国城市人口可比增长速度的空间差异 (1949-1995). 经济地理, 1998, 18(1): 27-34.]

[16] Liu Yaobin, Li Rendong. Analysis on changing of spatial-temporal features and momentum of China's urbanization during transitional phase. Resources and Environment in the Yangtze Basin, 2003, 12(1): 8-12.
[刘耀彬, 李仁东. 转型时期中国城市化水平变动及动力分析. 长江流域资源与环境, 2003, 12(1): 8-12.]

[17] Wu Liangyong. Urban regional theory and the development of Chinese coastal area with densely-located cities. Urban Studies, 2003, 10(2): 3-9.
[吴良镛. 城市地区理论与中国沿海城市密集地区发展. 城市发展研究, 2003, 10(2): 3-10.]

[18] Hu Xuwei, Zhou Yixing, Gu Chaolin et al. Studies on the spatial agglomeration and dispersion in China's coastal city-and-town concentrated areas. Beijing: Science Press, 2000.

[19] Yao Shimou. The trend and urban spatial evolution in the Changjiang River Delta. Acta Geographica Sinica, 1998, 56(Suppl.): 1-8.
[姚士谋. 长江三角洲地区城市空间演化趋势. 地理学报, 1998(增刊): 1-8.]

[20] Zhen Feng, Gu Chaolin. Study on regional polarization of Guangdong Province since 1978. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 2000, 20(5): 403-410.
[甄锋, 顾朝林.改革开放以来广东省空间极化研究. 地理科学, 2000, 20(5): 403-410.]

[21] Mee Kam Ng, Peter Hills. World cities or great cities?: a comparative study of five Asian metropolises. Cities, 2003, 20(3): 151-165.

[22] W Yuan, P James. Evolution of the Shanghai city region 1978-1998: an analysis of indicators. Journal of Environmental Management, 2002, 64: 299-309.

[23] Xu Xueqiang. Comprehensive evaluation of Guangzhou urban sustainable development. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2001, 56(1): 54-63.
[许学强. 广州城市可持续发展的综合评价. 地理学报, 2001, 56(1): 54-63.]

[24] Yang Xianzhi, Fang Lei, Qin Peifang. Comparison study between Shanghai and international metropolises on economy, community and environment. Shanghai Environmental Scienses, 1996, 15(8): 1-3.
[杨贤智, 方蕾, 秦佩芳.上海与国际大都市经济、社会、环境的比较研究. 上海环境科学, 1996, 15(8): 1-3.]