PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (8): 968-974.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.08.010

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Population Density Functions of Chinese Cities: A Review

WU Wenyu,GAO Xiangdong   

  1. Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Received:2009-09-01 Revised:2010-03-01 Online:2010-08-25 Published:2010-08-25


Researches on distribution and modelling of urban population density exist vastly in English literatures in the discipline such as urban economics, regional science and urban study. Substantive studies reveal that as urban develops,distribution of urban population density evolves from monocentric to polycentric, and functions which can describe urban population density also vary from simple negative funcitons to modern complicated functions. In recent years, researches on population density function of Chinese cities enriched. Most studies focus on large cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Some conclusions from those studies are consistent with the findings from foreign cities. (1) Monocentric population density functions can describe population density distribution of Chinese cities well. (2) The expontenial denstiy function also fits the population densiy distribution in most chinese cites. (3) The density gradient is getting small and the city-center intercept drops over time. (4) Multi-centric functions can fit the density distribution in some big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Those findings reveal that population suburbanization of Chinese cities develops rapidly, and the spatial structures of Chinese cities experience great changes from compact to decentralized. Studies on Chinese cities have some shortcomings. Most studies are confronted with poor quality data. There are fewer studies on cities. In the future studies, GIS should be applied to obtain high quality data, and research method should be enriched. Comparable studies or regional studies should also be launched.

Key words: China, review, suburbanization, urban population density function