PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (5): 647-656.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.05.006

• Urban and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Coordination and regional difference of urban land expansion and demographic urbanization in China during 1993-2008

ZHU Fengkai1,2, ZHANG Fengrong2, LI Can3, JIAO Pengfei2, WANG Jingxia2   

  1. 1. College of Land Administration, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China;
    2. College of Resource and Environment, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China;
    3. Collage of Public Management, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
  • Received:2013-11-01 Revised:2014-01-01 Online:2014-05-25 Published:2014-05-25

Abstract: Much global attention has been paid to China's stable and rapid economic growth and urbanization in recent 30 years since the economic reform and opening-up from the end of the 1970s. At present, China is experiencing rapid development and important transition of urbanization. However, under the background of the urbanrural dual system for population registration and social welfare, China's urbanization process is different from the western countries. It is regarded as a local government-oriented urbanization. Local governments' excessive dependence on land finance has led to a continuous rapid expansion of urban built-up areas. Meanwhile, the household registration system and the high living cost in cities hindered farmers to become real urban residents. Urban land expansion and demographic urbanization became increasingly uncoordinated. Understanding the coordination and regional differences of these two processes will be of great significance to China's new urbanization initiative, which promotes healthy, scientific and sustainable urban transition. In this paper, we focus on the widely existing phenomenon that demographic urbanization of rural population lags behind urban land expansion. A coordination model, Theil index and GIS were used to re-examine the process of urban land expansion and population absorption since the early 1990s, investigate the coordination of human-land relationship in the process of urbanization, and analyze the change of non-agricultural population density in the process of urbanization and its regional differences. We hope the conclusion provides certain references for regulating the development of regional urban land and population. The spatio-temporal evolution of the coordination of urban land expansion and demographic urbanization was analyzed based on the data from China City Statistical Yearbooks. By using the Theil index, the change and regional differences of non-agricultural population density of the builtup areas was also discussed. The results indicate that: (1) Dominated by the strong incentives of land finance, the speed of urban expansion of all provinces in China was generally very fast. The disharmony of urban land expansion and population urbanization extended from the eastern part to the rest of the country, which can be considered as a result of similar urban planning methods and urban development patterns; (2) The non-agricultural population density of the built-up areas generally declined due to this disharmony. Differences between and within regions have shown a tendency of convergence over time. The difference within region was the dominant cause of the interprovincial differences. The huge expansion of the urban built-up areas in direct-controlled municipalities and some other economically developed regions reduced the regional difference of the non-agricultural population density after 2004; (3) The development paradigm that local governments confiscates land without fully integrating the landless farmers into the urban welfare system and providing them with sustainable livelihood choices in urban areas must be abandoned. The new urbanization initiative should make urban housing, social security and medical care available for migrant workers. Local governments should treat them as regular urban residents. Reasonable allocation of construction land, that matches the non-agricultural population, is an effective way to achieve healthy and coordinated urbanization in the future. It is imperative for the government to develop strategies toward a coordinated urbanization in China.

Key words: urban land expansion, demographic urbanization, degree of coordination, regional difference, China

CLC Number: 

  • F291.1