PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (7): 839-850.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.07.005

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Analysis on the spatial distribution characteristics of Chinese traditional villages

Jingyao KANG, Jinhe ZHANG*(), Huan HU, Jun ZHOU, Jie XIONG   

  1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2015-11-01 Revised:2016-05-01 Online:2016-07-20 Published:2016-07-20
  • Contact: Jinhe ZHANG
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271161


Chinese traditional villages built before 1980 are the carrier of farming civilization and traditional cultural heritage. Traditional villages formed during different historical periods and under specific geographical conditions reflect the economic, political, cultural, and other social aspects during their development. However, with the rapid progress of urbanization, traditional villages are disappearing. Protecting these villages is of significant importance in modern society. Based on the list of traditional villages published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, 2555 villages were selected as the research object of this study. By using GIS technology and kernel density analysis, nearest neighbor analysis, and Anselin local Moran’s I, this article analyzes the spatial distribution characteristics of Chinese traditional villages, examining the relationship between the spatial distribution of traditional villages and terrain, population, economy, traffic, and urban spatial pattern. The result shows that: (1) The spatial distribution of traditional villages clearly varies among different regions of China and four concentrated areas are found in the Hebei-Shangdong-Henan border area, Anhui-Zhejiang-Jiangxi border area, Guizhou- Guangxi-Hunan border area, and northwest Yunnan; (2) Higher altitude (over 500 m) is conducive to the preservation of traditional villages; (3) Population is the basis for the existence and continuation of traditional villages, but does not have a significant correlation; (4) The relationship between regional economic development, transportation development and traditional village preservation should be further studied. On the one hand, economic backwardness and low accessibility through transportation provide an environment conducive for the protection of traditional villages. On the other hand, the development of regional economy and transportation are not necessarily an obstacle for protecting traditional villages; (5) There is a certain degree of negative correlation between the level of traffic development and the number of traditional villages; (6) Spatially, existing traditional villages are often located far from the center of cities, or in urban fringe.

Key words: traditional village, spatial distribution, heritage protection, China