PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (6): 829-839.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.06.004

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Spatial patterns of village and town built areas in the Pearl River Delta:A land-use perspective

Jiheng LI1,2(), Yue GONG1,2,*(), Guicai LI1,2   

  1. 1. School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
    2. Laboratory for Urban Future, Peking University (Shenzhen), Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2018-10-04 Revised:2019-01-12 Online:2019-06-28 Published:2019-06-27
  • Contact: Yue GONG;
  • Supported by:
    Emergency Management Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41641006;Free Exploration Project of Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province of China, No. 2017A030313248;Peking University (Shenzhen) Future Urban Laboratory Tie Han Foundation.


During China's rural industrialization, land in villages and towns has been rapidly transformed into non-agricultural use. The Pearl River Delta in South China is the most representative of China's rural industrialization and urbanization. In the Pearl River Delta, the cities of Dongguan, Zhongshan, and Foshan are typical cases of both rural industrialization and land-use change. The dataset used in this study includes the land-use data of 2015 in Guangdong Province and the land-use data of the three cities between 2009 and 2015. This dataset provides valuable information on the post-2010 spatial structure of villages and towns in the Pearl River Delta. Based on this dataset, we examined the current (around the mid-2010s) spatial conditions of villages and towns in the Pearl River Delta. We first analyzed the spatial attributes of construction land. The analysis was based on eight indices or methods: land patch density index, spatial discrete index, spatial uniformity index, the mean of land patch area, fractal dimension index, landscape fragmentation index, buffer analysis, and Moran's I analysis. Then, we analyzed the spatial distribution relations between industrial and non-industrial land uses, and between construction land and transportation land through a statistical analysis. Finally, we discussed the industrial factors of the detected spatial pattern through the gray associative analysis. Our findings indicate a high fragmentation and even distribution pattern of village and town built-up areas in Dongguan, agglomerated and discrete pattern in Foshan, and medium level fragmentation and discreteness in Zhongshan. Diverse industrial development in the three cities had a major impact on the formation of the spatial patterns. In the future, the transformation of the spatial pattern of built-up areas in villages and towns in the Pearl River Delta must coordinate with the industrial development and the ongoing development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Great Bay Area. Approaches to facilitating the transformation include the modification of the industrial structure and an adjustment of land use and transportation across these villages and towns. This article aimed to reveal the current spatial patterns of crucial rural-to-urban transformation in a rapidly urbanizing region and to provide relevant policy recommendations. The results may contribute to our understanding of China's continuous rural urbanization and industrialization.

Key words: built-up area, spatial pattern, land use, industrial factor, villages and towns in the Pearl River Delta