PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (10): 1678-1690.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.10.006

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial evolution of farm towns and its dynamic mechanism from the perspective of institutional change: A case study of Wusan Farm in Hubei Province

LIU Run1,2(), WANG Run1,2,*(), YANG Yongchun3, LI Xiaohu4, HU Yanxia1,2   

  1. 1. Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    2. Hubei Provincial Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental Response, Wuhan 430062, China
    3. College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    4. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2020-11-22 Revised:2021-03-12 Online:2021-10-28 Published:2021-12-28
  • Contact: WANG Run;
  • Supported by:
    Wuhan Social Science Foundation Project(2019012);Hubei Province Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental Response Open Research Fund(2018C003);National Key Research and Development Program of China(2018YFD1100102);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971198)


Institutional change is a major driving force for urban spatial evolution. As a special and important type of town, farm towns are more affected by institutional factors. Given that existing research is less involved in the evolution of farm towns under institutional changes, this study first systematically reviewed the overall situation of the changes in the farm system. Then taking the Wusan Farm, a state-owned farm in Hubei Province, as an example and using a comprehensive research approach including text analysis, non-participatory observation, and in-depth interviews, this study examined the spatial evolution of farm towns and its dynamic mechanism under institutional changes since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The results reveal that: 1) The spatial evolution of farm towns is mainly reflected in three aspects: spatial form, spatial relationship, and spatial function. The spatial form has undergone a process from slow change to drastic change. Spatial relationship has shifted from the production collaboration relationship to the rural-urban relationship. Spatial function changed from public operation to private operation, production-oriented to consumption-oriented, and single function to diversification. 2) Institutional change promotes the spatial evolution of farm towns by changing the role of the farm, interest relationships, and resource allocation. The change of farm identities directly affects the development direction of farm towns. As a result, the farms' corporate identity is becoming more prominent. Changes in the interest relations promote the industrialization and marketization of farm town space. Therefore, industrial parks, commercial streets, and industrial clusters have emerged and developed rapidly. Changes in resource allocation affect the spatial evolution of farm towns by changing the subject, type, scale, and speed of resource allocation. Through this research, we hope to be able to guide the development of farm towns in the new era. For example, we believe that clarifying the relationship between the institutional changes at the national level and the institutional changes at the reclamation administration level can guide the development of farm towns. Likewise, the development of farm towns must pursue quality and efficiency rather than the simple expansion of built-up areas, because farm towns do not have enough land to support extensive development. We also hope that this study can enrich the theoretical research of urban spatial evolution.

Key words: institutional change, farm towns, spatial evolution, dynamic mechanism, Wusan Farm, Hubei Province