PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (11): 1956-1969.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.11.013

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review of research on the characteristics and formation mechanism of urban functions

ZENG Chunshui1,2(), LIN Mingshui1, ZHAN Dongsheng3,*(), LIN Yuying1, WU Shidai1   

  1. 1. College of Tourism, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350117, China
    2. Higher Educational Key Laboratory for Smart Tourism of Fujian Province, Fuzhou 350117, China
    3. School of Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China
  • Received:2021-01-29 Revised:2021-04-14 Online:2021-11-28 Published:2021-11-25
  • Contact: ZHAN Dongsheng;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971261);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901221)


Urban functions are an important basis for city identity and the formulation of development strategies. Urban functions have development stage, hierarchical, and regional characteristics. It is urgent to analyze and summarize the research results of different scholars in order to grasp the pattern of urban functional characteristics and formation mechanisms. The results show that: 1) The functional characteristics of different stages of urban development include political and commercial functions in the agrarian society; and manufacturing, trade, and logistics functions in the industrial society. The post industrialization stage is characterized by the service industry, and productive services are the main functions. 2) With regard to the functional characteristics of different city scales, the higher the city level, the more comprehensive the urban functions and the stronger the service functions. 3) At different spatial scales, cities present different functional characteristics. 4) Traditional factors such as natural conditions, population, transportation, government guidance, and location play a fundamental role in the evolution of urban functions, while new factors such as science and technology, globalization, and informatization play an increasingly important role. The evolution of urban functions is also affected by regional division of labor, industrial upgrading, industrial transfer, convergence development, and other mechanisms. 5) In the future, we should include and improve the long-temporal scale and recent research on urban functions, deepen the research on urban function effect, urban function evolution mechanism, and function optimization, and promote the integration with national strategies. In addition to statistical analysis, the research methods should be supplemented by field survey, questionnaire, interview, and other methods.

Key words: urban function, functional structure, functional space, evolution mechanism