PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (10): 1940-1955.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.10.013

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Progress and prospect of research on China’s border areas from the perspective of human geography

CHENG Yi1,2(), LIU Hui1,2,*(), SONG Tao1,2, ZHANG Fangfang1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-02-10 Revised:2022-05-22 Online:2022-10-28 Published:2022-12-28
  • Contact: LIU Hui;
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20010103);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(2019QZKK1007);National Natural Science Foundation of China(4217011358);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171180)


Border areas are important national security buffer zones and vulnerable areas under the influence of multiple power spaces. Scientifically summarizing the development process of border research will help clarify the context of border research and provide scientific support for realizing a stable border with security and sustainable development. This study was based on data of academic publications on border research in the fields of human geography in China from the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and Web of Science (WoS). With the help of the scientific knowledge map method, the basic characteristics of China's border research process, trends, and hotspots since 1990 were analyzed. The study found that China's border research has experienced an "open exploration-social construction-strategic guidance" development process. The research hotspots have gradually shifted from the northeast to the southwest, and "border trade", "border tourism", "border port", and "Belt and Road" are the four main keyword clusters. The main contents of border research include border trade and development and opening-up, border tourism resource development, social construction and harmonious development, border ports and urban functions, as well as geographical environment and border security. At present, China's border research is still insufficient in terms of exploring the patterns and quantitative analysis. On the basis of constructing a framework of border geographic research integrating multi-subjects, multi-elements, and multi-scales, we propose to strengthen the research on border risk and security, cross-border cooperation mechanism, "border effect" theory, and sustainable border development, which may provide a support for China's border security and modern governance.

Key words: border studies, geo-setting, human geography, research progress, bibliometrics