PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (2): 249-258.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.02.011

• Urban and Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Review and enlightenment of overseas urban amenity research

WEN Ting1,2, CAI Jianming1, YANG Zhenshan1, SONG Tao1,2,3   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Harvard University, Cambridge 02138, MA, USA
  • Received:2013-08-01 Revised:2013-11-01 Online:2014-02-25 Published:2014-02-25
  • Contact: 蔡建明(1961-),男,山西运城人,研究员,博士生导师,主要从事城市发展战略、城市化、半城市化和都市农业研究,。;
  • About author:F291.1

Abstract: Traditional theories of urban development have been outmoded in the era of globalization and knowledge economy, and urban amenities are now considered as a more and more important factor promoting urban growth. Urban amenities have become an increasingly hot topic in the western countries, to which the researchers in China seem to have not paid too much attention. This article aims at obtaining a comprehensive understanding of overseas research in the field of urban amenities, in order to provide references for urban amenity research in China. By collecting and analyzing related publications, this paper gives a systematically review of overseas research on urban amenities from several aspects: (1) the theoretical basis, including human demand theory, capital theory and sciences of human settlement; (2) concepts of urban amenities defined by different researches, and three types of urban amenities, i.e. natural amenities, modern amenities and social amenities; (3) urban amenities and amenity migration; (4) the influence of urban amenities on location decisions of talents, companies and urban growth; (5) commonly used research methods of urban amenities including survey, Hedonic price model and structure equation model. After that, the author makes comments on the current research progress and research trends. At the same time, comparisons between domestic and foreign researches on urban amenities are also discussed. The main conclusions from the review are as follows. (1) Quite a few of Western scholars have demonstrated that urban amenities work as an promoter to urban development through attracting talents and companies, whereas the concept of urban amenity has been studied just as a component of the livability of a city, which has not been closely related to urban development; (2) the focus of the scholars on urban amenities has changed from natural factors previously to modern elements now, such as restaurants, museums and bars, because a city, after all, is man-made; (3) the theory of urban amenities is more concerned with the needs of talent and the creative class, so it is a demand oriented developmental theory, which can not only help make a city successful in economic growth but also facilitate continuous urban development. With the influence of globalization, there is a strong necessity of carrying out studies on urban amenities in China from the three aspects: (1) it has been widely proved that urban amenities have a strong relation with urban growth, and China will lose more profit if we ignore it, especially for super cities as Beijing and Shanghai. With the rapid progress of urbanization and economic development in China, more people come to urban areas, so it is of great significance to take urban amenities into consideration in the process of making developmental strategies; (2) urban planning system can also benefit from urban amenity studies, since it is concerning people's needs; (3) the Twelfth Five-year Plan of China has proposed to speed up economic restructuring from traditional industries to high-tech industries. Considering that the developmental theory of urban amenities lies in attracting human capital and technical enterprises, it may very well provide guidance for the economic restructuring of the cities in China. Above all, from the perspective of both perfecting related research and promoting urban growth, the research of urban amenities in China is needed.

Key words: enlightenment, research progress, urban amenity, urban development

CLC Number: 

  • F291.1