PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (7): 816-828.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.07.003

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Mechanism of change in spatial pattern of rural settlements in peri-urban areas of China:A case study of Kangdu Village in the college town of south Xi’an

Enpu MA, Tongsheng LI*(), Qianru WEI   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Science, Northwest University, Xi’an 710127, China
  • Received:2016-01-01 Revised:2016-05-01 Online:2016-07-20 Published:2016-07-20
  • Contact: Tongsheng LI
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271131


Peri-urban areas have been a focus of research by scholars from multiple disciplines including geography, urban and rural planning, ecology, and sociology due to their transitional, diverse, and dynamic characteristics in socioeconomic structure and landscape features. This study examined the change of urban and rural settlements in peri-urban areas during the process of urbanization and the spatial characteristics and mechanism of change of remaining villages. Based on the review of theoretical research on rural settlements in peri-urban areas and taking the Kangdu village in the college town of south Xi’an as an empirical case, this study explored the spatial pattern as well as the mechanism of the change by remote sensing imagery interpretation, field investigation, and statistical analysis. The results indicate that four periods of building construction boom and two significant shifts in employment occurred in the 15 years from 2001 to 2015. Most of the local residents started renting out their houses in 2006. We found a high correlation between the residents’ employment change and the key milestones of urbanization; and there was a clear “stimulation-feedback” mechanism between the change of employment and building boom. This study shows that the external driver of urbanization in close proximity and local residents’ adaptation were the main driving forces of change in rural settlements’ spatial pattern in peri-urban areas.

Key words: peri-urban area, rural settlement, change in spatial pattern, mechanism, Kangdu Village, Xi’an City