PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (12): 1668-1677.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2012.12.012

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analysis on the Process and Spatial Evolution of Economic Polarization in the Yangtze River Delta

YE Lei, OU Xiangjun   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, China
  • Received:2012-06-01 Revised:2012-08-01 Online:2012-12-25 Published:2012-12-25

Abstract: Based on the studies on economic polarization previously done by others, the ER index and TW index are used to measure the trend of economic polarization in the Yangtze River Delta from 1990 to 2010, and the overall process of economic polarization during the period of the study is analyzed. Then, from the perspective of polarization effect and diffusion effect, the processes of economic polarization in the Yangtze River Delta in four typical turning-point years (1997, 2001, 2006 and 2010) are analyzed, and the ways of economic spatial evolution are preliminarily summarized. The study concludes that: (1) the dynamic process of polarization indexes’evolution indicates that the economic polarization level of the Yangtze River Delta displays a rising trend from 1990 to 2010 with fluctuations, and the conclusion on economic polarization has been supported by the observations confirming the definition of the concept itself:“disappearing middle class”. (2) As far as the two effects of the polarization theory are concerned, the polarization effect of the Yangtze River Delta first expands, and then shrinks during the period of the study, whereas the diffusion effect gradually increases throughout the time period. (3) As more and more industrial enterprises are being relocated or transformed, the trend of economic polarization in the whole region begins to be attenuated and economies gradually expand to the periphery areas, hence in recent 10 years the economies of Yangtze River Delta show a transition from“arrow”type to“Z” type to“M”type to“区”type (a Chinese character meaning“zone”). Eventually the spatial pattern of the region ’s economies will be transformed into a network type, driven by the diffusion effects of the development of infrastructure beams.

Key words: diffusion effect, economic polarization, polarization effect, spatial pattern, the Yangtze River Delta