PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (2): 327-338.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.02.013

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A literature review of urban growth boundary: Theory, modeling, and effectiveness evaluation

TAN Ronghui1, LIU Yaolin2, LIU Yanfang2, HE Qingsong3   

  1. 1. College of Management and Economics, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
    2. School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
    3. College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2019-02-15 Revised:2019-04-21 Online:2020-02-28 Published:2020-04-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(71704129);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771432)


The traditional extensive urban land use will not meet the requirements of new urbanization. As a result, controlling urban sprawl and land use optimization have become one of the key tasks of land resources management. The purpose of this study is to provide new perspectives and identify research areas for urban growth boundary study through the review and analysis of existing theoretical models, methods, and effectiveness evaluation cases. The research methods we employed are literature review and induction and deduction. The results indicate that the theoretical basis of urban growth analysis came from monocentric city model. Most studies in China mainly focused on the impact of economic factors, industrial structure, and accessibility on urban growth while public policies and services, externality, and stakeholder power struggles are also thought to have effects on urban growth. Urban growth rigid boundary design is mainly based on suitability and carrying capacity assessments, and elastic boundary is usually modeled by using cellular automata. The effectiveness of urban growth boundary on controlling urban sprawl is different in different cities in developed countries. There are few case studies to evaluate the effectiveness of urban growth boundary in China. We should adopt diversified theories to study the mechanism of urban growth. The effects of multilevel drivers on urban growth should be considered in future research. Most importantly, stakeholder power struggles should be taken into consideration in future elastic boundary modeling. In order to make urban growth boundary policies sustainable and balance regional development, legal and management systems of urban growth boundary should be designed in the future.

Key words: land use, urban growth, urban sprawl, urban growth boundary, review