PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (8): 1478-1491.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.08.011

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Urban shrinkage: Connotation-sinicization-framework of analysis

SUN Pingjun()   

  1. School of Geography Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2021-12-23 Revised:2022-04-08 Online:2022-08-28 Published:2022-10-25
  • Supported by:
    The Ministry of Education Research of Social Sciences Funded Projects(21XJC790010);Chongqing Talent Fund Project(2021YC024)


Urban shrinkage is a new phenomenon in the process of China's rapid urbanization, which brings great impact and challenge to the traditional regional-urban planning cognitive theory and planning paradigm based on "growth scenario simulation". How to construct the theoretical and analytical framework of urban shrinkage research in China has become the focus of academia and planning management departments. The following issues were analyzed in the study: 1) Systematically reviewed the origin of the concept of urban shrinkage, the relationship between urban shrinkage and urban growth, urbanization, and its relationship with localization and internationalization. It pointed out that urban shrinkage and urban growth are the products of different process in two directions in the development of regional urbanization, also a product embedded in globalization and rooted in localization. It is necessary to avoid "discussing urban shrinkage based only on shrinking cities" in the study. 2) Distinguished and defined the concept and connotation of urban shrinkage and shrinking city. It pointed out that the inconsistency of current identification standards for shrinking cities stems from the confusion between the concept of shrinking city and urban shrinkage, the emphasis on the description of shrinkage concepts, and the negligence of the development correlation between factors and functions. 3) Conducted a preliminary study on the connotation of urban shrinkage research "sinicization" from the aspects of research scope, research period, definition standard, research background, and regional differences. It proposed to take the urban built-up area as the research scope and 10 years as the investigation period, use comprehensive indicators to replace single population indicator to construct the identification standard and method system of shrinking city, and use the analysis of the overall development environment of the city and its related areas and prediction of and response to the formation and development of shrinking city as the bases, to realize "sinicization". 4) Constructed a framework and path of shrinking city research in the Chinese context based on property right region, field theory, regional association, and regional difference. This study aimed to engage geographers in China for an in-depth discussion of the "sinicization" of urban shrinkage research, so as to provide Chinese experience for the study of urban shrinkage globally.

Key words: urban shrinkage, shrinking cities, new-type urbanization, sinicization, framework of analysis