With the implementation of new technologies such as 5G networks, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data analysis, and so on, inclusive and innovative governance and efficient innovation and application of technologies that lead cities towards smartness have become crucial and frontier topics of exploration in current international urban geography. The study of smart cities from the perspective of humanism provides an effective theoretical tool for geographiers in this field. Different from the perspective of technocentrism that regards smart cities as a collection of physical spaces composed of a communication infrastructure network and digital technology, the humanism perspective emphasizes the interaction of technology, humanistic governance (society), and space in a specific (local) context. It calls for a micro-survey of the local cooperation mechanism of information and communication technology (ICT) innovation and smart city construction, as well as governance decision making carried out by multiple actors, with a view to revealing the construction process and localized driving mechanism of smart cities, and with an emphasis on the data analysis of individual actions to find out a development path consistent with local conditions. This study examined the latest developments in humanistic research on smart cities, arguing that current studies still follow the technocentric perspective or adopt the opposite knowledge-centric position, but lack a technology-society synergy perspective. On this basis, this article proposes future research topics that are worthy of in-depth discussion, namely, the symbiosis of technology and society, the complexity of social interactions on technology innovation, and the contextual analysis of technology innovation and interactions. Our discussion may help to understand how smart cities, as a complex human-environment system, undergo transformation in the continuous interaction of people and technology, and provide some theoretical references for the study of smart cities in China.
Along with the development of digital technology, the everyday life practice of local subjectivities are inevitably being interfered by digital technology, and the organization of social space is also being affected by the complex digitization. Despite that the current geographic studies have been increasingly characterized by a trend of "digital turn", the research topic of digital technology impact on rural social and cultural space still needs to be expanded. On this basis, this study first focused on how digital technology shapes and reshapes the spatial spectrum of the rural areas and constructed a theoretical framework of "human society-digital technology interaction". Then, it showed the importance of the social and cultural topics of the geography of digital technology and its value in rural revitalization by focusing on three main research topics: spatial governance, local place making, and temporality. Finally, based on the background of China's rural revitalization strategy, this study used the approach of social and cultural geography to conceptualize the case study of digital technology in rural areas, and explored the potential of digital technology intervention in rural development. The main purpose of this study was to explore the future development direction of the digital technology related to social and cultural geography, so as to appeal to the academic community to further examine the rural social space reconstruction caused by digital technology, and to provide suggestions and a reference for the future development strategy of comprehensive rural revitalization.
Subjective well-being is a focus of research worldwide, which is closely related to the improvement of residents' quality of life and the construction of livable cities. Numerous studies on subjective well-being have been conducted, mainly discussing the impact of social and economic attributes, geographical background (including the built environment, social environment, and environmental pollution), and residents' travel and activity characteristics on subjective well-being at the city or regional scale. Some research has also explored the interaction between long-term happiness and short-term happiness based on the perspective of spatiotemporal behavior. This article provides a comprehensive review on geographical context and subjective well-being studies from the time-space perspectives, and presents a diversified research framework to investigate the complexity between micro-environment, spatiotemporal behavior, and subjective well-being. It presents a theoretical framework of multi-scale spatiotemporal analysis of subjective well-being, and summarizes the mechanism of multi-scale and multi-dimensional geographical environment factors on subjective well-being. Moreover, we propose that future research needs to link individual spatiotemporal behavior, environmental pollution, and well-being, and investigate the spatiotemporal dynamics of residents' subjective well-being under different social and spatial backgrounds, in order to provide a scientific basis and policy recommendations for improving urban residential environment and optimizing residents' behavioral patterns.
The Earth surface system is a giant system with both complexity and openness formed by the interaction of the atmosphere, biosphere, anthroposphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere and lithosphere, and so on, which has spatial-temporal heterogeneity and hierarchy. Taxonomy is not only the fundamental way to recognize the formation and development of a system, but also an important way to clarify the structure, function, evolution, and spatial differentiation characteristics of a complex system. Classification of the land surface system can provide a scientific basis for multiscale geoscience research and natural resource management. The essence of land surface system classification is the division of the space and relationship between its constituent elements at a specific scale, so land use type, ground substrate, and critical zone type can all be considered as land surface system classification schemes. On this basis, we systematically reviewed the research progress of classification methods of the land surface system in China and internationally, and divided the methods into exploration, development, and mature developmental stages. Then, we compared the connotation of each classification system, and proposed that although each classification system belongs to different schools, they take the land surface system as the research object, and are a methodology to study the structure, function, and spatial differentiation of the land surface system. We compared the similarities and differences in the structure of the classification systems, and summarized the common features of these systems in terms of the level, scale, and elements. Finally, we proposed to build a land surface system classification framework from land parcel to country level, and discussed the prospect of hierarchical structure, classification system, and classification method integration.
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.
Transformation and restructuring of rural development is an important starting point to solve the problem of rural decline, and rural revitalization is an important strategic deployment for China to address the "sannong issues" in the new era. This article summarized the progress of research on the transformation and restructuring of rural development from four aspects: research paradigm, evolution process analysis, mechanism analysis, and path exploration. It is found that the research on the transformation and restructuring of rural development took interdisciplinary research perspectives and covered diversified and integrated research contents and used comprehensive and diverse research methods and approaches. In the future, it is necessary to pay attention to the research of local culture in rural development of different villages, strengthen the empirical research on rural development of different villages in the west, innovate the theory and research methods of transformation and restructuring of rural development, and optimize the path of rural transformation and restructuring under different development modes.
With the acceleration of population aging in China, the scale of the elderly migration is gradually increasing. Elderly migration might exert a significant impact on personal well-being, regional age structure, and the development of the society and economy. However, academic and policy studies focusing on this phenomenon are few. This article reviewed the relevant literature from three aspects of elderly migration: spatial pattern, the decision-making mechanism, and impact. The study revealed that: 1) In terms of spatial pattern, four main types are identified—long-distance migration to small cities, long-distance migration to big cities, short-distance migration to the suburban areas, and short-distance migration to central urban districts. Different countries show different characteristics. 2) In terms of the decision-making mechanism, elderly migration is driven by the needs of economic support, health care, comfort, and sense of belonging, while personal physiological, economic, and social factors affect the ability to migrate. 3) In terms of impact, elderly migration exerts influence on individual physical and mental health, social integration, regional economic and social development. Future study needs to consolidate abundant research data and methods, construct an effective theoretical framework, thus provide a scientific basis for the implementation of population aging strategy and the construction of an age-friendly city.
Since the rise of geomedia in recent years, the previous boundaries between production and consumption, and between technical object and symbolic representation in urban public space and everyday life space are increasingly blurred, leading to the need for theoretical innovation in terms of the "virtual/physical" dualism in geography. The development of geographies of media and communication, which is the outcome of the "spatial turn" of media research and the "communication turn" of geography, contains the potential to break through the dualism. This article reviewed the core concepts, main issues, and research framework of geographies of media and communication in order to promote the academic dialogue between Chinese scholars in geography and media and communication studies, as well as to expand the research field of Chinese human geography. First, geographies of media and communication in Western geography was founded on the dynamic relational notions of media and space that were deeply influenced by postmodernism and posthumanism thoughts, including core concepts such as texture, mobility, materiality, and embodiment. Second, existing studies mainly focus on the spatiality of digital media and posthumanism media, the hybrid space politics dominated by digital media representation and algorithmic logic, as well as the hybrid space experience brought by mobile media. Finally, this article referred to the "thirdspace" as a potential direction for geographies of media and communication to surpass the previous dualism, and materiality and embodiment serve as the ontological bridge between media and space.
As the world's geopolitical game center of gravity shifts to the Asia-Pacific region, China's periphery and the areas along the Belt and Road will be the areas where shatter belts are most likely to occur, facing huge geopolitical risks. In this article, we traced the origin of the concept of shatter belt, reviewed the relevant research progress of shatter belt, and proposed the future research direction of shatter belt in China. "Shatter belt" was introduced from geology to geopolitical research in the early 20th century and was mainly used to analyze and explain the influence of geographic configurations on conflicts. Research on shatter belt mainly focused on the interpretation of its basic characteristics, analysis of the distribution and evolution of shatter belts, and exploration of the integration paths of shatter belts. The research methods were mostly qualitative analysis and description. The research of shatter belt was mainly concentrated on periods of dramatic changes in the global geopolitical situation and the Eurasian rimland. Future directions of shatter belt research in China should include: 1) constructing a theoretical analysis framework of shatter belt, and strengthening the visualization, quantification, and simulation of shatter belt by combining big data and other analytical methods; 2) strengthening the examination of the evolution processes and driving mechanisms of shatter belts in China's peripheral regions and along the Belt and Road, and identifying and assessing the geopolitical risks in shatter belts; and 3) exploring the ways to integrate shatter belts by combining the thought of a community with shared future for mankind.
With the development of rural-urban integration, rural areas are included in a wider circulation of socioeconomic processes and redefined by multiple internal and external connections. Correspondingly, the marginality of rural geographical location is gradually weakened. The relationship turn in economic geography research provides a new way of dealing with the current situation, where participants in social and economic activities are regarded as the real research objects. It also focuses on virtual space consisted of all kinds of socioeconomic flows, which can be a supplement to geographic space research. However, it is not appropriate to simply apply the research framework of economic geography, which are mainly based on urban context, to rural geography studies. In this article, the necessity and feasibility of the network paradigm application in rural geography were discussed based on an international research review. The core issue of the rural network paradigm discussion is whether people living in rural areas can get rid of the limitations of marginal geographical location by the construction of outward connections. It is found that geographical location and local characteristics can still be the key factors for the development of rural industries and their participation in external competition. There is a limited marginal revenue of more investment in physical infrastructure, such as transportation and communication facilities, to make up for the disadvantages of rural remote locations. The improvement of social environment, such as institutional space, learning space, and informal social network, is important for promoting information, technology, and economic capital flows from urban areas to rural areas more efficiently, so as to accelerate the development of rural areas.
Human activities are unprecedentedly transforming the ecosystems of planet Earth, and quantifying the impacts of human activities on ecosystems therefore becomes increasingly important in ecological and geographical research. Human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP) is an indicator to quantify the extent of human activities impacting on the energy flows of ecosystems. The research of HANPP is developing, from the discussion on theories and methodology and case studies, toward the application of HANPP as an indicator in many research fields of ecology and geography. This review introduced the definition and estimating methods of HANPP; reviewed the previous works; then discussed the advantages and limitations, especially future issues and applications of HANPP concerning ecosystem structures, functions, services, biodiversity, sustainability, human well-being, and the mechanism of human activities impacting on ecosystems. We hope that this review will inspire more HANPP research and promote the quantification, systematization, and interdisciplinarity development of the human-environment relationship research.
Tourism flow is an important tourism phenomenon, and it is also one of the core problems in tourism geography research. At present, the overall research situation is characterized by multiple scales, multiple cases and themes, and equal emphasis on big data and refinement. However, most of the existing studies are based on innovations in technical methods or case topics, which mistakenly regard tourism flow as the ultimate scientific problem and research goal. Therefore, the basic theoretical research of tourism flow needs to be re-recognized, strengthened, and enriched. The "Golden Week" holiday tourism flow is a special short-term high-intensity tourism flow restricted by time, space, information, and other conditions. When the concentration of vacation time promotes the tourist flow in some scenic spots to a certain extent, it will inevitably lead to excessive tourism. How to correctly deal with and effectively alleviate the blowout effect caused by the Golden Week and promote the sustained, healthy, and standardized development of holiday tourism still needs further in-depth discussion. Based on the tidal fluctuation, advancing, and retreating phenomenon of holiday tourism flow in attractive scenic spots with well-known brand and resource endowment advantage as core competitiveness, this study deduced the tidal movement theory of tourism flow by comparing with the tidal phenomenon of oceans. A systematic framework of tidal tourism flow research was constructed from the aspects of flow characteristics, spatial process, system dynamics, scale effect, energy characteristics, and digital simulation. The research refined the complicated phenomenon of holiday tourism flow into a simplified theoretical explanation, broke through the bottleneck of traditional tourism seasonality research, and may enrich the basic theory of China's tourism flow research and provide an important practical reference for guiding the practice of Golden Week holiday tourism flow management in scenic spots.
The increasing globalization has led to significant transformations in the world's economic and political landscapes, with most countries and regions undergoing socioeconomic transitions and spatial reconfigurations. In this context, polycentric patterns have become prominent representations of urban landscapes, and scientific cognition of the urban polycentric evolutionary processes and planning practices is instrumental in understanding the development logic of China during its economic transition. This article reviewed existing literature on the measurement, mechanism, performance, and planning practice of polycentric urban development and discussed its policy implications. The definition of polycentricity covers three dimensions—morphological polycentricity and functional polycentricity reflect urban polycentricity based on static and dynamic perspectives, respectively, while governance polycentricity involves cooperation in strategic planning decisions and policy implementation. The measurement of urban polycentricity is first based on the identification of centers and sub-centers to further measure the degree of polycentric development in different dimensions. In terms of driving mechanisms, the formation of polycentric spatial structure results from the trade-offs between market forces and government planning interventions and is also the spatial manifestation of the intertwining socioeconomic development and institutions, which is triggered and promoted by different leading factors. Notably, political power from the local institutions is a critical driving force shaping polycentric urban development. Research on the performance of polycentricity shows that polycentric development strategies may bring certain negative externalities at the practical level while optimizing spatial organization, and further evaluation of the importance and rationality of polycentricity is worthy of in-depth consideration. In terms of planning practice, polycentric development is a key measure for central and local governments to carry out spatial governance and achieve coordinated development, but the effectiveness of planning implementation is limited. In the future, emphasis should be placed on the innovation of analytical and theoretical frameworks of polycentric research, especially considering the development background of China. Also, as open data gets more widely available, scholars can employ multiple data sources to examine polycentric urban development at different scales and in different dimensions. At the same time, attention should be paid to the mechanism of the formation and evolution of polycentric spatial structure, the multiple performances, and the integration and conflict in multi-level governance. In this way, it assesses whether polycentric development can be used as a tool for strategic spatial planning and whether it can facilitate achieving a balance between space supply and demand while maximizing overall benefits, thus leading to effective spatial governance and regulation practice.
Trade network research originated from complex network science, and its study is related to the globalization research of economic geography. However, relational economic geography, engaging in globalization research and social network and network science, has hardly participated in trade network research. In response to this phenomenon, this article critically reviewed the origin, process, and achievements of the network paradigm of relational economic geography and examined the progress of trade network research, to rethink how relational economic geography should participate in the discussion of trade networks. This article presented the following findings: 1) The network paradigm of relational economic geography only borrows a small part of the concepts of social network analysis, and pays little attention to the overall structure of the network and its influence on collective behaviors. 2) Trade network research mainly discusses the structure and nature of trade networks through building topological network between countries, but relational economic geography based on the actor perspective (for example, enterprises and local agent) is difficult to use social network analysis methods. 3) Relational economic geography should attach importance to global cluster network, and rethink the economic geography foundation of the network concept and the research on the mutual coupling relationship of multi-dimensional networks. This article has implications for expanding the research fields of relational economic geography and for exploring the application of theories and new methods of economic geography.
Under the background of globalization and anti-globalization, "border" has been associated with the characteristics of demarcation and re-demarcation, and the border effect theory has attracted much attention of researchers. Tourism is a process of tourists moving across borders. Because of the mobility, tourism promotes regional development and cooperation. But in the process, cross-border tourism activities also bring about a series of problems, such as border penetration, tourism flow, spatial imbalance, and insecurity. These practical problems force the continuous development of the theory and connotation of border effect. Currently, border effect has become an important point in economics and geography to explain the impact of cross-border behavior, but there are still key questions in tourism research applications, including the barriers caused by the border to the flow; the different changes brought by the border; the impact of the border on a certain element; and the ineffectiveness of a certain factor beyond the border. Border effect in tourism is widespread and unique. Borders influence tourist flow through encouraging tourist motivation, shape the border region through transforming tourism economy and culture, and strengthen national relationships through advancing collaboration and exchanges. In tourism research, border is separation, attraction, infiltration, and transition and border effect is manifested as peripheral tourism area, tourism integration, and border tourism community. Although border effect research has achieved development in evaluation, intervention, and utilization, most of the current research on the border effect theory of tourism still focus on the relationships between borders and tourism, and have many limitations, such as vague concept, single method, and insufficient research. In the future, more attention needs to be paid to the border effects of complex national borders and how to avoid risks and make good use of the border effects of tourism.
Territory is the key concept in political geography, and territorial trap is one of the most classical theories in political geography. This article systematically reviewed the literature on territorial traps, summarized the origin, development, and research progress of the territorial trap theory, and discussed its significance in Chinese political geographical studies. The theory of territorial trap proposed by Agnew is based on three geographical assumptions: the "trinity" of territory-state-sovereignty, the "dichotomy" of domestic-foreign, and the state as a social container. The territorial trap theory refutes the existing state-centric view of territory and emphasizes various effective forms of sovereignty besides the state's territory, such as extraterritorial sovereignty, graduated sovereignty, and social sovereignty. The extensive application of the territorial trap theory reflects its strong explanatory power in global governance, non-traditional security, cross-border migration control, cross-border resource protection, cross-border water politics, and so forth. This article argued that territorial issues should be understood from the complex interaction between territorial control and effective sovereignty and the perspectives from the center and periphery, and be examined by combining rationality and historical emotion. It has important implications for China to effectively resolve territorial issues, promote the realization of the Belt and Road Initiative, and establish the "community with a shared future for mankind".
Stomatocysts are produced specifically by chrysophytes and distributed widely in freshwater environments, with siliceous shells well preserved in deposits. The main characteristics for the identification and classification of stomatocysts include pore, collar, annulus, and ornamentation. Because of their sensitivity to aquatic environmental changes, chrysophyte stomatocysts are broadly used in studies of aquatic environmental change, including reconstruction of paleotemperature and paleohydrology and assessment of lake eutrophication and acidification. Existing studies are mainly conducted in North America and Europe but few investigations exist in other regions. Compared with other bioindicators, the identification of stomatocysts is much more complex, probably limiting their broad application. Future studies should improve the identification and classification methods of stomatocysts in order to promote efficiency of identification and counting. Furthermore, modern investigation of stomatocysts should be strengthened to reveal global stomatocyst diversity and their ecological attributes, particularly in regions outside of Europe and North America. On these bases, applications of stomatocysts in the fields of peatland environmental change and biogeography should be strengthened.
Under the background of global climate change and complex international geopolitics, the spatial perspective of geography provides a new entry point for studying the nexus between energy, economy, and the environment. By summarizing the literature on energy-economy nexus, energy-environment nexus, and energy-economy-environment nexus, we found that: 1) There is a "spatial turn" in the research of energy-economy nexus, and location characteristics are used to explain spatial heterogeneity. 2) The literature on the energy-environment nexus focuses on the spatial effects of energy-related pollution and policies, and new research topics such as energy landscape research have emerged recently. 3) The study on the energy-economy-environment nexus has just appeared, with three general research frameworks: empirical research on causality, coupling and coordination degree evaluation, and multi-objective planning prediction. 4) The current research has shortcomings such as high homogeneity of empirical analysis, insufficient explanation of spatial disparity mechanism, and less research related to renewable energy. Accordingly, this article attempted to construct a research framework for the energy-economy-environment (3E) nexus from the spatial perspective. We also proposed further research topics based on the existing studies in China—improving the construction of the theoretical framework, strengthening renewable energy research, and carrying out simulation and prediction of energy-economy-environment systems under carbon reduction targets, so as to provide theoretical and empirical support for the realization of China's carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals.
Agglomeration economy theory has been intrinsically linked to urban economic growth since its inception. This article systematically reviewed the origin and development of agglomeration economy theory, summarized the core ideas of agglomeration economy in explaining the formation and development of urban space, and suggested that agglomeration economy and urban economic growth are intrinsically related. In addition, this article reviewed the impact of agglomeration economy on urban economic growth, and found that the agglomeration economy represented by increasing population density can significantly promote urban economic growth, and the explanatory mechanism of urban agglomeration economy effect can be explored from two perspectives: macro-processes and micro-processes. This article is not only a review of the literature on agglomeration economy theory and urban economic growth, but also a reference for empirical analysis of the impact of agglomeration economy on urban economic growth in China.
Maps are the basic language of geography and an indispensable tool for spatial analysis. But maps have long been seen as an objective, neutral scientific product. Inspired by critical geography, critical cartography/GIS emerged with the goal of elucidating the nature of discourse, power relations, and even the physical environment embedded in cartographic practice and challenging the untested but taken for granted assumptions in cartographic representation. After nearly 40 years of debates, this field of research has been gradually defined, and a blueprint of "hybrid geographies" has gradually emerged. Through the combination of various geographical methodologies, critical cartography/GIS has generally formed two research directions. The deconstruction approaches mainly start from the identity of cartographers and the production process of map knowledge, and analyze the inseparable relationship between "cartographicality" and national governance as well as the inherent mechanism of power. The construction approaches mainly explore the new production and representation of maps by means of collaborative mapping and counter-mapping. The research of critical cartography/GIS in China has just started, so it is necessary to continue to draw on the achievements of critical geography to carry out the deconstruction research of different types of maps in different historical periods, strengthen the convergence of construction path and deconstruction path, and actively participate in the social applications of research results.