PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2009, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 111-118.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2009.01.015

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Review of the Theories and Methods for Regional Economic Spatial Structure

GUO Tengyun, XU Yong, MA Guoxia, WANG Zhiqiang   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2008-08-01 Revised:2008-12-01 Online:2009-01-24 Published:2009-01-24


The about 200 years' development history of regional economic spatial structure theories can be roughly divided into three periods, the classic location theories development period, the regional economic spatial structure evolvement theories, and the new economic geography theories. With the development of the regional economic spatial structure theories, the research foci have transferred from abstract theoretical explorations to comprehensive studies on the evolvement theories of regional economic spatial structure. And the corresponding research methods have transferred from the analyses based on geometry and calculus to computer simulation based on complicated mathematical and physical principles, and even complexity science. On one hand, the classic location theories and regional spatial structure theories are the basic theories, new economic geography theories provide new viewing angle for regional economic spatial structure, and all have special reference to the future studies of regional economic spatial structures; on the other hand, because these theories were deducted from the rigid hypotheses, theoretical spatial structure patterns inferred from the theories are not accordant with the realities. So, these should be kept in mind when using them to explain the nowadays concrete regional economic spatial structure phenomena. Accordingly, the leading research methods have shifted from the static simulations of regional development states to the dynamic simulations of regional development processes. New methods and computer technologies have exerted increasing effects on the studies of regional economic spatial structure, especially, the combination of complexity scientific methods with GIS and RS technologies has shown good prospects in the future studies of regional economic spatial structure.

Key words: regional economic spatial structure, review, theories and methods