PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (8): 1216-1226.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.08.005

• Urban Geography & Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Characteristics of resource-exhausted cities’industrial function in China

CAO Jing1,2, ZHANG Wenzhong1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2013-03-01 Revised:2013-05-01 Online:2013-08-25 Published:2013-08-25
  • Contact: 张文忠(1966-),男,内蒙古呼和浩特人,研究员,博导,主要从事城市和区域发展研究。E-mail:

Abstract: Many resource-dependent cities in China are stepping into predicament nowadays, when their resources have been depleted. The severe imbalance of industrial function is one of the main reasons that make sustainable development beyond reach of resource-exhausted cities. Mainly based on statistic data, this paper analyzes the characteristics of main industrial sectors, dominant industrial function, industrial specialization and its extent in 24 prefecture-level resource-exhausted cities confirmed by the National Development and Reform Commission. The 24 case cities are classified, and the dynamic changes of industrial function from 1997 to 2011 in those cities are discussed by using basic economic theory, industry life circle theory and methods of city function analysis. The conclusion shows that, due to industrial specialization, in general in resource-exhausted cities percentage of the work forces in the primary industry is slightly higher than national average. As a result, resource-exhausted cities largely exemplify fundamental industrial function and have more work forces in the fields like mining, electricity, gas and water supply, which are closely related to mining industry. Resource-exhausted cities play an important functional role in mining industry and other related industries. However, in most service areas like transportation, storage, postal service, these cities have low percentage of work forces, much lower than national average, which reflects the functional defect of resource-exhausted cities. Moreover, resource-exhausted cities mainly rely on resource-related heavy manufacturing industry as well as mining industry, with the percentage of work forces engaged in manufacturing still under the national average. About half of the case cities have redefined manufacturing instead of mining as their dominant industrial function. However, in the case cities, only mining industry reaches specialization standard, though situations differ from city to city. Based on the current industrial function characteristics, the 24 case cities can be classified into four major categories. Most of the case cities kept improving their mining function in the years between 1997 and 2011. Meanwhile there is also a clear trend of industrial function diversification.

Key words: China, competitive industrial function, industrial function, resource-exhausted city, specialization level