PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (8): 1068-1077.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2014.08.007

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress and prospect on the identification of urban fringe

Jian PENG(), Jing MA, Yuan YUAN   

  1. Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Online:2014-08-25 Published:2014-08-25


Urban fringe is a special region between urban and rural areas, and it is the most active and sensitive place in the process of urbanization. It is an independent and unified geographic entity with great change and diversity. Quantitative identification of urban fringe, that is, determining its location and defining its spatial reach based on the natural, social, and economic characteristics, is the starting point for further research on its social structure, landscape pattern, and development gradient, and is of vital importance for the research of ecological effects of urbanization. It has drawn great attention of scholars from different fields. However, the theories and methods of urban fringe identification have been lacking of focus and need a systematic research and review. Based on comparative analyses of related concepts of urban fringe, this article clarifies the essence and connotation of urban fringe and its identification. It then proposes a conceptual framework on the basis of "indicative factors-spatial units-identifying models" for implementing urban fringe identification and reviews the progresses both at home and abroad in these three aspects. Indicative factors are the quantitative elements that are chosen based on available socioeconomic statistics data or spatial data to distinctively represent the characteristics of urban area, urban fringe, and rural area. The selection of spatial units is subject to the indicative factors and identifying models, including grid cells and administrative units. Identifying models are critical in the identification process. This study found that urban fringe identification is changing from depending on statistical data to spatial data, and from using administrative units to spatial grids. Finally, this article presents the key directions of future research: examining interactions between urban and rural areas, which is the foundation of other research on urban fringe; comprehensive identification based on multi-factors and taking advantage of multi-source datasets; integrating non-parametric models for quantitative identification, which is more suitable for the non-linear human-environmental system; up-scaling/down-scaling and exploring the appropriate scale of analysis; and dynamic monitoring of long time series data.

Key words: urban fringe, indicative factors, spatial units, identifying models, progress and prospect

CLC Number: 

  • P901