PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (7): 1093-1102.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.013

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Urban spatial linkages and the hub-spoke network structure in the Wuhan metropolitan area

Ye TIAN1,2(), Jing LUO2,*(), Jianwei SUN3, Ying DONG1, Guolei CHEN3   

  1. 1. Changjiang Academy of Development and Strategy/Institute for Advanced Studies in Finance and Economics, Hubei University of Economics, Wuhan 430205, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Geographical Process Analysis & Simulation of Hubei Province / College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China;
    3. School of Geographic and Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 550025, China
  • Received:2018-12-27 Revised:2019-03-15 Online:2019-07-28 Published:2019-07-28
  • Contact: Jing LUO E-mail:yongcheng_;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41871176 and 41801177;National Social Science Fund of China, No. 18CJY048;Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, No. CCNU18ZDPY09.


Hub-spoke network is an efficient network structure, which is helpful for reducing the cost of factor flow, improving efficiency, and increasing scale effect. Hub-spoke network consists of some hubs and spoke, where the hubs play the key role of circulating factors like people, capital, information, and so on, and the spoke receive the factors and transfer them in a specific way so that efficiency would be improved significantly. In this study, we took 37 counties and districts in the Wuhan metropolitan area as the research area and used the modified gravity model to calculate the spatial linkage strength in 1995, 2005, and 2015 between the 37 units. Then we mapped the hub-spoke network with networkx, an open source package of python and analyzed the changes. The results show that: 1) The strength of the linkages between towns and cities have gradually increased, and the pattern evolved from unipolar radiation to network integration. Meanwhile, the overall linkages present a core-periphery pattern centered on the main urban area of Wuhan City. The spatial linkage network developed synchronously with linkage strength, and network structure has become increasingly more compact. At the same time, the pivotal position of key nodes is becoming more prominent. 2) Key hub towns and linkage channels gradually developed around the main urban area of Wuhan City, forming some connecting rings covering the northeast and south of the main urban area of Wuhan City as the key connecting channels between key hub towns and spoke towns. 3) The structure of the overall linkage network consists of a high level hub, which is the main urban area of Wuhan City, some middle level hubs, which are the main urban areas of some prefecture-level cities, and the spoke towns in the Wuhan metropolitan area. The hub and spoke network structure has evolved from point-to-point to primary hub and spoke network and leveled hub and spoke network, but this structure is not perfect at present and is still in development.

Key words: Wuhan metropolitan area, spatial linkage, hub and spoke network, evolution