PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (9): 1587-1596.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.09.015

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Progress, thoughts, and prospect of urban network research based on enterprise perspective

HU Guojian(), LU Yuqi*()   

  1. School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2019-09-06 Revised:2019-12-11 Online:2020-09-28 Published:2020-11-28
  • Contact: LU Yuqi;
  • Supported by:
    Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41430635)


Under the background of globalization, the extensive inter-urban linkages of human, material, capital, information, and other elements have become a prominent feature of modern socioeconomic systems. The elements of mobility connect different cities into a unified whole, and urban networks describe this new type of spatial organization. A network of cities nested in regions, countries, and the world has been formed. Enterprise association, traffic flow, and information flow are the main sources of relational data in urban network research. Traffic flow and information flow are relatively simple in constructing urban network or information network, but do not present deeper details of urban networks. Enterprise-related data, however, are more complicated and in-depth in terms of network construction, functional delineation, and dynamic interpretation. This study firstly reviewed the research progress of Chinese and international scholars on the urban network from a corporate perspective, and clarified the new trends in the literature. Secondly, this article discussed whether urban functional networks should be included in the study of urban networks. On this basis, the embedding theory was introduced into the research. The rational of urban network research from the perspective of enterprise network was discussed from the perspectives of social embedding, regional embedding, relationship embedding, and scale embedding. Emphasis was placed on the differences between internal contacts, external contacts, and super-enterprise connections, and their respective relationships with urban networks. We also clarified the role and status of producer services in urban linkages and related research. It is proposed that urban network research should be applied to the social practice of defining urban functional orientation, enhancing regional economic competitiveness, and demarcating urban agglomeration boundaries. Finally, this study also proposes that future urban network research should strengthen the analysis of relationships and multiple perspectives, and attach importance to the influence of institutional culture on urban networks.

Key words: urban network, enterprise network, research progress, producer service industry;, China