PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (12): 2218-2230.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.12.003

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Process of change of the spatial polarization of population urbanization in the Yangtze River Delta region

ZHU Yiheng1,2(), YANG Shan1,2,*(), YIN Shanggang3, CAI Anning4   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. College of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, Zhejiang, China
    4. Tourism and Social Administration College, Nanjing Xiaozhuang University, Nanjing 211171, China
  • Received:2022-07-01 Revised:2022-08-27 Online:2022-12-28 Published:2022-12-31
  • Contact: YANG Shan;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171200);National Natural Science Foundation of China(52078237)


With the rapid advancement of population urbanization in China, the agglomeration differences between cities caused by asymmetric population flow continue to accumulate and generate spatial polarization. The study of the pattern of polarization formation and its spatial effects is of great practical significance for coordinated regional development. Taking 41 cities in the Yangtze River Delta region as research cases, this study built a comprehensive evaluation indicator system for the level of population urbanization. On the basis of measuring the population agglomeration index from 2000 to 2019, this study used polarization index and coefficient of variation to explore the evolution process, spatial characteristics, and positive- negative effects of the spatial polarization of population urbanization. The research found that: 1) Since 2000, the spatial and temporal differentiation of population urbanization in the Yangtze River Delta region has been increasing year by year, the spatial polarization has increased by nearly 40%, and the unevenness of urban development has continued to increase; The overall polarization of the Yangtze River Delta region is larger than that of the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration, forming a multi-center spatial polarization pattern with Shanghai-Nanjing-Hangzhou-Hefei as centers, and the core area has evolved into a spatially positive area. 2) With the change in the degree of agglomeration, the spatial and temporal differentiation of spatial polarization in different dimensions continues to expand. The high-value areas are mainly concentrated along the Yangtze River Delta axis with Shanghai-Nanjing as the center, and then decrease to Anhui, northern Jiangsu, and southern Zhejiang. It presents an obvious core-periphery structure, forming a spatial polarization trend of population quality > population structure > population potential. 3) During the study period, the polarization level of most cities has changed. The increase of positive-positive and negative-negative cities has intensified the spatial polarization effect of the region, showing a dumbbell-shaped distribution characteristic. 4) In the process of population urbanization, population structure is the main driving force of spatial polarization in the region. In the future, continuously improving the population quality and regulating the transformation of positive-positive and negative-negative cities into positive-negative and negative-positive cities will help promote the high-quality and coordinated development of population urbanization in the Yangtze River Delta.

Key words: population urbanization, spatial polarization, coordinated development, internal mechanism, the Yangtze River Delta