Research on urban land carrying capacity(ULCC) is not only a progress in traditional land carrying capacity(LCC), but also a useful tool to explore the sustainable development of cities. As it is concerned by an increasing number of experts, this paper reviews the origin, development, contents and methods of ULCC, as well as its application in city management. ULCC focuses on city areas, so its research changes the previous “land-food-population” direction in land carrying capacity, and emphasizes the all-together analysis of population size, economic growth and social development which the city can support. References show that ULCC was talked frequently in fields such as urban development, resources, environment and ecosystem. But, the system of ULCC itself has not been formed yet. Classification of the related literatures shows that the existed studies mainly discussed something related to ULCC independently from three perspectives, such as carriers, objects and influencing factors. They aim at relationship analysis between different kinds of urban land and population, economic growth, social development and eco-environment. Almost all of the existed papers made a lot of quantitative analysis to answer how many citizens, and what kind of economy and lives the urban land can support. Although methods used in these papers cover mainly mathematics, model, and indicator system, they are different for different objects and urban features. So, it destroys the possibility of comparing the evaluation results among different cities. Furthermore, the effects of ULCC used for urban land management were mostly unsatisfactory. In view of the current research shortcomings, it is pointed out in the end that something should be done in the future to improve the research system of ULCC itself, to identify main function zoning of urban land based on ULCC, to strengthen early warning study of ULCC, to set up interactive mechanism between ULCC evaluation and land use policy, and to renew methods and popularize the research results.