JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (1): 140-152.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20190112

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evolution characteristics and driving mechanism of urban-rural scale system at county level: A case of Zhangjiagang city, Jiangsu province

Zhi LI1,2(), Xiao-lin ZHANG1(), Hong-bo LI1   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
  • Received:2018-07-01 Revised:2018-10-09 Online:2019-01-20 Published:2019-01-20


In the context of the new era, it is of great theoretical and practical significance to promote urban-rural integrated development and rural vitalization by means of studying the urban-rural scale system. The concept of urban-rural scale system had three essential characteristics of size, structure and distribution, therefore the three-dimensional analytical method had been established. This paper explored the evolution characteristics and driving mechanism of urban-rural scale system, based on both the land change survey data and remote sensing data in 1995, 2005 and 2015, using the well-developed Zhangjiagang city of Jiangsu province as a case. Several conclusions can be drawn as follows: (1) The number of urban-rural settlements was continually decreasing, but the scale of built-up areas showed the opposite trend during 1995-2015. (2) The type of city-town-village scale structure changed from "stele-pattern" to "pyramid-pattern", then to "olive-pattern" from 1995 to 2015. The number and built-up area of high grade settlements were increasing, and those of low grade settlements were decreasing. There was close correlation between the growth speed of settlements and their size-classes. Zipf's index of settlements size was generally high, with the decreasing growth rate of it, and the outcomes of model fitting conformed to the law of rank-size as a whole. (3) The spatial differentiation of urban-rural scale system had become increasingly obvious during the study period. However, the speed of polarization had decreased in the 10 years. There existed significant characteristics of spatial agglomeration of settlements, and distribution of cluster centers developed toward the direction of equalization. The spatial and temporal changes of urban-rural construction land were remarkably different in different regions, but the land-use change was mainly found in the urban areas. (4) This paper constructed a "four-wheel" driving mechanism of urban-rural scale system, including four driving factors. More specifically, geographic location was the fundamental factor limiting the development of urban-rural scale system; regional economy was the internal motivity impelling the settlements to evolve toward an advanced one; transport network was a kind of important catalyst in the process; institution and administration had become the indispensably external driving forces. These four factors, just like the four wheels of a car, interacted each other and together impelled the evolution of urban-rural scale system.

Key words: urban-rural scale system, evolution characteristics, driving mechanism, county level, Zhangjiagang city