Urbanization leads to the occupation of green areas, directly contributing to a high level of fragmentation of urban green spaces, which, in turn, results in numerous socioeconomic and environmental problems. Consequently, an understanding of the relationships between patterns of urban green spaces and urbanization processes is essential. Although previous quantitative studies have examined this relationship, they have not included an exploration of spatial heterogeneities in the effects of urbanization on the spatial patterns of urban green areas. We therefore applied a spatiotemporal perspective to examine the above relationship, while considering the wider planning context. First, we quantified the extent of fragmentation of urban green spaces using landscape metrics comprising the largest patch index (LPI) and landscape shape index (LSI). Next, using the calculated spatial metrics and nighttime light data (NTL) for central Beijing for the period 1992–2016, we applied a geographically weighted regression model to assess variations in the spatiotemporal effects of urbanization on the fragmentation of urban green spaces. The results showed that urbanization initially occurred mainly in the northern parts of Beijing, whereas urbanization of southern urban fringe areas occurred after 2008. The reduction in green spaces along with increasing fragmentation and complex spatial patterns are indicative of issues relating to Beijing’s rapid urbanization and planning policies. This study contributes to an understanding of how urbanization influences fragmentation of urban green spaces and offers insights for the planning of urban green spaces from the perspective of promoting sustainability.
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