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Open AccessArticle

Exploring Determinants of Urban Form in China through an Empirical Study among 115 Cities

by Man Yuan 1,2, Yan Song 3,4,* and Liang Guo 1,2,*
School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
Hubei Engineering and Technology Research Center of Urbanization, Wuhan 430074, China
School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
Department of City and Regional Planning, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3648;
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 9 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Use Form in China)
This study aims to analyze and explain the factors that influence the urban form of Chinese cities through an empirical analysis of a cross-sectional dataset of 115 cities in 2000 and 2010. Four spatial metrics, including population density, a contiguity index, a fractal dimension index, and a shape index, are used to quantify urban form. The paper compares urban form across four economic zones and across cities of different sizes. Ordinary least square and first-difference regression models are used to analyze the determinants of urban form. The results show that urban sprawl in China is characterized by decreased population density and greater irregularity and complexity of urban built-up areas. Metrics, such as Gross Domestic Product, population, transportation costs, and economical structure are associated with urban form in different ways, and urban expansion based on large-scale industrialization and real estate development is unsustainable in the new era. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban morphology; determinants; empirical study; China urban morphology; determinants; empirical study; China
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Yuan, M.; Song, Y.; Guo, L. Exploring Determinants of Urban Form in China through an Empirical Study among 115 Cities. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3648.

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