The Chinese government is undergoing a major reform. The current core task of new Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is to establish a national territorial spatial planning system (NTSPS). Urban agglomeration has become a main body in NTSPS. China’s new urbanization strategy identified 19 key development areas of urban agglomerations (UA), but the land development path is not clear. Due to the lack of research on the land development intensity evaluation (LDIE) of urban agglomerations, this study applied a GIS-based, multi-criteria method for LDIE to the Shandong Peninsular urban agglomeration (SPUA). Evaluation indices were determined for three factors (development intensity, supporting capacity, and utilization efficiency) that comprise the discriminant model of the three-dimensional matrix method, which was used to establish the method for this topic and demonstrate the accuracy of the land spatial development intensity. This empirical study on the SPUA indicated that, overall, the average indices for development intensity, supporting capacity, and utilization efficiency in the study area are 0.40, 0.34, and 0.55, respectively. Using the three-dimensional matrix discrimination model, three zones of development intensity were identified: key, stable, and restricted development zones. The threshold values for construction land growth in the eight cities of the SPUA were obtained. The findings provide a theoretical reference and guide for the practical application of LDIE as well as a scientific basis for sustainable land development and utilization.
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