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Spatial Heterogeneity in the Determinants of Urban Form: An Analysis of Chinese Cities with a GWR Approach

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-simulation, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 479;
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2019 / Published: 17 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Use Form in China)
It is of great significance to investigate the determinants of urban form for shaping sustainable urban form. Previous studies generally assumed the determinants of urban form did not vary across spatial units, without taking spatial heterogeneity into account. In order to advance the theoretical understanding of the determinants of urban form, this study attempted to examine the spatial heterogeneity in the determinants of urban form for 289 Chinese prefecture-level cities using a geographically weighted regression (GWR) method. The results revealed the spatially varying relationship between urban form and its underlying factors. Population growth was found to promote urban expansion in most Chinese cities, and decrease urban compactness in part of the Chinese cities. Cities with larger administrative areas were more likely to have dispersed urban form. Industrialization was demonstrated to have no impact on urban expansion in cities located in the eastern coastal region of China, which constitutes the country’s most developed regions. Local financial revenue was found to accelerate urban expansion and increase urban shape irregularity in many Chines cities. It was found that fixed investment exerted a bidirectional impact on urban expansion. In addition, urban road networks and public transit were also identified as the determinants of urban form for some cities, which supported the complex urban systems (CUS) theory. The policy implications emerging from this study lies in shaping sustainable urban form for China’s decision makers and urban planners. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban form; determinants; spatial heterogeneity; GWR; Chinese cities urban form; determinants; spatial heterogeneity; GWR; Chinese cities
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Li, S.; Zhou, C.; Wang, S.; Gao, S.; Liu, Z. Spatial Heterogeneity in the Determinants of Urban Form: An Analysis of Chinese Cities with a GWR Approach. Sustainability 2019, 11, 479.

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