Unbalanced regional development is widespread, and the imbalance of regional development in developing countries with rapid urbanization is increasingly apparent. This threatens the sustainable development of the region. Promoting the coordinated development of the region has become a hot spot of scientific research and a major practical need. Taking 99 counties of Jiangsu Province China, a typical coastal plain region, as the basic research unit, this paper explores the unbalanced development characteristics of the regional urban spatial form using three indicators: urban spatial expansion size, development intensity, and distribution aggregation degree. Then, their driving mechanisms were evaluated using spatial autocorrelation analysis, Pearson correlation analysis, linear regression, and geographically weighted regression. Our results found that the areas with larger urban spatial expansion size and development intensity were mainly concentrated in southern Jiangsu, where there was a positive spatial correlation between them. We found no agglomeration phenomenon in urban spatial distribution aggregation degree. From the perspective of driving factors: economics was the main driving factor of urban spatial expansion size; urbanization level and urbanization quality were the main driving factors of urban spatial development intensity. Natural landform and urbanization level are the main driving factors of urban spatial distribution aggregation degree. Finally, we discussed the optimization strategy of regional coordinated development. The quality of urbanization development and regional integration should be promoted in Southern Jiangsu. The level of urbanization development should be improved relying on rapid transportation to develop along the axis in central Jiangsu. The economic size should be increased, focusing on the expansion of the urban agglomeration in northern Jiangsu. This study will enrich the perspective of research on the characteristics and mechanisms of regional urban spatial imbalance, and helps to optimize and regulate the imbalance of regional urban development from multiple perspectives.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited