Next Article in Journal
Sustainable Production of Bio-Combustibles from Pyrolysis of Agro-Industrial Wastes
Next Article in Special Issue
Spatial Pattern and the Process of Settlement Expansion in Jiangsu Province from 1980 to 2010, Eastern China
Previous Article in Journal
Citizen Assessment as Policy Tool of Urban Public Services: Empirical Evidence from Assessments of Urban Green Spaces in China
Previous Article in Special Issue
Assessment Framework and Decision—Support System for Consolidating Urban-Rural Construction Land in Coastal China
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2014, 6(11), 7850-7865;

Economic Growth and Expansion of China’s Urban Land Area: Evidence from Administrative Data and Night Lights, 1993–2012

Department of Economics, University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 August 2014 / Revised: 23 October 2014 / Accepted: 31 October 2014 / Published: 6 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use and Ecosystem Management)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2416 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |  


The relationship between economic growth, expansion of urban land area and the broader issue of cultivated land conversion in China has been closely examined for the late 1980s and 1990s. Much less is known about recent urban expansion and if the effects of economic growth on this expansion have changed over time. This paper updates estimates of urban expansion for China and examines the relationship with city economic growth for 1993–2012. To see if patterns are robust to different types of evidence, administrative data on the area of 225 urban cores are compared to estimates of brightly lit areas from remotely sensed night lights. The trend annual expansion rate in lit area is 8% and was significantly faster in the decade to 2002 than in the most recent decade. Expansion is slower according to administrative data, at just 5% per annum, with no change in unconditional expansion rates between decades, while conditional expansion rates have declined. The elasticity of area with respect to city economic output is about 0.3. Over time, expansion of urban land area is becoming less responsive to the growth of the local non-agricultural population. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic growth; land conversion; luminosity; urbanization; China economic growth; land conversion; luminosity; urbanization; China

Figure 1

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 (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gibson, J.; Li, C.; Boe-Gibson, G. Economic Growth and Expansion of China’s Urban Land Area: Evidence from Administrative Data and Night Lights, 1993–2012. Sustainability 2014, 6, 7850-7865.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top