Synthetic measurement of regional sustainable development has been one of the key issues in the research field of sustainability. In this paper, Qingyang City located in the Loess Plateau ecologically fragile area of Northwest China is used for a case study, and the present study aims to investigate the degree of sustainable development by conducting temporal- and spatial-scale based analysis, with the assessment index system, assessment model and GIS approach well integrated. The results show that the development pattern of Qingyang generally fits the mode of unsustainable development, even in the presence of certain levels of spatial differences. The sustainable development state in ecologically fragile area of China’s Loess Plateau is non-optimistic, which is an uncoordinated status among subsystems of regional sustainable development. Although the level and tendency of regional sustainable development keeps increasing, such enhancement is abnormal. With the rapid deterioration of environmental and natural resources, their inhibitory effect on the economy and society would expand, eventually leading to the slow development rate or the recession of the entire system. The only solution is to change the traditional mode of economic development, to follow the guide of ecological economic conception so that the goal of achieving regional sustainable development strategies could be met ultimately. Meanwhile, the characteristics of different regions should be taken into account in order to achieve optimal spatial structure.
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