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Open AccessArticle

Micro-Study of the Evolution of Rural Settlement Patterns and Their Spatial Association with Water and Land Resources: A Case Study of Shandan County, China

1
College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2
School of Management, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122277
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research)
The balance between population and water and land resources is an important part of regional sustainable development. It is also significant for the ecological civilization in China and can help solve the Three Rural Issues (agriculture, countryside and farmers) in China. The Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road in twenty-first Century Strategy have brought new opportunities for the Hexi Corridor, which is facing challenges in the sustainable development of rural settlements. In this paper, we analyzed the temporal-spatial differentiation of rural settlement patterns in Shandan County of Hexi Corridor and studied the spatial association between rural settlements and water-land resources. Results show that the total area of rural settlement patches (CA), the number of rural settlement patches (NP), the mean patch area (MPS), the maximum patch areas (MAXP), the minimum patch areas (MINP) and the density of rural settlement patches (PD) changed more rapidly from 1998 to 2008 than from 2008 to 2015. In the second period, the indices mentioned before did not change significantly. The kernel density of rural settlements is basically consistent in three periods. Rural settlements mainly distribute along major roads and the hydrographic network and the kernel density of rural settlements decreases in the direction away from these roads and the hydrographic network. In addition, rural settlements in Shandan County are densely distributed in some regions and sparsely distributed in other regions. The dispersion degree of rural settlements increased from 1998 to 2008 and tended to be stable after 2008. These lead to the dispersion, hollowing and chaos of rural settlements in Shandan County. The spatial distribution of rural settlements in Shandan County is closely related to that of cultivated land and the hydrographic network. Our results might provide a theoretical basis for the reasonable utilization of water and land resources in Shandan County. Ultimately, a balance between population and water and land resources and regional sustainable development can be achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: Micro-study; rural settlements; spatial association; dispersion degree; Shandan County in the Hexi Corridor Micro-study; rural settlements; spatial association; dispersion degree; Shandan County in the Hexi Corridor
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Ma, L.; Guo, X.; Tian, Y.; Wang, Y.; Chen, M. Micro-Study of the Evolution of Rural Settlement Patterns and Their Spatial Association with Water and Land Resources: A Case Study of Shandan County, China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2277.

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