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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 930;

Forms of Urban Expansion of Chinese Municipalities and Provincial Capitals, 1970s–2013

Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Yuhong He, Qihao Weng, Soe Myint and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
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Urban expansion form is the most direct manifestation of urban expansion in space. Although it has been widely and vigorously studied, relatively little attention has been paid to reveal its spatiotemporal characteristics at the administrative level over a long timeframe. In this study, 31 Chinese municipalities and provincial capitals were selected as subjects to identify the urban expansion forms of provincial and higher level cities in China. First, urban expansion processes of these cities in the past four decades were reconstructed using remote sensing and geographical information system (GIS) technology. Then, the overall characteristics of urban expansion were presented to scientifically determine the urban expansion forms of the provincial and higher level cities in China. Afterwards, the annual expansion area per city (AEAC) index was employed to describe the urban expansion processes and determine the important time nodes of the 31 cities. Lastly, the urban expansion type (UET) index was adopted to analyze the spatiotemporal characteristics of urban expansion forms. Results indicate that (1) from the 1970s to 2013, urban lands in provincial and higher level cities in China expanded dramatically, with the central built-up area increasing by over 5 times, and urban expansion demonstrating an apparent spatial difference. The expansion rate of cities in East China was fastest with an AEAC of 13.78 km2, followed by that in Central China (AEAC = 9.67 km2). The urban expansion rate was slowest in West China (AEAC = 7.11 km2); (2) Affected by the national macro policies, urban expansion processes successively experienced four different stages: a slow expansion period (1970s–1987), an accelerating expansion period (1987–1995), a slowdown expansion period (1995–2000), and a high-speed fluctuating expansion period (after 2000); (3) The urban expansion forms of municipalities and provincial capitals were mainly edge-expansion supported by infilling expansion. The leapfrog form contributed minimally to urban expansion; (4) The edge-expansion form surged before 2010 and gradually slowed down after 2010. By contrast, infilling expansion kept increasing in the past four decades. Lastly, the rate of urban expansion via the leapfrog form fluctuated from the 1970s to 2013. View Full-Text
Keywords: municipalities and provincial capitals; remote sensing; urban expansion process; expansion form; China municipalities and provincial capitals; remote sensing; urban expansion process; expansion form; China

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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).

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Liu, F.; Zhang, Z.; Wang, X. Forms of Urban Expansion of Chinese Municipalities and Provincial Capitals, 1970s–2013. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 930.

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