Rural-spatial restructuring involves the spatial mapping of the current rural development process. The transformation of land-use morphologies, directly or indirectly, affects the practice of rural restructuring. Analyzing this process in terms of the dominant morphology and recessive morphology is helpful for better grasping the overall picture of rural-spatial restructuring. Accordingly, this paper took Zhulin Town in Central China as a case study area. We propose a method for studying rural-spatial restructuring based on changes in the dominant and recessive morphologies of land use. This process was realized by analyzing the distribution and functional suitability of ecological-production-living (EPL) spaces based on land-use types, data on land-use changes obtained over a 30-year observation period, and in-depth research. We found that examining rural-spatial restructuring by matching the distribution of EPL spaces with their functional suitability can help to avoid the misjudgment of the restructuring mode caused by the consideration of the distribution and structural changes in quantity, facilitating greater understanding of the process of rural-spatial restructuring. Although the distribution and quantitative structure of Zhulin’s EPL spaces have changed to differing degrees, ecological- and agricultural-production spaces still predominate, and their functional suitability has gradually increased. The spatial distribution and functional suitability of Zhulin are generally well matched, with 62.5% of the matched types being high-quality growth, and the positive effect of Zhulin’s spatial restructuring over the past 30 years has been significant. We found that combining changes in EPL spatial area and quantity as well as changes in functional suitability is helpful in better understanding the impact of the national macro-policy shift regarding rural development. Sustaining the positive spatial restructuring of rural space requires the timely adjustment of local actors in accordance with the needs of macroeconomic and social development, and a good rural-governance model is essential.
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