The ghost city phenomenon is a serious problem resulting from the rapid urbanization process in China. Estimation of the ghost city rate (GCR) can provide information about vacant dwellings. This paper developed a methodology to quantitatively evaluate GCR values at the national scale using multi-resource remote sensing data. The Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership–Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer (NPP-VIIRS) night-time light data and moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) land cover data were used in the evaluation of the GCR values in China. The average ghost city rate (AGCR) was 35.1% in China in 2013. Shanghai had the smallest AGCR of 21.7%, while Jilin has the largest AGCR of 47.27%. There is a significant negative correlation between both the provincial AGCR and the per capita disposable income of urban households (R = −0.659, p
< 0.01) and the average selling prices of commercial buildings (R = −0.637, p
< 0.01). In total, 31 ghost cities are mainly concentrated in the economically underdeveloped inland provinces. Ghost city areas are mainly located on the edge of urban built-up areas, and the spatial pattern of ghost city areas changed in different regions. This approach combines statistical data with the distribution of vacant urban areas, which is an effective method to capture ghost city information.
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