Spatiotemporal Pattern Analysis of China’s Cities Based on High-Resolution Imagery from 2000 to 2015
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(5), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8050241 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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The urbanization level in China has increased rapidly since beginning of the 21st century, and the monitoring and analysis of urban expansion has become a popular topic in geoscience applications. However, problems, such as inconsistent concepts and extraction standards, low precision, and poor
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The urbanization level in China has increased rapidly since beginning of the 21st century, and the monitoring and analysis of urban expansion has become a popular topic in geoscience applications. However, problems, such as inconsistent concepts and extraction standards, low precision, and poor comparability, existing in urban monitoring may lead to wrong conclusions. This study selects 337 cities at the prefecture level and above in China as research subjects and uses high-resolution images and geographic information data in a semi-automatic extraction method to identify urban areas in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015. City size distribution patterns, urban expansion regional characteristics, and expansion types are analyzed. Results show that Chinese cities maintained a high-speed growth trend from 2000 to 2015, with the total area increasing by 115.79%. The overall scale of a city continues to expand, and the system becomes increasingly complex. The urban system is more balanced than the ideal Zipf distribution, but it also exhibited different characteristics in 2005. Urban areas are mostly concentrated in the eastern and central regions, and the difference between the east and the west is considerable. However, cities in the western region continuously expand. Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Guangzhou are the four largest cities in China. Approximately 73.30% of the cities are expanding in an extended manner; the urban form tends to be scattered, and land use efficiency is low. The new urban areas mainly come from cultivated land and ecological land.