This paper focuses on the suitability of urban expansion in mountain areas against the background of accelerated urban development. Urbanization is accompanied by conflict and intense transformations of various landscapes, and is accompanied by social, economic, and ecological impacts. Evaluating the suitability of
[...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the suitability of urban expansion in mountain areas against the background of accelerated urban development. Urbanization is accompanied by conflict and intense transformations of various landscapes, and is accompanied by social, economic, and ecological impacts. Evaluating the suitability of urban expansion (UE) and determining an appropriate scale is vital to solving urban environmental issues and realizing sustainable urban development. In mountain areas, the natural and social environments are different from those in the plains; the former is characterized by fragile ecology and proneness to geological disasters. Therefore, when evaluating the expansion of a mountain city, more factors need to be considered. Moreover, we need to follow the principle of harmony between nature and society according to the characteristics of mountain cities. Thus, when we evaluate the expansion of a mountain city, the key procedure is to establish a scientific evaluation system and explore the relationship between each evaluation factor and the urban expansion process. Taking Leshan (LS), China—a typical mountain city in the upper Yangtze River which has undergone rapid growth—as a case study, the logic minimum cumulative resistance (LMCR) model was applied to evaluate the suitability of UE and to simulate its direction and scale. The results revealed that: An evaluation system of resistance factors (ESRFs) was established according to the principle of natural and social harmony; the logic resistance surface (LRS) scientifically integrated multiple resistance factors based on the ESRF and a logic regression analysis. LRS objectively and effectively reflected the contribution and impact of each resistance factor to urban expansion. We found that landscape, geological hazards and GDP have had a great impact on urban expansion in LS. The expansion space of the mountain city is limited; the area of suitable expansion is only 23.5%, while the area which is unsuitable for expansion is 39.3%. In addition, it was found that setting up ecological barriers is an effective way to control unreasonable urban expansion in mountain cities. There is an obvious scale (grid size) effect in the evaluation of urban expansion in mountain cities; an evaluation of the suitable scale yielded the result of 90 m
90 m. On this scale, taking the central district as the center, the urban expansion process will extend to the neighboring towns of Mianzhu, Suji, Juzi and Mouzi. Urban expansion should be controlled in terms of scale, especially in mountain cities. The most suitable urban size of LS is 132 km2
.This would allow for high connectivity of urban-rural areas with the occupation of relatively few green spaces.