In the process of economic urbanization, because of competition among cities, agglomerations and polarization of regional economies are produced. This paper studies the urban polarization with Chinese characteristics and the regional economic urbanization, which include the imbalance under the influence of different geographical factors between the east and west of China and the imbalance under the comprehensive influence of natural and human factors in the province. The urban economic polarization index (UEPI) is constructed to describe the regional imbalance caused by the economic polarization of capital cities in China. The purpose is to explore the polarization of provincial capitals in their respective provinces and to reveal the strength and evolution of their role in the imbalance of economic urbanization. Then, combined with relevant analysis of natural and socio-economic background data, the induced factors and the mechanism of urban polarization are diagnosed. The results show the following: (1) The UEPI can accurately measure the polarization level of provincial capitals through the calculation of typical cities. (2) Based on the UEPI, capital cities can be divided into four categories, which include inapparent, obvious, prominent, and striking. Different cities have different effects on the imbalance in economic urbanization. (3) The main inducing factors of urban polarization are the resource environment, policy system, industrial structure, investment, scientific and technological innovation, location, and extroversion. The policy system is often an important link that integrates and adjusts various factors to form a comprehensive driving mechanism.
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