Swelling cities? Detecting China's urban land transition based on time series data




Pan, Wei
Wang, Jing
Lu, Zhi
Li, Yurui

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It is common to see urban land expansion worldwide, and its characteristics, mechanisms, and effects are widely known. As socio-economic transition and the change of land use policies may reverse the trend of urban expansion, in-depth research on the process of urban land use change is required. Through a process perspective, this paper reveals the change paths, development stages, and spatial patterns of urban residential land use with data from 323 cities in China from 2009 to 2016. The results show that: (1) theoretically, urban residential land use change can be divided into four development stages: an initial stage (I), a rapid development stage (II), a transition stage (III), and a later stage of transition (IV). The rate of land use change is low—increase—decrease—approaching zero. (2) In about 68.7% of China’s cities, urban residential land is experiencing a transition, shifting from accelerating growth to decelerating growth. Given the distinctive transition process, it has been suggested that urban planning and land use policies should give timely responses to the new trends and spatial differences.



urban residential land management, time series analysis, nonlinear change, land use transition, sustainable urban development


Pan, W., Wang, J., Lu, Z., & Li, Y. (2023). “Swelling cities? Detecting China’s urban land transition based on time series data.” Land, 12(1), 262. https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010262