Urbanization patterns of China's cities in 1990-2010

He Li, Shichen Zhao, Daqiang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study attempts to describe the urbanization patterns of China's cities during the period 1990-2010. Firstly, we selected eight most telling indicators of urbanization for 218 cities from the China City Statistic Yearbook 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011; secondly, we adopted Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to extract three comprehensive indicators from the sample database. They are: Potential Capacity for Expansion of Tertiary Industry (PCETI), the Degree of Urban Commercialization (DUC) and the Potential Capacity for Population Growth (PCPG); thirdly, these three comprehensive indicators were used to classify the 218 cities in 2010 into four groups by Cluster Analysis; fourthly, the same 218 cities in 1990 were classified into those four groups by Discriminant Analysis-Group 1: medium PCETI, remarkable DUC and limited PCPG. Group 2: medium PCETI, limited DUC and limited PCPG. Group 3: limited PCETI, medium DUC and medium PCPG. Group 4: remarkable PCETI, limited DUC and remarkable PCPG. On the basis of the cities' transition over 20 years and changes of three comprehensive indicators' levels, we determine ten urbanization patterns. The research could be useful and constructive for rethinking China's urbanization and new stages of development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Review for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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