Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30526
Driving Mechanism of Urban Sprawl in Chinese Context from the Perspective of Domestic and Overseas Comparison

Authors: Tingke Wu, Yaping Huang


Many cities in China have been experiencing serious urban sprawl since the 1980s, which pose great challenges to a country with scare cultivated land and huge population. Because of different social and economic context and development stage, driving forces of urban sprawl in China are quite different from developed countries. Therefore, it is of great importance to probe into urban sprawl driving mechanism in Chinese context. By a comparison study of the background and features of urban sprawl between China and developed countries, this research establishes an analytical framework for sprawl dynamic mechanism in China. By literature review and analyzing data from national statistical yearbook, it then probes into the driving mechanism and the primary cause of urban sprawl. The results suggest that population increase, economic growth, traffic and information technology development lead to rapid expansion of urban space; defects of land institution and lack of effective guidance give rise to low efficiency of urban land use. Moreover, urban sprawl is ultimately attributed to imperfections of policy and institution. On this basis, this research puts forward several sprawl control strategies in Chinese context.

Keywords: urban sprawl, China, Urban Expansion, driving forces, driving mechanism, land institution

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 331


[1] Whyte W H Jr. The Exploding Metropolis (M). New York: Doubleday Archor Books, 1958.
[2] Dieleman F, Wegener M. Compact city and urban sprawl (J). Built Environment, 2004, 30(04): 308-323.
[3] Couch C, Karecha J. Controlling urban sprawl: Some experiences from Liverpool (J). Cities, 2006, 23(05):353-363.
[4] Fang Jiang, Shenghe Liu, Hong Yuan. Measuring urban sprawl in Beijing with geo-spatial indices (J). Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2007, 62(06):649-658.
[5] Linlin Zhang, Wenze Yue, Beilei Fan. Measuring Urban Sprawl in Large Chinese Cities: A Case Study of Hangzhou (J). Scientia Geographica Sinica, 2014, 34(04): 394-400.
[6] Shijian Hong, Jingxiang Zhang. Study on Definition and Measurement on Urban Sprawl: A Case Study of Yangtze River Delta Region (J). City Planning Review, 2013(07): 42-45.
[7] Newman, P. G., & Kenworthy, J. R. 1989. Cities and automobile dependence: An international sourcebook.
[8] Harvey, R. O. & Clark, W. A. V. 1965. The nature and economics of urban sprawl. Land Economics, pp. 1-9.
[9] Carruthers, J. I. 2002. The impacts of state growth management programmes: a comparative analysis. Urban Studies, 39, pp. 1959-1982.
[10] Breheny, M. 2000. Centralists, Decentralists and Compromisers. In Burton, E., Jenks, M. & Williams, K. 2003. The compact city: a sustainable urban form? (pp. 13-35), Routledge.
[11] Brueckner, J K & Fansler, D A. The economics of urban sprawl: theory and evidence on the spatial sizes of cities (J). Review of Economics and Statistics, 1983, (65):479-482.
[12] Clawson, M. 1962. Urban sprawl and speculation in suburban land. Land economics, pp. 99-111.
[13] Mills, D. E. 1981. Growth, speculation and sprawl in a monocentric city. Journal of Urban Economics, 10(2), pp. 201-226.
[14] Archer, R. W. 1973. Land speculation and scattered development; failures in the urban-fringe land market. Urban Studies, 10(3), pp. 367-372.
[15] Fischel, W A. A property rights approach to municipal zoning (J). Land Economics, 1978, 54:64-81.
[16] Peng Chen. Research on the Formation and Control of China's Urban Sprawl from the View point of Land Institution (J). Planners, 2007, 23(03): 76-78.
[17] Jianhua Chen. Analysis on the causes of urban sprawl in China (J). Modern Economic Research, 2009(4):76-79.
[18] Xiaojun Huang, Chenggu Li, Xin Huang. The Mechanism and Regulation Pathway of Urban Sprawl of Changchun (J). Progress in Geography, 2009(01): 76-84.
[19] Fang Liu. A Study on the Characteristics and Causes for Urban Sprawl in Beijing (D). Beijing: Beijing Transportation University, 2010.
[20] Pingjun Sun, Xiaoping Feng, Hong Sun, et al. Comparative analysis of characteristics, effects and driving factors of urban sprawl in Changchun-Jilin during 2000-2009 (J). Progress in Geography, 2013, 32(03): 381-388.
[21] Jianzhong Su, Qingquan Wei, Hengliang Guo. The Mechanism and Adjustment of Urban Sprawl of Guangzhou (J). Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006, 60(04): 626-636.
[22] Jiating Wang, Denglan Zhang, Zhe Sun. Has the Private Car Consumption Intensified Urban Sprawl? Evidence from the Prefecture-level City (J).Economic Review, 2015(6):108-117.
[23] Taotao Deng, Dandan Wang. Has China’s High Speed Railway Construction Aggravated “Urban Sprawl”? An Empirical Evidence from Prefecture-Level Cities (J). Journal of Finance and Economics, 2018, 44(10): 125-137.
[24] Ruichao Liu, Dongjing Chen, Lan Lu. The impact of land finance on urban sprawl (J). Urban Issues, 2018(5).
[25] Yu L. A sustainable development form for metropolises in China: a case study of Beijing (J). International Development Planning Review, 2007, 29(04): 451-473.
[26] Yang, J., Shen, Q., Shen, J. & He, C. 2012. Transport impacts of clustered development in Beijing: Compact development versus overconcentration. Urban Studies, 49, pp. 1315-1331.
[27] Zhang T W. Land market forces and government's role in sprawl: The case of China (J). Cities, 2000, 17(02): 123-135.
[28] Meihua Tang. A Research to the Mechanism and Adjustment Methods of Urban Sprawl of Chengdu (D). Chengdu: Southwest Transportation University.
[29] Qinqin Dong, Dazhuan Ge, Xiaowei Wang, et al. Research on Urban Sprawl characteristics and evolution mechanism of Wuhan (J). Modern Business Trade Industry, 2014, 26(09): 45-47.
[30] National bureau of statistics of the People's Republic of China. China Statistical Yearbook 2007-2016(M). Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2007-2016.
[31] Miaoxi Zhao, Shifu Wang, Luying Li. Spatial Strategy for Information Society: Rethinking Smart City (J). City Planning Review, 2014(01): 91-96.
[32] Shiliang Jiang. Research on the evolvement of urban spatial structure in the information era and the elicitation for urban planning (C). International conference on urban development and planning 2010. Beijing: Chinese city press, 2010: 152-157.
[33] Weiwei Fang. The Information Technology and the Urban Spatial Restructure (J). Urban Studies, 2006, 13(01):30-33.
[34] The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. Land Management Law of the People's Republic of China. 1988.
[35] Shijian Hong, Jingxiang Zhang. China’s Urban Spatial Growth based on the Reform of Land Use System: A Theoretical Framework (J). Urban Planning Forum, 2009(03): 89-94.
[36] The State Council of the People's Republic of China. Chinese development zone audit notice catalogue. 2018.
[37] Jingqi Zhang, Ping Sun, Rui Sun. Exploration on Urban Sprawl Reason and Rational Urban Sprawl in China (J). City Planning Review, 2014, 38(07): 31-36.
[38] Xianchun Zhang, Qiaoyu Xiang, Yuzhang, et al. Urban Sprawl Study Review and Prospect in China (J). Planners, 2014(09):76-81.