SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 52-60.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2019.01.006

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Change in the Negative Externality of the Shrinking Cities in China

Yuanyuan Guo1,Li Li2()   

  1. 1. Department of Geography and Resource Management, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    2. School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2017-11-05 Revised:2018-06-05 Online:2019-01-10 Published:2019-01-10
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41701139)


Along with the aging and migration of population, deindustrialization and economic crises, the beginning of 21th Century there has witnessed a phenomenon of urban shrinkage across China, which is quite common for industrial and resource-based cities. The shrinkage caused a negative impact on social, environment and economic aspects so that it has gradually been a concerned topic for the future development of Chinese cities. As one of the major challenges that China are faced during the process of new-type urbanization, rather than highlighting urban growth, the smart urban shrinkage could be a possible way for shrinking cities to step into a sustainable way. The purpose of this article is to measure the urban negative externality and evaluate the impact of shrinkage on the change of such externality. With the usage of population data of all prefecture-level cities(Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are excluded) in 2003 and 2014, this article identified the types of urban shrinkage through analyzing the population changes of municipal district and non-municipal district separately, as well as their difference during this period. Furthermore, a comprehensive index system has been built up to measure the negative externality of all prefecture-level cities. The index system includes aspects of estate price, urban environment, transportation, education, health and employment. By applying the method of principal component analysis (PCA), a synthesis score was calculated, followed by revealing the change direction of urban externality for each type of shrinking and potential shrinking cities. The results of the study are listed as follows: 1) urban development across China is still centered on urban growth, and the shrinkage and potential shrinkage are not very popular. Shrinking cities are mainly distributed in Northeast China (i.e. Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning) and part of Northwest China (i.e. the south of Gansu). However, potential shrinking cities tend to gather in Central China, including Henan and Hunan (two populous provinces), as well as in some inland provinces (i.e. Guangxi and Guizhou); 2) the urban negative externality of shrinking cities will exacerbate as their population increase, and the type of sheer shrinking cities is most remarkably reflected, followed by the type of dispersive ones. But in terms of suburbanized shrinking cities, the change of urban negative externality shows a bi-directional characteristic, namely the externality of part of these cities increase while others decrease equally in number; 3) an exacerbated urban negative externality with different degrees occurs on most potential shrinking cities, and they are mainly located in Hunan and Henan, two provinces in Central China. As for the urban shrinkage, which is not widespread across the whole country, the government should pay much attention on shrinking and potential shrinking cities. Implementing efficient and appropriate policies (i.e. economic restructuring, industrial upgrading, innovation encouragement) is imperative to make the shrinkage to be smart and maximize urban utility during the shrinking process.

Key words: shrinking city, municipal district, negative externality, smart shrinkage

CLC Number: 

  • F129.9