SCIENTIA GEOGRAPHICA SINICA ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (6): 929-937.doi: 10.13249/j.cnki.sgs.2019.06.008

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Spatial Boundaries and Structural Characteristics of Metropolitan Areas in Northeast China: A Study Using the Data of Expressway Flows

Zhuo Chen1,2,3,Fengjun Jin1,2,Jiao’e Wang1,2()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2018-07-03 Revised:2018-09-10 Online:2019-06-10 Published:2019-06-10
  • Contact: Jiao’e Wang
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771134);Project of Transportation Strategic Planning Policy(2017-14-14)


Spatial boundaries and structural characteristics of metropolitan areas are of great significance for understanding the interactive relationship between cities and regions. Using the data of expressway flows, this paper explored the core-periphery spatial linkages patterns with the indexes of spatial linkages intensity and temporal distance to the central city. On this basis, the spatial boundaries of the metropolitan areas in Northeast China were identified and the characteristics of core-periphery structures were discussed. This article shows that, firstly, the expressway flows of central cities conform to the law of distance attenuation and the Pareto's principle. But the threshold values of different central cities show significant differences, indicating that the agglomerating and radiating effects of the central cities on the surrounding areas have the differences in distance, intensity and direction. Secondly, Shenyang metropolitan area, Changchun metropolitan area, Harbin metropolitan area, and Dalian metropolitan area, where most of the social and economic activities in Northeast China agglomerated, are geographically neighbored. Comparing with Changchun metropolitan area and Harbin metropolitan area, Shenyang metropolitan area and Dalian metropolitan area have a higher density of economic activities and closer spatial linkages, and have integrated as a whole in the urban system network, while the linkages among Shenyang metropolitan area, Changchun metropolitan area and Harbin urban area are relatively loose. Thirdly, under the space of expressway flows, the core-periphery spatial structures of the metropolitan areas show typical characteristics of spatial layers, functional corridors and boundary effect, which have a great impact on the regional economic organization. In future, the development of the metropolitan areas in the Northeast China should focus on solving the restrictive effect of the administrative boundary, promoting the organic combination of the metropolitan areas around Harbin-Dalian axis, and finally forming a regional cooperation system in the form of urban agglomeration or megalopolis.

Key words: metropolitan areas, delimitation, core-periphery structures, expressway flows, Northeast China

CLC Number: 

  • F129.9