The 4th International Conference on Population Geographies
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
10-13 July 2007
Yangtze Delta Region: urbanization
development and megalopolis
The Centre of Chinese Modern City Studies
East China Normal University
• The rapid globalizing of world’s production and
trade has helped to accelerate the division
progress of labor on the world scale over the
• The forming and continuous adjustment in labor
division process at a global scale makes the
crowds, logistics, capital and information flows
and return more frequently among cities, thus
facilitates the urbanization progress, and
contributes to the changes of the urban spatial
configuration and regional urban system. New
urban spatial organization is taking shape and
displays a new pattern.
• French geographer Jean.Gottman (1976)
proposed the concept of megalopolis.
• According to the characteristics of Chinese
urbanization, Chinese scholar Zhou Yixing (1988)
Interlocking Region, abbreviated as MIR.
• American scholar A. Scott (2001) also put
forward the concept of global city-region .
• These concepts reflect the emergence of megacities which has become a prominent
characteristic of world urbanization nowadays.
• As one of the important coastal development
regions in China, the Yangtze Delta region has
become the nation’s most urbanized area and
• By 2005 the Yangtze Delta region with 1 percent
of the nation’s land and 6 percent of total
population, it produced 18.6 percent of national
gross domestic product (GDP) and absorbed
43.5percent of the nation’s total utilized foreign
direct investment capital, its per capita GDP was
3.44 times of the national average.
• In fact, the Yangtze Delta region has already
become the nation’s most prosperous region in
both the levels of urbanization and economic
division of the
2. The main characteristics of the
urbanization progress in the Yangtze Delta
2.1 A High level of urbanization
• With Shanghai being the center of the region,
the Yangtze Delta consists of more than 80
cities, counties and city districts. As the nation’s
highly developed and most populous region, the
Yangtze Delta covers an area of 110,000km2
and has a total population of 87,430,000 (in
• The “5th Census” in 2000 revealed the urbanization
level of Yangtze Delta reached to 52.63% (45 mill.
Urban population ), which higher than the average
level of whole country (36.09%) and reached to the
level of middle-income countries.
2.2 Fast urbanization development
Comparing “the 3rd Census” conducted in
1982 and “the 5th Census “in 2000, the
national urbanization level rose from 20.55%
of 1982 to 36.09% of 2000, a 15.54
percentage growth in 18 years. For the
Yangtze Delta area, the level of urbanization
increased from 25.9% in 1982to 52.6% in
2000, a big difference of 26.7% in 18 year,
almost doubling the national speed of
2.3 A uneven pattern of urbanization
versus imbalance among different regions
• The Yangtze Delta exists a development
uneven of urbanization.
• Firstly, there exists the regional gap of
urbanization level. Some large cities, such as
Shanghai and Nanjing, had an over 70%
urbanization ratio, while, some small cities
had only below 40% urbanization ratio.
in the Yangtze
Delta by 16
Spatial pattern of
urbanization in the
Yangtze Delta by
• Secondly, there exists the gap of growth speed.
From 1982 to 2000, there were 10 cities whose
urbanization level rose more than 30
percentiles. For the cities with a higher
urbanization level and greater population,
such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing, etc.
however, the urbanization level rose fewer
than 30 percentiles.
2.4 Floating population is main source of
new urban population
One of the basic concepts of the
urbanization is the population's urbanization.
The family planning policy of one-child in China
has been carrying out in the urban areas since
1980s. This policy makes the natural growth rate
of population in urban areas drop rapidly, and
some cities have already realized population's
negative growth. In this case, the floating
population from rural areas is the main source of
growth of urban population.
• According to the data of 5th census,
Shanghai had 4,360,000 immigrants of intercounties and inter- provinces, accounted for
26% of the total population. Among them, the
floating population come from other provinces
reached 3.1 mill.
• In addition, some big cities such as Nanjing,
Wuxi, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Changzhou,
Ningbo etc. , floating population exceeded
10% of total population.
• In general, more developed cities attract
more floating population.
2.5 The hierarchical feature of urban
• The pattern of urban size system in the Yangtze
Delta appears obvious pyramid type. As the only
mega-city, Shanghai has become the biggest city
in China's Mainland and development pole of the
• It is also obvious for Nanjing and Hangzhou as
provincial capitals to be the secondary leader's
status in the Yangtze Delta.
• Relying on the rapid growth of economy, Suzhou,
Wuxi and Ningbo etc. play an important role of
economic centers within the Yangtze Delta.
The system of city size in the
2 – 5 mill.
1 - 2 mill.
0.5 – 1 mill.
0.2 – 0.5 mill.
0.1 - 0.2 mill.
large cities with
3. Principal component analysis of the
urbanization process in the Yangtze Delta
• 9 initial indexes are chosen.
• X1 is location conditions of each city.
• Shanghai, as the economy center in China
and the biggest communication hub to the
world, is the central city in this region
undoubtedly. So, the paper use the
distance of each city to Shanghai to
appraise the location conditions of each
X2 ; population density;
X3; per capita GDP,
X4: per capita industrial output ;
X5: per capita investment in fixed
• X6: per capita absorbed FDI;
• X7 : per capita total export value ( to
reflect the impact of the exportoriented economy on urbanization
• In addition, the proportion of GDP of the urban
districts accounted for the whole city-region ( X8 )
and the proportion of non-agricultural population
of the urban districts accounted for total
population ( X9 ) are chosen so as to reflect the
impact of centralization of the central city on
local urbanization development .
• Carrying on principal composition analysis, 2
principal compositions are drawn out. These
two principal factors can explain 84.8% of the
variables, having higher convincingness.
• In the first principal composition, X1 location
conditions, X3 per capita GDP , X4 per capita
industrial output, X5 per capita investment in
fixed assets , X6 per capita FDI, X7 per capita
total export have higher loads. The characteristic
value is 4.684.
• Among them, location conditions are obvious
negative correlated; other economic
development index and opening development
index are obvious positive correlated.
• This indicates urbanization development is
negative to the distance of each city to Shanghai
and positive to economic development. So, the
first principal composition is named as the
economic development and location factor.
• The characteristic value of the second
principal composition is 2.954. Two
variables of X8 and X9 have obvious high
load. X2 possesses relatively weak load.
• its meaning is that urbanization level have
positive correlation with centralization
capability of central city and population
density. So, it’s named as the
centralization factor of central city.
4. Spatial Restructuring Of The Yangtze
• Today, as the globalizing of world economies
progresses, international competition is
characterized by fierce competition among cities
and metropolitan areas.
• The 11th “five-year” plan for the social and
economic development of China ( 2006-2010 )
has been made. For the first time, this plan
considers to make the trans-provincial regional
plan, including the planning of the Yangtze Delta,
so as to reinforce the competitiveness and
• The planning is a comprehensive plan, including
social and economic development, construction
of infrastructure, and environment protection.
• Through the construction of transportation
infrastructure, the Yangtze Delta has
already formed comprehensive
transportation system with different kinds
of way, such as freeways network, river
transport, railway, aviation, and pipeline,
etc. Especially, the operation of Yangshan
deep water harbor in Hangzhou Bay
indicates that Shanghai has founded the
base towards to the international shipping
• In the future, some new transportation
infrastructures will be constructed:
• 1. Shanghai – Nanjing – Beijing high
• 2. Shanghai – Hangzhou Maglev raiway,
• 3. Intercity railways network,
• 4. The second and third phase projects of
Yangshan deep water harbour ( the
capacity of container handled will reach 30
• 5. Shanghai International Aviation Hub
served for west Pacific area.
• 6. Two great channels.
• The Hangzhou Bay channel connecting
from Shanghai to Ningbo.
• The Shanghai—Chongming --Jiangsu
channel connecting Shanghai, Chongming
island and north Jiangsu province.
• this will form a coastal great channel, and
greatly strengthen the connection of
Shanghai with peripheral cities in the
south wing and north wing of the Yangtze
The urban network of the Yangtze River Delta
Megalopolis by railways and expressways
Under the guidence of the spatial strategy, the
megalopolis will step forward to form a grand,
integrative, opening frame of three spatial layers:
The whole of the Yangtze Delta Megalopolis
and Three metropolitan regions.
Shanghai metropolitan region
Nanjing metropolitan region
Hangzhou-Ningbo metropolitan region
• The inner layer is the golden growth
triangle consisted of Shanghai, Suzhou,
Wuxi and Jiaxing. It is also the core area
of Shanghai metropolitan region that
includes Changzhou, Nantong of Jiangsu
and Huzhou of Zhejiang；
• The second layer extends to Nanjing and
Hangzhou, forming the Shanghai-Nanjing--Hangzhou growth triangle.
• The third layer is the fringe areas of the
Yangtze Delta megalopolis; its periphery
even can extend to the northern Jiangsu
province, the southern Zhejiang province
and the eastern Anhui province.
• Nanjing forms an independent metropolitan
regions for its position as provincial capital and
strong economic strength. Nanjing metropolitan
region mainly includes Nanjing, Zhenjiang,
Yangzhou, and Ma’anshan, Chuzhou, Wuhu of
Anhui Province; its influence area includes
Changzhou, Taizhou, etc.
• Both Hangzhou and Ningbo forms the third
metropolitan region, and it includes four main
cities of Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Ningbo,
Zhoushan; its influence area includes Jiaxing,
Huzhou, Taizhou, etc.
• IN the future, the Yangtze Delta will work for a
spatial structure characterized by networks,
symmetry and multiple centers.