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Analysing the consistency between built-up areas and human activities and the impacts on the urbanization process: a case study of Zhengzhou, China

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Urbanisation is accompanied by drastic urban sprawl and populations gathering in cities. The new urban districts in China have gradually become the most effective form of built-up area expansion, but the corresponding human activities within these built-up areas have not increased at the same rate, which has led to the emergence of urbanisation-related problems, such as ghost cities. However, few studies have focused on the evolution of this inconsistency within a city, especially at multiple scales. Based on Landsat images and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Programme-Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) data, our study calculated the barycentre, the agglomeration degree and the consistency index to quantitatively analyse the spatio-temporal consistency between built-up areas and human activities within a city from 1993 to 2013. A mainstream urban example in China, Zhengzhou, which accepted financial and policy support from the government and underwent rapid urbanisation, was chosen as a case study. The results of this study showed that (1) the consistency between built-up areas and human activities was characterised by an approximately S-shaped curve that divided the city’s development into three stages, namely, relative stability (1993–1998), rapid development exhibiting inconsistency (1998–2008) and the optimisation and matching of spatial factors (2008–2013); (2) the inconsistency stage had two diametrically opposed patterns: the increase in human activities lagged behind the expansion of built-up areas, and the opposite occurred in older areas, which resulted in the emergence of ghost cities in new districts and crowded populations in the old cities; and (3) the inconsistency stage occurs easily; thus attention should be paid during the promotion of urbanisation processes in rapidly developing cities such as Zhengzhou; however, as the urban population increases, under economic development and a policy of unceasing expansion, the area of inconsistency was mitigated after 2010. Our findings illustrated the influence of consistency on built-up areas and human activities in terms of coordinated development within cities and provided a better understanding of the urbanisation process in Chinese cities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Smart City Institute, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China 2: School of Water Conservancy and Environment, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, China

Publication date: August 3, 2019

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