Understanding China’s urban system evolution from web search index data
Institute of Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems, School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
2 Beijing Key Lab of Spatial Information Integration and Its Applications, Peking University, Beijing, China
3 National Engineering Research Center of Geographic Information System, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan, China
4 State Key Laboratory of Media Convergence Production Technology and Systems, Beijing, China
Accepted: 10 March 2022
Published online: 28 March 2022
The spatial inequilibrium phenomenon is apparent during China’s rapid urbanization in the past four decades. As the fertility rate decreases and the population ages, this phenomenon will become more critical. To accurately forecast the future economic development of China, it is necessary to quantify the attractiveness of individual cities. This study introduces web search data to quantify the attractiveness of cities with a fine spatial scale (prefecture-level city) and relatively long-term span (nine years). Results confirm that the estimated city attractiveness can unravel a city’s capability to attract labor force, and suggest that tourism and health care functions of a city have a positive effect to the city’s attractiveness. Additionally, China’s north-south gap in economic development has been widened in the past decade, and 11 cities with nationwide influence have prosperous development potential. This study provides a new lens for predicting China’s economic development, as well as its spatial patterns.
Key words: City attractiveness / Spatial inequilibrium / Web search / Gravity model / Particle swarm optimization / China
© The Author(s) 2022
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