Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (2): 290-302.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003330

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Characteristics of the Urban System and Its Influencing Factors in Pakistan

Qi Li1,4(), Ye Dong2, Yungang Liu3()   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2.Business School, Xinjiang Normal University, Urumqi 830054, China
    3.School of Geography, Southern China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    4.CCCC-FHDI Engineering Co. , Ltd. , Guangzhou 510290, China
  • Received:2020-07-23 Revised:2021-01-11 Online:2021-04-27 Published:2021-04-27
  • Contact: Yungang Liu;


Pakistan is a influential country in South Asia and an important fulcrum of "The Belt and Road Initiative." The study of its urban system can promote the understanding of Pakistan and provide references for related cooperation. This paper conducts a more comprehensive empirical analysis of the scale structure, spatial structure, and functional structure characteristics of the urban system, based on existing research and on the census data, natural environment, economic industry, and traffic network and other public data. It uses the analysis methods of the urban system pyramid, Gini coefficient of urban scale and nuclear density analysis, and analyzes the endogenous and exogenous factors of the urban system. The results were as follows: 1) First, regarding scale structure, the overall distribution of the urban scale is relatively concentrated, showing characteristics of both "large urbanization" and "small urbanization." The development of intermediate-level cities is delayed, and the urban population pyramid is roughly shaped as an hourglass. Regarding spatial structure, the urban system of Pakistan embodies the coexistence of differentiation and integration, forming different urban density patterns in the East and the West and a provincial urban system with its own characteristics. However, the spatial structure of towns in the southeast-northwest region shows an integration trend. The eastern region gradually formed the urban agglomeration core areas of Karachi and Lahore, and the urban agglomeration areas of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area, Peshawar, Multan, Sukkur, and Hyderabad, with a "seven"-axis distribution in the southeast-northwest. Regarding the functional structure, there are three national centers, two regional centers, and some important industrial and transportation node cities. 2) The urban system is formed under the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors. Regarding endogenous factors, natural environment factors constitute the basis of urban system evolution; the intensity of the economic industry and spatial agglomeration determine the basic pattern of the urban system. The joint effect of terrain and traffic transforms the space-time distance, resulting in the difference of urban systems between the East and the West. The relatively independent social and administrative factors of each province cause the differentiation of the urban systems in each province. This process is indirectly affected by exogenous factors such as international investment and trade, geopolitics, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. 3) The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will strengthen the motivational force of urbanization in Pakistan, promote the transformation of the "seven" urban development axis into the "two vertical and three horizontal" urban development axis system, and promote the development of western cities. Suggestions for the overall policy of Pakistan's urban system include: (1)promoting the industrialization process, strengthening the power of urbanization, and promoting the development of cities at all levels, especially the intermediate level cities. (2) Further, it proposes strengthening integration development with the world market, promoting the development of cities in the southern coastal areas and the transportation links with inland cities, as well as the development of cities along the line. (3) Finally, it suggests reducing the administrative and social system barriers between provinces, reducing the distance and division of factor flow, and accelerating the process of urban system integration.

Key words: urban system, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, The Belt and Road, Pakistan

CLC Number: 

  • F299.3/.7