Tropical Geography ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (3): 431-443.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003429

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Identification of Spatial Development Types of Inter-City Border Towns in Guangdong Province, China

Kaihuai Liao(), Shuhui Chen()   

  1. School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510060, China
  • Received:2021-04-06 Revised:2021-06-08 Online:2022-03-05 Published:2022-03-21
  • Contact: Shuhui Chen;


The identification of spatial development types of border areas is one of the research hotspots in human-economic geography. Current studies mostly focus on border areas affected by provincial boundaries, and limited studies have explored the spatial structure and development types of border towns affected by inter-city boundaries. Based on multiple types of data, such as China County Statistical Yearbook (villages and towns volume) and 1-kilometer grid GDP dataset of China, this study used quantitative methods of factor analysis, Moran's I, and GIS grouping analysis to explore the spatial development types of inter-city border towns in Guangdong Province. A total of 564 inter-city border towns were chosen for the study. The results show that: (1) the spatial structure of the inter-city border towns in Guangdong Province comprises five principal component factors: public service facilities and tourism resources, enterprises and population agglomeration, ecological background resources, people's living standards, and margin and poverty. Different principal component factors have different spatial correlation coefficients. The factors of ecological background resources and enterprises and population agglomeration have the strongest spatial autocorrelations, while the margin and poverty factor has the weakest spatial autocorrelation. (2) The spatial distribution pattern of the ecological background resources factor is consistent with the topographic distribution, indicating a trend of agglomeration in the plains of the Pearl River Delta, Chaozhou-Jieyang-Shantou area, and Zhanjiang-Maoming junction area. The spatial distribution pattern of the enterprises and population agglomeration factor shows a gradually decreasing distribution from the Pearl River Delta to eastern, western, and northern Guangdong. The spatial distribution pattern of the margin and poverty factor shows the characteristics of "small aggregation and large dispersion" outside the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province. (3) According to the strengths and weaknesses of the town and level of development, there are seven types of spatial development of inter-city border towns: strong development towns with a high standard of living, with industry and population agglomeration, with industry and public service support, with a lagging development in public service, and general towns with ecological development, ecological and tourism development, and remote and mountainous weak development towns. There is significant spatial heterogeneity between the different types of border towns. The inter-city border towns in Guangdong Province have outstanding characteristics of "core-periphery" from the perspective of the development level, and the barrier effect of the inter-city border is significant between the inside and outside of the Pearl River Delta. (4) The spatial heterogeneity of Guangdong's inter-city border towns can be attributed to five major factors: natural resource endowment and location, socio-economic development level and industrial structure, historical evolution, government policies and cultural differences. The research results can provide scientific support for countering the barrier effect of inter-city borders and formulating classification guidelines and policy measures for the development of border towns.

Key words: Inter-city border towns, spatial structure, development types, GIS grouping analysis, Guangdong Province

CLC Number: 

  • K901