TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2014, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (5): 591-598.

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Space-Time Analysis of Religious Landscape in China

ZHONG Yexi1,BAO Shuming2,3   

  1. (1.Geography and Environment School//Research Center of Regional Development and Planning,Jiangxi Normal University,Nanchang 330022,China;2.China Data Center,University of Michigan,Ann Arbor 48106,USA;3.East China University of Science and Technology,Shanghai 200237,China)
  • Online:2014-09-30 Published:2014-09-30


The space-time analysis of spatial distribution of religious sites can provide the insightful information about the formation and diffusion mechanism of religious landscapes. As an important part of religious landscapes, religious sites are the focus of religious geography researches. To reveal the law of temporal evolution of Chinese religious landscapes, the methods of mathematical statistics and spatial analysis are used in this paper. Based on the data of religious sites from the economic census in China, this paper analyzed the spatial distribution of Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity in the 342 cities of mainland China, which may reveal the future trends of religious landscapes in China. The results from those analysis show that: 1) All religions have experienced significant growth since 1978; 2) There’s an unbalanced development of religions with significant differences over the space and time in China; 3) Different expansion modes and expansion strategies adopted by different religions, dominated the temporal evolution of the spatial pattern of religion. The spatial structure of the dominated religion changes significantly. 4) Different models of religious development existed in different regions. There are different religious landscapes between the Han areas and ethnic minority areas. The phenomena of over- agglomerate and rapid expansion exist in different religion. Different development modes are also showed in deffernet religion. Those research results from this paper may help a better understanding of the future trends of religious landscape in China and provide the reference for religious policies.

Key words: religious landscape, space-time analysis, China