TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 29-36.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003103

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Shrinkage under Urban Growth: A Case Study of Wuhan City

Gao Zhea,b, Yin Ningweib, Tong Xinyib, Li Dongxinb and Gu Jianga,b   

  1. (a. Key Laboratory for Geographical Process Analysis & Simulation; b. The College of Urban & Environmental Sciences, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China)
  • Received:2018-10-10 Revised:2018-12-10 Online:2019-01-05 Published:2019-01-05


Unlike large-scale shrinkage that prevails in an economic recession, “shrinkage under growth” is a new phenomenon in China’s urban development in recent years. Since 2000, Wuhan has shown a pattern of co-occurrence of growth and shrinkage in population and is regarded as a good sample for investigation. Thus, this paper first comprehensively examines the whole picture of growth and shrinkage in Wuhan from three dimensions: population, economy, and land use; then, it quantitatively describes its features and spatial patterns by using data from the county and street levels. The paper finds that 1) from 2000 to 2016, 116 of the 156 streets with complete data statistics showed growth in their population, among which 64 streets grew by more than 30%. Forty of the 156 streets showed a decline in population, and 29 have decreased by more than 10%. 2) The streets with rapid population growth were concentrated in the boundary areas between the inner city and the new city, where new urban residential land was supplied in large quantities. 3) The local shrinkage that was observed in the four areas-Qingshan District, Qiaokou District, Hanyang District, and Caidian District-was agglomerated in space and morphologically “perforated.” Using Qingshan District as a case study, it was found that the area presented a spatial pattern of [growth in the east, shrinkage in the central region, and parallelism in the west]. The paper then explored the internal mechanism of the local shrinkage from the perspective of “capital.” It is believed that there is a trend of aging and minority birth, but the main cause of local shrinkage is the “escape” of capital from the industrial sector. Subsequent research can focus on the following three aspects: the identification of “shrinkage under growth”; the in-depth discussion of the internal mechanism of “shrinkage under growth”; and judgments on whether shrinkage was a short-term phenomenon or a long-term trend.

Key words: Wuhan, city shrinkage, potential shrinkage, population structure, capital cycle