Tropical Geography


The Formation and Evolution of Metropolitan Core-City Relationships in the Greater Bay Area from the Perspective of Civilization Interaction

Yang Chen(), Xiangming Ma(), Weibin Jia   

  1. Guangdong Urban-Rural Planning and Design Research Institute Technology Group Co. , Ltd, Guangzhou 510290, China
  • Received:2023-09-13 Revised:2023-11-28 Online:2023-12-07
  • Contact: Xiangming Ma;


City regions, as the most significant geographical consequence of globalization, have received constant attention by economic geographers. However, although mainstream theories such as the Global Production Network (GPN) theory explain the emergence of global urban areas well, there remains a lack of strong explanation for the obvious functional heterogeneity phenomenon of major cities within the Guangdong Hong Kong Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA). This study draws on the structuralist thinking method and introduces the perspective of civilization interaction, examining the historical reasons for the functional differentiation of core cities in different historical periods dominated by trade and production networks to explore the mechanism of forming a unique spatial order within the GBA. From the macro perspective of the formation of the world system and the transfer of China's basic economic zone, this study highlights that the development history of the GBA reflects the history of continuous interaction between continental and marine civilizations, which is finally embedded in the world system. Based on the evolution of the major city relations in the GBA, this study investigates the core-city relations across different periods—from the classical trade network era to the global production network era—and analyzes the formation mechanism of core-city relations in different periods. By analyzing the changes in the way civilizations interact in the era of innovation, the study looks forward to the direction of future spatial paradigm transformation in the GBA and posits that the Inner Bay Area may play a leading role. By expanding the dimension of historical observation, the study enriches the perspective of research on the global city regions and the GBA by combining the civilization interaction and the structuralist transformation characteristics with the analysis of the internal order of urban areas. Owing to the continuity and comparability of the interaction of civilizations, this study is able to apply the conclusions of the analysis of the relationships and spatial order of major cities across past historical stages to the new stage dominated by innovation for the future, as well as providing theoretical assistance for the analysis of regional development trends and formulating response plans.

Key words: civilization interaction, metropolitan core-city relationship, spatial order, trade networks, global production networks, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area