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Journal Article


Song X, Chang KT, Yang L, Scheffran J. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016; 13(6): ePub.


Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg 20144, Germany.


(Copyright © 2016, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Driven by rising income and urban population growth, China has experienced rapid urban expansion since the 1980s. Urbanization can have positive effects on the urban environment; however, improvement of urban environment quality, especially its divergence between relatively developed and undeveloped cities in China, is currently a rather rudimentary and subjective issue. This study analyzed urban environmental benefits among China's prefectural cities based on their structure of urban land use in 2000 and 2010. First, we divided 347 prefectural cities into two groups, 81 coastal and capital cities in the relatively developed group (RD) and 266 other prefectural cities in the undeveloped group (RP). Then, we defined three areas of urban environmental benefits, including green infrastructure, industrial upgrade, and environmental management, and developed an assessment index system.

RESULTS showed that all prefectural cities saw improvement in urban environmental quality in 2000-2010. Although the RD cities had higher income and more population growth, they had less improvement than the RP cities during the same period. We also found that demographic and urban land agglomeration among RD cities restrained green infrastructure expansion, making green infrastructure unsuitable as a permanent solution to environmental improvement. It is therefore urgent for China to promote balanced improvement among the three areas of urban environmental benefits and between the RD and RP cities through regional differentiation policies.

Language: en


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