GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (5): 898-909.doi: 10.11821/dlyj201805004

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Measuring spatial expansion and correlations of cities in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration using DMSP/OLS nighttime light data

Xin CHEN(), Jian PENG(), Yanxu LIU, Yunqian CHEN, Tianyi LI   

  1. Ministry of Education, Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2017-12-01 Revised:2018-03-06 Online:2018-05-20 Published:2018-06-26
  • About author:

    Author: Shi Zhenqin (1988-), PhD, specialized in regional development and land space management in mountain areas. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Deng Wei (1957-), Professor, specialized in mountain environment and regional development.



The study of spatial correlation of cities in Urban Agglomeration can provide a theoretical foundation for the structural optimization of Urban Agglomeration system. However, how to get rid of the statistical constraints of administrative unit has been regarded as one of the key difficulties in correlation quantification. This study took Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration as a case study area, and the comprehensive strength of the city was assessed using DMSP/OLS nighttime light data. And spatial correlation intensity of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration during 1993-2013 was measured with the application of gravity model. In addition, the spatio-temporal variation tendency of social-economic location index was analyzed. The results showed that, the development of cities in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration was unbalanced, and the spatial correlation intensity of the cities of Beijing and Tianjin was 3-5 times that of Langfang city, the third one in the uban agglomeration. The spatial correlation intensity of Baoding city was ranked the fourth, and its social-economic location index showed an increasing tendency. In addition to the cities of Langfang, Baoding and Chengde, the socio-economic location index showed a downward trend for the rest of the cities of Hebei province, which indicated that the polarization phenomenon had been intensified in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration. The spatial correlation measurement based on DMSP/OLS nighttime light data focused on the main urban area, which could provide quantitative decision guidance for the integration of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei.

Key words: gravity model, spatial correlation, social-economic location index, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration