GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 1257-1268.doi: 10.11821/yj2010070011

• Urban and Rural Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Study on structure of urban system in China from the angles of distance between cities and city population size

WANG Mao-jun1, CAO Guang-zhong2, ZHAO Qun-yi3, YANG Xue-chun1   

  1. 1. College of Resources &|Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China;
    2. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University,Beijing 100871, China;
    3. China Academy of Urban Planning &|Design, Beijing 100044, China
  • Received:2009-08-12 Revised:2009-12-06 Online:2010-07-20 Published:2010-07-20


Urban population size is an important object of study in the field of urban system. The population size and its hierarchy of a certain city in the urban system may be affected by other cities around it and the distance between them, while the influencing factors are ignored in some traditional theories of urban development such as base/non-base economic theory. Using the city population (Shi Ren Kou) in the fifth census as the index of city population size and the railway transportation distance as the index of distance among cities, this paper verified that the city population size can be explained efficiently by the distance among cities in the urban system in China, North China and South China. It also explored the quantitive relationship between the population size of a certain city i (Pi ) and other factors including the population size of the nearest city n(Pn) and the distance between i and n(Din), the population size of the primary city s (Ps) and the distance between i and s (Dis), the population size of the regional central city c(Pc) and the distance between i and c (Dic). The result indicates that, 1) in the whole urban system in China, Pi can be explained by Pn,Din and Dic , while Pn and Din have a positive influence on Pi and Dic has a negative influence, and Pn is the most important influencing factor, followed by Din and Dic; 2) in the urban system of North China, Pn, Din and Dic have positive influences and Din is the most important influencing factor, followed by Pn and Dic; 3) in the urban system in South China, the factors and their influences are the same as those in the urban system in China, 4) the quantitative relationship between Din and ordinal number R of city n in the urban system is the same as that between city population size and its ordinal number.

Key words: city population size, distance between cities, nearest city, urban system