GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH ›› 2011, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (8): 1499-1507.doi: 10.11821/yj2011080015

• Urban and Rural Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Urbanization rate and its policy implications: Discussion and development of Northam's curve

CHEN Ming-xing1,2, YE Chao3, ZHOU Yi4   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. College of Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210046, China;
    4. Insititue for Earth Systern Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210098, China
  • Received:2010-11-29 Revised:2011-03-21 Online:2011-08-20 Published:2011-08-20

Abstract: Northam's curve of urbanization shaping "S" is one of the most important classical theories in urban geography. For common misreading about Northam's curve, this paper compiled original theory contents. The results indicated that the urbanization level can not reach 100% in all the countries; and the urbanization process between 30% and 70% is not always in a state of acceleration. Urbanization rate curve was put forward, which is shaped by an inverted "U". The evolution of urbanization rate was identified into four stages: embryonic stage, acceleration stage, deceleration stage, approaches zero stage. In different stages the changes have different characteristics. There are five important inspirations for policies: first, the urbanization rate of change has its laws, and cannot pluck up a crop to help it grow; second, China has crossed the turning point, "accelerated urbanization" should not be the main theme of the national long-term development strategy; third, China should maintain the steady development orientation for urbanization; fourth, China's urban concept and focus should be in transition; fifth, urbanization, inclusive growth, coordinating urban-rural development, as well as migrant labors becoming city and town dwellers are the primary targets during "the 12th Five-Year Plan" period.

Key words: urbanization, Northam's curve, inverted "U"-shaped rate curve, policy implications