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Chinese Small Towns with Distinctive Features: Spatial Layout Patterns and Policy Options(No.3, 2018)


By Sun Xuan, Zhang Xiaohuan & Chen Feng, Institute of Public Administration and Human Resources, DRC

Research report No.3, 2018 (Total 5278) 2018-1-5

Abstract: Small towns with distinctive features are of great importance to China’s industrial transformation and upgrading and the progress of new urbanization drive. Mirroring the current trend of development, the spatial layout patterns of small towns are decisive for incrementing potential economic benefits and advancing sustainable development. Viewing from the two lists issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of PRC, the spatial layout patterns of the small towns are roughly in line with those regions distinguished by relevant economic and social development performance. First, the eastern region leads the development pattern while the central and western regions follow suit. Second, the small towns tend to get clustered in metropolitan areas. Third, distinctive towns in the eastern coastal areas generally boast newly-emerged industries and those in other regions are mainly known for tourist attractions. Based on the analyses of the factors influencing the spatial layout patterns of the small towns with distinctive features, this paper narrows down to several policy options on how to optimize the spatial layout patterns and push ahead with the coordinated development of the urban and rural system in China.

Key words: small towns with distinctive features, spatial layout pattern, coordinated development, new urbanization drive