Analysis on Decoupling between Urbanization Level and Urbanization Quality in China
After the first industrial revolution, urbanization level worldwide has increased rapidly. As the largest developing country in the world, China has witnessed a rapid improvement in its urbanization level in recent years. Nevertheless, the quality of urbanization has not been improved simultaneously. The relationship between the level and the quality of urbanization has thus become a hot topic for researchers. By introducing the concept and model of decoupling in the field of resources and
... resources and environment into the analysis of urbanization level and quality, this study evaluated the relationship between urbanization level and urbanization quality of 285 prefecture-level cities in China from 2005 to 2014. It was found that: (1) The urbanization level and urbanization quality in China are unbalanced because the former is growing in a faster rate than the latter. The average urbanization level of China has increased by 27.40% from 42.99% in 2005 to 54.77% in 2014, while the increase of urbanization quality, however, is much slower with only 11.21% for the same period. It can be concluded that China has paid more attention to urbanization level than urbanization quality. (2) From 2005 to 2014, the relationship between China's urbanization level and quality showed a total of eight decoupling states, of which the main ones were strong negative decoupling (non-ideal state) and growth negative decoupling (close to ideal state), accounting for 38.32% and 33.49% of the total number of samples in China, respectively. (3) The change of urbanization level and urbanization quality in China can be divided into two stages: for the first stage from 2005 to 2010, with rapid improvement in urbanization level, and the other from 2011 to 2014, with rapid improvement in urbanization quality. (4) Spatially, the areas with significant decoupling between urbanization level and urbanization quality are mainly distributed in underdeveloped areas such as the west; and the decoupling presents the spatial pattern of the highest in the west, the second in the middle, and the lowest in the east.