Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2014, Vol. 0 ›› Issue (6): 751-762.doi: 10.1007/s11769-014-0678-1

• Articles • Previous Articles    

A Comparative Study of Methods for Delineating Sphere of Urban Influence: A Case Study on Central China

WANG Hao1,2, DENG Yu1, TIAN Enze3, WANG Kaiyong1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge 02138, USA
  • Received:2013-01-07 Revised:2013-05-27 Online:2014-09-27 Published:2014-11-10
  • Contact: DENG Yu. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40901088)


A number of urban and regional plans have been developed with the advancement of urbanization and regional integration, among which the delineation of sphere of urban influence and improvement of integration between the city and its hinterland have become vital important for guiding practices. In terms of delineating sphere of urban influence, existing studies have been focused on static study by using single year data or single method, resulting in a lack of time-series longitudinal analysis or comprehensive analysis based on multiple methods. This study emphasizes on comparing two methods from both the theoretical and empirical perspective. Both gravity model and improved field model are applied to the selected study area for measurements and comparison, to explore their strengths and weaknesses. A research framework for comprehensive analysis on delineating sphere of urban influence is proposed. In the end, the differences of delineating methods are illustrated and the feasibility of comprehensive analysis is discussed. Recommendations are provided for selecting appropriate methods for delineating sphere of urban influence or developing regional hierarchy system plans and urban spatial structure schemes.

Key words: gravity model, improved field model, sphere of urban influence, regional planning, central China