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The inhabited environment, infrastructure development and advanced urbanization in China’s Yangtze River Delta Region


This paper analyzes the relationship among the inhabited environment, infrastructure development and environmental impacts in China's heavily urbanized Yangtze River Delta region. Using primary human environment data for the period 2006-2014, we examine factors affecting the inhabited environment and infrastructure development: urban population, GDP, built-up area, energy consumption, waste emission, transportation, real estate and urban greenery. Then we empirically investigate the impact of advanced urbanization with consideration of cities' differences. Results from this study show that the growth rate of the inhabited environment and infrastructure development is strongly influenced by regional development structure, functional orientations, traffic network and urban size and form. The effect of advanced urbanization is more significant in large and mid-size cities than huge and mega cities. Energy consumption, waste emission and real estate in large and mid-size cities developed at an unprecedented rate with the rapid increase of economy. However, urban development of huge and mega cities gradually tended to be saturated. The transition development in these cities improved the inhabited environment and ecological protection instead of the urban construction simply. To maintain a sustainable advanced urbanization process, policy implications included urban sprawl control polices, ecological development mechanisms and reforming the economic structure for huge and mega cities, and construct major cross-regional infrastructure, enhance the carrying capacity and improvement of energy efficiency and structure for large and mid-size cities.

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