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Is Urban Sprawl Decoupled from the Quality of Economic Growth? Evidence from Chinese Cities

Xinhai Lu (), Danling Chen () and Yue Wang ()
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Xinhai Lu: Department of Land Management, College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
Danling Chen: Department of Land Management, College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China
Yue Wang: Department of Land Management, College of Public Administration, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan 430073, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 12, issue 1, 1-17

Abstract: This paper investigates how urban sprawl and the quality of economic growth interact and further studies the spatial-temporal decoupling characteristics of both. To achieve this, a framework was developed to better explain both the different dimensional effects urban sprawl exerts on the quality of economic growth and their reverse feedback relation. A sample of 285 Chinese cities (2003 to 2016) were analyzed, employing both a decoupling model and spatial correlation analysis. The findings indicated that urban sprawl and the quality of economic growth are related via scale, structure, technological efficiency, and technological progress effects. In practice, with increasing quality of economic growth, the urban sprawl index decreases at the national level. At prefecture-city level, the types of decoupling between urban sprawl and the quality of economic growth showed clear periodical and unbalanced characteristics. Furthermore, decoupling showed a significant agglomeration effect in Chinese cities, which is mainly mediated by the types High-High and Low-Low. This study provides a significant contribution to the relevant acknowledge system by providing a comprehensive theoretical framework toward an understanding of how urban expansion interacts with the quality of economic growth. Furthermore, their decoupling types and spatial differences that are critical for the urban sustainable development have been identified, thus providing several important insights for both academics and urban policy makers.

Keywords: urban sprawl; quality of economic growth; decoupling; spatial correlation; sustainable development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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