Journal of Geographical Sciences

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 739–755 | Cite as

An economic tie network-structure analysis of urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of Changjiang River based on SNA

  • Qian Sun
  • Fanghua TangEmail author
  • Yong Tang


Due to its great strategic significance in integrating regional coordinated development and enhancing the rise of Central China, urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of Changjiang (Yangtze) River has attracted much attention from both theoretical and practical aspects. Such research into the area’s economic network structure is beneficial for the formation of an urban- and regional-development strategy. This paper constructs an economic tie model based on a modified gravitation model. Subsequently, referring to social network analysis, the paper empirically studies the network density, network centrality, subgroups and structural holes of the middle reaches of Changjiang River’s urban agglomeration economic network. The findings are fourfold: (1) an economic network of urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of Changjiang River has been formed, and economic ties between the cities in this network are comparatively dense; (2) the urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of Changjiang River can be divided into four significant subgroups, with each subgroup having its own obvious economic communications, while there is less economic-behavioral heterogeneity among subgroups — this is especially true for the two subgroups that exist in the Poyang Lake Ecological Economic Zone; (3) an economy pattern driven by the central cities of Wuhan, Changsha and Nanchang has emerged in the urban agglomeration of the middle reaches of Changjiang River, while these three capital cities have exerted great radiation abilities to their surrounding cities, the latter are less able to absorb resources from the former; (4) the Wuhan Metropolitan Areas and the Poyang Lake Ecological Economic Zone have more structural holes than the Ring of Changsha, Zhuzhou and the Xiangtan City Clusters, meaning that cities at the periphery of these two areas are easily constrained by central cities. The Ring of Changsha, Zhuzhou and the Xiangtan City Clusters have fewer structural holes; thus, the cities in this area will not face as many constraints as those in the other two areas.


urban agglomeration the middle reaches of Changjiang River economic network gravitation model social network analysis 


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© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BusinessCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.School of BusinessHunan City UniversityYiyangHunan, China
  3. 3.School of Architecture and City PlanningHunan City UniversityYiyangHunan, China
  4. 4.School of Urban ManagementHunan City UniversityYiyangHunan, China

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