The Spatial Network of Beibu Gulf Urban Agglomeration and Its Challenges for Coordinated Integral Development

  • Junneng Wang
  • Jianquan ChengEmail author
  • Nianxiu Qin
  • Qingyi Chen


The Beibu Gulf Urban Agglomeration (BGUA), as one of the newly planned urban agglomerations in the southern China, has become a strategical focal point to support the future development of the region and its surrounding areas. From the perspective of city spatial network, this chapter aims to explore BGUA’s spatial linkage and main characteristics by analyzing urban networks and their inter-city interactions. The results reveal BGUA’s weak position in the network due to its insufficient competition with other cities. We argue that the BGUA, centered on Nanning, Zhanjiang, and Haikou, has been initially formed as a kind of “weak-nuclear” model and the central cities have not played their radial roles in promoting regional economy. The networking effect between cities is still dominated by inter-provincial linkages due to the negative influence from geographical and administrative divisions. There has been limited coordination between the cities within the urban agglomeration due to their varied stage of urban development. We conclude by suggesting the development strategy towards enhancing the networking effect and optimizing the inter-city coordination from four different perspectives, namely, transport infrastructure, economic development, regional governance, and urban/town development.


Beibu Gulf urban agglomeration Networking Spatial linkage City flow Inter-city interactions 



This work was jointly supported with funding given by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No: 41461007) and the Early Career Foundation from the Guangxi Teachers Education University (Grant No: 8656-QQJJ2013005).


  1. Cabus P, Vanhaverbeke W (2006) The territoriality of the network economy and urban networks: evidence from Flanders. Entrep Reg Dev 18:25–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Castells M (1996) The rise of the network society. Black-well Publishers, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen QY, Song YX (2011) Analysis on the special relation of Circum-Chang-Zhu-Tan urban agglomeration based on urban flow. Econ Geogr 31:1840–1844Google Scholar
  4. Cheng JQ (2000) Urban systems engineering. Press of Wuhan University, WuhanGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheng JQ, Berterloni L (2013) Understanding urban networks: comparing a node-, a density-and an accessibility-based view. Cities Int J Urban Policy Plan 31:165–176Google Scholar
  6. Djankov S, Freund C (2002) Trade flows in the former Soviet Union from 1987 to 1996. J Comp Econ 30:76–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fang CL (2014) Progress and the future direction of research into urban agglomeration in China. Acta Geogr Sin 69:1130–1144Google Scholar
  8. Fang CL (2017) Theoretical foundation and patterns of coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration. Prog Geogr 36:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fang CL, Qi WF, Song JT (2008) Researches on comprehensive measurement of compactness of urban agglomerations in China. Acta Geogr Sin 63:1011–1021Google Scholar
  10. Frideman JR (1986) The world city hypothesis: development & change. Urban Stud 23:5–137Google Scholar
  11. Friedman J (1973) The spatial organization of power in the development of urban systems. Dev Change 4:12–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gu CL, Zhang M, Zhang C (2006) Prospects of urban agglomeration in the Yangtze river delta. Sci Geogr Sin 15:771–775Google Scholar
  13. Guan XG, Liu L (2014) Spatial linkage analysis of Beijing Tianjin Hebei urban agglomeration based on modified gravity model. Urban Probl 11:21–26Google Scholar
  14. Guan W, Zhou XT (2014) The spatio-temporal evolvement of spatial interaction among cities of south central Liaoning. Econ Geogr 34:48–55Google Scholar
  15. Guo J (2015) Research on the optimization of spatial structure of Beibu Gulf urban agglomeration. Guangxi normal universityGoogle Scholar
  16. Hu Y, Zhang J, Liu ZH, Lin AW (2016) The research of the middle reaches of the Yangtze river’s spatial contact-based on the Gravity model and the urban flow. Mod Urban Res 1:52–57Google Scholar
  17. Jiao LM, Tang X, Liu XP (2016) Spatial linkage and urban expansion: an urban agglomeration perspective. Prog Geogr 35:1177–1185Google Scholar
  18. Kunzmann KR, Wegener M (1991) The pattern of urbanization in Western Europe. Ekisties 50:156–178Google Scholar
  19. Leng BR, Yang YC, Tan YM (2014) City network studies: the transformation of research perspective from hierarchy to network. Urban Plan Int 29:1–7Google Scholar
  20. Li SM, Shum YM (2001) Impacts of the national trunk highway system on accessibility in China. J Transp Geogr 9:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liu JY, Yang HL, Song Q, Fan XX (2014) Spatio-temporal pattern evolution of the interaction among the cities in central plains economic zone. Sci Geogr Sin 34:1060–1068Google Scholar
  22. Lu C, Wang DQ (2016) A comparative analysis of economic connections between cities in Shangdong Peninsula urban agglomeration. J Beijing Jiaotong Univ (social sciences edition) 15:22–32Google Scholar
  23. Meng DY, Zhao WL (2011) Spatial structure of urban economic linkage in Henan province based on travel time cost. Urban Stud 18:104–110Google Scholar
  24. Meywe DR (1980) A dynamic model of the integration of frontier urban places into the United States system of cities. Econ Geogr 56:39–120Google Scholar
  25. Miao CH, Wang HJ (2006) On the direction and intensity of urban economic contacts in Henan province. Geogr Res 25:222–232Google Scholar
  26. Ning Y (2011) Definition of Chinese metropolitan areas and large urban agglomeration—role of large urban agglomeration in regional development. Sci. Geogr Sin 31:257–263Google Scholar
  27. Niu FQ, Liu WD, Song T, Hu ZD (2015) A multi-level spatial structure analysis algorithm for urban agglomeration study in China. Geogr Res 34:1447–1460Google Scholar
  28. Pan JH, Liu WS (2014) Identification of spatial influence sphere of urban agglomerations in China based on urban hinterland delimitation. Adv Earth Sci 29:352–360Google Scholar
  29. Pyrgiotis YN (1991) Urban networking in Europe. Ekistics 50:350–351Google Scholar
  30. Sun J, Xu CZ (2011) The construction and application of the economic gravity model on the perspective of spatial economic-example from the economic data of Yangtze river delta in 2010. Economist 7:37–44Google Scholar
  31. Ullman E (1957) American commodity flow Seattle. University of Washington press, pp 60–73Google Scholar
  32. Wang T, Zeng JX (2014) Spatial patterns and development strategy of competition-integration between cities in urban agglomeration in the middle reaches of the Yangtze river. Trop Geogr 34:390–398Google Scholar
  33. Wang B, Zhen F (2016) China’s city hierarchy under internet and its influencing mechanism: an empirical analysis based on Baidu search. Economic geography 36:46–52Google Scholar
  34. Wen YZ, Zhong YX, Huang J (2013) The effects of the traffic network evolution on the Hinterland of central cities—a case of Jiangxi province. Econ Geogr 6:59–65Google Scholar
  35. Wheeler SM, Beebe CW (2011) The rise of the postmodern metropolis: spatial evolution of the Sacramento metropolitan region. J Urban Des 16:307–332CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Xi GL, Zhen F, Zhang M, Yin G, Jiang JL (2015) Spatio-temporal evolution and regional connection of online consumption: a case study on Jingdong mall. Scintia Geogr Sin 35:1372–1379Google Scholar
  37. Xu LY, Wu LP (2016) Economic linkages and Geo-economic relations among cities in the Beibu gulf urban agglomeration. Urban problems 10:59–64Google Scholar
  38. Xue JF (2008) Hierarchical structure and distribution pattern of Chinese urban system based on aviation network. Geogr Res 27:23–33Google Scholar
  39. Yao SM, Zhou CS (2016) New perspectives on urban agglomerations in China. Science press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang XK, Zhou PF (2012) Research on city agglomeration coordinated development based on urban flow intensity analysis in Beibu gulf. J Guangxi Univ Financ Econ 25:29–35Google Scholar
  41. Zhang HZ, Wu YD, Wang YC (2014) Research of the match state between the economic contact and geo-economics relationship in Yunnan central urban agglomeration. Areal Res Dev 33:16–19Google Scholar
  42. Zhen F, Wang B, Wei ZC (2015) The rise of the internet city in China: production and consumption of internet information. Urban Stud 52:2313–2329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhen F, Cao Y, Qin X, Wang B (2017) Delineation of an urban agglomeration boundary based on sina weibo microblog ‘check-in’ data: a case study of the Yangtze river delta. Cities 60:180–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zheng LH, Deng XL, Hou Y (2011) A measurement analysis of economic connection between Guanzhong cities based on Gravity model. Hum Geogr 26:80–84Google Scholar
  45. Zhou YX (1998) Major directions of economic linkages: some theoretical considerations. Urban Plan 2:22–25Google Scholar
  46. Zhou XY, Hua M, Qin YW, Ma XX (2016) Urban agglomeration spatial contacts research in the middle reach of Yangtze river. Resour Environ Yangtze Basin 25:1492–1500Google Scholar
  47. Zhu MM (2013) A comparative study on spatial structure evolution of urban agglomerations in Pearl River delta and Beibu gulf. Guangxi universityGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhu SP, X B, Mao JX (2013) Analysis on the spatial relation of Beibu Bay urban agglomeration. J Northwest Norm Univ (natural science) 6:106–111Google Scholar
  49. Zhu YM, Yu NW (2002) Study on urban flow in Shanghai Hangzhou Ningbo Urban Agglomeration Area. Urban Plan Forum 1(31–33):44Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junneng Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jianquan Cheng
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nianxiu Qin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingyi Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography and PlanningGuangxi Teachers Education UniversityNanningChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Resources Use in Beibu GulfMinistry of Education, Guangxi Teachers Education UniversityNanningChina

Personalised recommendations