Exploring Spatial Relationships in the Pearl River Delta

  • Liang XiongEmail author
  • Steffen Nijhuis
Part of the Human Dynamics in Smart Cities book series (HDSC)


Urban deltas belong to the most promising regions considering their population concentrations, ecosystems service and economy significance. Meanwhile these regions are facing multiple threats and are extreme vulnerable for increasing flood risk, damage of social and ecological values and substantial economic losses. These challenges are demanding a fundamental review of the planning and design of urban delta landscapes and their spatial networks, in particular in relation to environmental issues and sustainability. Systematic study of urbanized delta landscapes is essential as a basis for future-oriented action and thinking for the sustainable development of these rapidly changing landscapes. This chapter aims to introduce a multiscale approach to understand and represent urbanizing deltas as complex systems composed of subsystems, each with their own dynamics and speed of change. As a system the urbanized delta landscape is a material space that is structured as a constellation of networks and locations with multiple levels of organization at different spatial and temporal dimensions. Mapping the peculiar form of these systems provides insight into the complexity of the built environment and the related spatial networks—and with that, understanding in important social and ecological relationships. The Pearl River Delta, one of the quickest and most densified large scale urbanizing deltas of the world, serves as a case study how mapping can be used as a powerful tool to reveal relationships between landscape, networks and urbanization.


Mapping Complex systems Networks Spatial relationships Urban planning Urban deltas 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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