Evaluating the Spatial Heterogeneity and Driving Factors of Sustainable Development Level in Chengdu with Point of Interest Data and Geographic Detector Model

Yantao LING, Yilang ZHAO, Qingzhong REN*, Yue QIU, Yuerong ZHANG, Keyu ZHAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Over the past few decades, China has undergone the largest and fastest urbanization process in world history. By 2023, Chengdu’s urbanization rate had reached 80.5%, significantly higher than the national average of 66.16%. Studying the urbanization experience of Chengdu is of great significance for optimizing urban planning policies in Chengdu and other cities in China. Although much literature has explored the urbanization process from macro and micro perspectives, studies using a top-down approach to examine urban fringe expansion are relatively scarce. This study first applies the entropy weight method to analyze the spatial-temporal evolution trends of urban development, identifying areas of imbalanced development and prominent issues. Secondly, the K-means machine learning algorithm and nightlight data are used to reconstruct and classify urban regions, and a comparative analysis is conducted with administrative divisions to further identify unreasonable areas in urban spatial distribution and structure. Finally, POI data and the geographical detector method are used to analyze the micro-driving forces in areas of imbalanced development, identifying major limiting factors and solutions. The study found that the gap between urban and rural development in Chengdu is narrowing during the urbanization process, but there is severe differentiation in the second circle of Chengdu, where economic development is accelerating but residents’ happiness is declining. Moreover, analysis based on urban nightlight data and land-use data reveals that the expansion areas on the urban-rural fringe are mainly concentrated in the second circle of Chengdu. Micro-level driving factor analysis found that the western region of the second circle has many but small urban settlements, with a dense road network but scattered functional areas. The eastern region has inefficient and extensive use of construction land. Additionally, the mismatch between student status and household registration has resulted in relatively lagging educational resource development, and high entry barriers have hindered the progress of urbanization, leading to low per capita welfare expenditure. These reasons are the main factors causing the decline in residents’ happiness, and this impact shows significant differences at different temporal and spatial scales. Encouraging innovation in research and development or education can serve as a long-term and effective driving force for promoting sustainable urbanization. This study provides valuable insights for scientifically planning sustainable urban development and promoting the urbanization process.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1018
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2024


  • urban sustainable development
  • land use efficiency
  • POI
  • geographical detector
  • urban innovation space


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