Perceived sustainable urbanization based on geographically hierarchical data structures in Nanjing, China

Keyu ZHAI, Xing GAO*, Yuerong ZHANG, Meiling WU

*Corresponding author for this work

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


Concentrating on geographically hierarchical data structures and using large-scale satisfaction survey data in Nanjing, this study employs Bayesian spatial multilevel model (MLM) to evaluate Nanjing's perceived sustainable urbanization. In this study, we consider the geographically hierarchical data structures and the city's individual perceptions of sustainable urbanization to explore the effect of environment and self-rated health on perceived sustainable urbanization, controlling for individual sociodemographic attributes and household. Through clarifying the spatial dependence and heterogeneity, this paper provides a flexible framework for assessing sustainable urbanization and dealing with the geographical hierarchical data. In particular, by drawing on existing studies, our questionnaire is more representative of the overall characteristics of Nanjing's population than census data, which can be helpful for understanding whether urbanization is sustainable from individual perspective and further for correcting practices. Based on a survey of 10,077 questionnaires, this paper finds the geographically hierarchical data structures have significantly influenced the evaluation of sustainable urbanization, and the Bayesian spatial MLM is an effective tool for evaluating China's sustainable urbanization. In particular, this paper takes spatial effects into consideration and compares the geographically hierarchical data. Results show that spatial patterns significantly influence the assessment of sustainable urbanization, and perceived pollution, age, education level, and income are the four key factors influencing individual perceived sustainable urbanization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2289
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research is funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Geographically hierarchical data
  • Spatial statistics
  • Sustainability evaluation
  • Sustainable cities
  • Sustainable urbanization
  • Urban development


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