Rapid urbanization in China has been accompanied by spatial inefficiency in patterns of human activity, of which 'ghost towns' are the most visible result. In this study, we measure the density and diversity of human activity in the built environment and relate this to various explanatory factors. Using the Pearl River Delta (PRD) as an empirical case, our research demonstrates the distribution of human activity by multi-source data and then explores its dynamics within these areas. This empirical study is comprised of two parts. The first part explores location information regarding human activity in urbanized areas and shows density and diversity. Regression models are applied to explore how density and diversity are affected by urban scale, morphology and by a city's administrative level. Results indicate that: 1) cities with smaller populations are more likely to be faced with lower density and diversity, but they derive greater marginal benefits from improving land use efficiency; 2) the compactness of the layout of urban land, an index reflecting the plane shapes of the built environment, is highly correlated with density and diversity in built-up areas; and 3) the administrative importance of a city has a significant and positive impact on the density of human activity, but no obvious influence on its diversity.

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doi.org/10.3390/su12093700, hdl.handle.net/1765/127418
Sustainability (Switzerland)
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Zhao, M. (Miaoxi), Xu, G. (Gaofeng), de Jong, M. (Martin), Li, X. (Xinjian), & Zhang, P. (Pingcheng). (2020). Examining the density and diversity of human activity in the built environment: The case of the pearl river delta, China. Sustainability (Switzerland), 12(9). doi:10.3390/su12093700