Comprehensive evaluation of trends in human settlements quality changes and spatial differentiation characteristics of 35 Chinese major cities

Lisha Tang*, Matthias Ruth, Qingyun He, Sahar Mirzaee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper constructs a comprehensive evaluation system of human settlements focusing on housing conditions, urban natural environments, social economy, and public infrastructure. Principal Component Analysis and Cluster Analysis are used to analyze and rank the 2003–2013 human settlements index and create five clusters for 35 major cities in China (including municipalities, provincial capitals, and Prefecture-level cities). On the basis of four years of a spatial analysis of the human settlements index, we find that living conditions of 35 Chinese cities have significantly improved; severe air pollution persists in China, with large differences between the north and the south; weak correlation between urban human settlements and the growth rate of economic development; and the infrastructure of China's mega cities is overloaded. The results confirm and quantify growing geographic disparities and deep structural urban challenges that are associated with rapid economic growth and social change, leaving many cities in China to struggle with worsening pollution, excessive demand on existing infrastructures, and housing prices that rise faster than disposable incomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalHabitat International
Early online date31 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • China
  • Differentiation characteristics
  • Economic disparity
  • Human settlements
  • Spatial analysis
  • Urbanization

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