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The Hierarchical Regional Space Model of China's Spatial Economy/Society

This talk will report on work at the Regional Systems Analysis Project at UC Davis.

November 19, 2007 12:00am

Monday, November 19, 2007
TIME: 12:00 PM

This talk will report on work at the Regional Systems Analysis Project at UC Davis.  In an effort to develop a more comprehensive and discriminating picture of socioeconomic phenomena in late imperial and contemporary China, we are using a geographic information system to place data in a fine-grained spatial framework that reflects the underlying structure of China's regional economies/societies. We apply Prof. G. William Skinner's model of Hierarchical Regional Space (HRS) that views Chinese society as a nested hierarchy of nodal local and regional systems, each centered on a city or town at one of eight levels in the urban hierarchy. This talk will review the conceptualization and methodology of the HRS framework, the types of census and land use data that have been analyzed, and some preliminary findings on urbanization and related phenomena.

The Regional Systems Analysis Project is an interdisciplinary research team conducting spatial analyses of regional systems in contemporary China as well as early modern Japan and France. For each project we are constructing a spatial framework, referred to as Hierarchical Regional Space (HRS), building on central place theory from Christaller and regional systems theory from von Thunen. Geographic information systems (GIS) facilitate modeling the core-periphery structures of macroregional systems at multiple hierarchical scales.  In the societies under analysis here, the HRS model provides a useful framework for explaining the spatial variation in many demographic and ecological phenomena. For more information, visit



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