Land use change and economic growth in urban China: A structural equation analysis

Canfei He*, Zhiji Huang, Rui Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


Land use change is not only the consequence of economic growth but also its direct and indirect driver. Based on official land use change data from 2004 to 2008, this study found substantial land use changes in China, with considerable cultivated land conversion into urban, industrial and transportation purposes. Correlation analysis shows a strong association between land use change and absolute GDP expansion. Structural equation analysis indicates that economic growth drives land use change. Industrial land expansion directly stimulates economic growth. Land has been successfully used as a tool to attract foreign investments and to sustain infrastructure investments, indirectly triggering economic growth. The findings suggest that land is not a simple factor of production but a strategic tool for economic development in urban China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2880-2898
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • FDI
  • land use change
  • structural equation
  • urban economic growth

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