Exploring the spatiotemporal evolution and sustainable driving factors of information flow network: A public search attention perspective

Fei Ma, Yujie Zhu*, Kum Fai Yuen, Qipeng Sun, Haonan He, Xiaobo Xu, Zhen Shang, Yan Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The promotion of information flow reinforces the interactive cooperation and evolutionary process among cities. In the information age, public online search is a typical behavior of Internet society, which is the key to information flow generation and agglomeration. In this study, we attempt to explore the evolutionary characteristics of intercity networks driven by public online social behavior in the information age and construct an information flow network (IFN) from the perspective of public search attention. We also explore the evolution of the IFN in terms of the whole network, node hierarchy, and subgroup aggregation. Meanwhile, we also discuss the impact of the sustainable driving factors on the IFN. Finally, an empirical study was conducted in Guanzhong Plain Urban Agglomeration (GPUA). Our results show that: (1) the information flow in GPUA fluctuating upward in the early study period and gradually decreasing in the later study period. However, the agglomeration degree of information flow in the urban agglomeration continues to increase. (2) The hierarchical structure of urban nodes in GPUA presents a trend of “high in the middle and low on both sides”, and the formation of subgroups is closely related to geographic location. (3) The driving factors all impacting the IFN include public ecology, resource investment, information infrastructure, and economic foundation. This study provides theoretical and practical support for exploring the intercity network and promotes the sustainable urban development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number489
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Driving factors
  • Information flow
  • Intercity network
  • Public search attention
  • Urban sustainable development


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