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Exploring urban green spaces in China: Spatial patterns, driving factors and policy implications



The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, developed by the United Nations (UN), proposes making 'cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'. As a common concern of 'New-type Urbanization' and 'Rural vitalization strategy', China is undergoing economic transformation, protecting urban green space (UGS), and promoting ecological utilization of land. However, the spatial pattern and driving mechanism of UGS remain unclear. Thus, this paper attempts to introduce production factors, and creates a new analysis framework for primary production factors (PPFs) and expanded production factors (EPFs). Ordinary least squares (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR) are also used to reveal the driving mechanism. The study found the following: (1) From 2006-2015, UGS formed a 'T' pattern in China, with the Yangtze River as the horizontal axis and the eastern coastal region as the vertical axis. (2) The main driving force is PPFs comprising labour, land, and capital. However, the role of EPFs represented by technology and management remains inadequate. (3) The driving force of production factors on UGS has spatial heterogeneity. Labour has increased UGS in the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration. Technology and management factors have developed UGS in the northeast district. In the western district, capital has gradually become an important reason for the development of UGS. Additionally, the land factor has significantly affected UGS in south-western China. Based on the results, a viable future management strategy for UGS is to increase the effective input and liquidity of production factors. Finally, the novel perspective using multidimensional production factors can provide useful inspiration for future research.