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The inverted U-shaped effect of urban hotspots spatial compactness on urban economic growth


  • Weipan Xu
  • Haohui'Caron' Chen
  • Enrique Frias-Martinez
  • Manuel Cebrian
  • Xun Li


The compact city, as a sustainable concept, is intended to augment the efficiency of urban function. However, previous studies have concentrated more on morphology than on structure. The present study focuses on urban structural elements, i.e., urban hotspots consisting of high-density and high-intensity socioeconomic zones, and explores the economic performance associated with their spatial structure. We use nighttime luminosity (NTL) data and the Loubar method to identify and extract the hotspot and ultimately draw two conclusions. First, with population increasing, the hotspot number scales sublinearly with an exponent of approximately 0.50~0.55, regardless of the location in China, the EU or the US, while the intersect values are totally different, which is mainly due to different economic developmental level. Secondly, we demonstrate that the compactness of hotspots imposes an inverted U-shaped influence on economic growth, which implies that an optimal compactness coefficient does exist. These findings are helpful for urban planning.

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  • Weipan Xu & Haohui'Caron' Chen & Enrique Frias-Martinez & Manuel Cebrian & Xun Li, 2019. "The inverted U-shaped effect of urban hotspots spatial compactness on urban economic growth," Papers 1908.05530,
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1908.05530

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