Spatiotemporal evolution of specialized villages and rural development: A case study of Henan province, China

Jiajun Qiao, Jay Lee, Xinyue Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Regional economic development is inherently uneven as determined by the local conditions and available resources. Specialized villages (SVs) in China played a very important role in the development and economic transformation in rural areas. By integrating regional spatial structure theory, multilevel network theory, and spatial interface theory, this article examines the spatial and temporal evolution of SVs in Henan Province, China. Results from the analyses show that the development of SVs over time progressed in four stages, each corresponding to important adjustments in national agricultural policy. SVs were distributed unevenly in space and the distribution seemed to be scale-dependent. At a macrolevel, SVs displayed a dispersed pattern over a large area. SVs showed localized clusters at a microlevel, however, also exhibiting a core-periphery structure. Rural economic development in China showed that SVs formed a multilevel network hierarchy. We also observed that SVs were often in transitional areas including urban-rural and plain-mountain interfaces and administrative marginal zones. Finally, spatiotemporal clusters of SVs helped to identify the locations and time periods when SVs grew significantly for analysis of impacts by national policies on rural development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • China
  • Rural development
  • Spatiotemporal evolution
  • Specialized villages (SVs)


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