Exploring Spatial Relationships in the Pearl River Delta

Liang Xiong, Steffen Nijhuis

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Urban deltas belong to the most promising regions considering their population concentrations, ecosystems service and economy significance. Meanwhile these regions are facing multiple threats and are extreme vulnerable for increasing flood risk, damage of social and ecological values and substantial economic losses. These challenges are demanding a fundamental review of the planning and design of urban delta landscapes and their spatial networks, in particular in relation to environmental issues and sustainability. Systematic study of urbanized delta landscapes is essential as a basis for future-oriented action and thinking for the sustainable development of these rapidly changing landscapes. This chapter aims to introduce a multiscale approach to understand and represent urbanizing deltas as complex systems composed of subsystems, each with their own dynamics and speed of change. As a system the urbanized delta landscape is a material space that is structured as a constellation of networks and locations with multiple levels of organization at different spatial and temporal dimensions. Map-ping the peculiar form of these systems provides insight into the complexity of the built environment and the related spatial networks – and with that, understanding in important social and ecological relationships. The Pearl River Delta, one of the quickest and most densified large scale urbanizing deltas of the world, serves as a case study how mapping can be used as a powerful tool to reveal relationships be-tween landscape, networks and urbanization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCities as Spatial and Social Networks
EditorsXinyue Ye, Xingjian Liu
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-95350-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameHuman Dynamics in Smart Cities

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Mapping
  • Complex Systems
  • Networks
  • Spatial relationships
  • Urban planning
  • Urban deltas


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