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Evaluation of resources and environmental carrying capacity of 36 large cities in China based on a support-pressure coupling mechanism

Zhang, Fei, Wang, Yong, Ma, Xuejiao, Wang, Ying, Yang, Guangchun, Zhu, Lin
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.688 pp. 838-854
anthropogenic activities, carrying capacity, cities, ecosystem services, green infrastructure, humans, pipes, sewage, urban development, water shortages, China
Resource and environmental carrying capacity (RECC) is an important foundation for the long-term development of cities. The accurate evaluation of the RECC of cities is of great significance to China, which is rapidly urbanizing. This paper constructs a support index and pressure index to calculate the level of support resources and the level of environmental pressure that human activities induce in 36 municipalities, provincial capitals and subprovincial cities in China from 2010 to 2016; in addition, this paper analyzes the factors affecting RECC. The results show that (1) the support index of most cities (32) is greater than the pressure index, demonstrating that the resource and environmental carrying capacity of most cities is stronger than the pressure of human social activities. (2) The RECC of first-line, super large cities is of concern; the RECCs of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have already been exceeded. (3) The resources, the environmental services and the pressure of human activities on those services in most cities are average, while the resource, the environmental services and the pressure of human activities on those services are greater in a few developed cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc.). (4) The ability of resources and the environment to support human activities in China's large cities exhibited a downward trend. The pressure of human social activities on urban resources and the environment is increasing, but the growth rate of that pressure has slowed. (5) Area of land used for urban construction, the area of urban green space and length of city sewage pipes and other resource indicators are common obstacles to the improvement of most cities' pressure indexes. Water shortage is a common problem faced by first-tier cities in China. This study supports a comprehensive understanding of China's large-scale RECC status and provides a reference for the formulation of a scientific and pragmatic urban development strategy.