SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 62 , Issue 3 : 502-510(2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-018-9433-x

A quantitative analysis of inequality of urban cultural space distribution in Xi’an

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  • ReceivedOct 8, 2018
  • AcceptedJan 4, 2019
  • PublishedFeb 22, 2019


Urban cultural space (UCS) has been of great social and economic value for sustainable development, and the existing researches about it mainly focus on some specific aspects, such as historical heritage or cultural service facility. However, UCS hasn’t been quantitatively assessed as an independent system with clear definition and comprehensive classification. Thus, we present a quantitative analysis based on the statistic of UCS provision in different categories between 44 sub-districts in Xi’an and find its inequalities. Xi’an urban land use data and population data of sub-district level are introduced in the analysis process with GIS, SPSS and MATLAB. Our results indicate that inequalities of UCS in Xi’an are mainly reflected in three aspects, including categories, geospatial and population. Among the four categories of UCS, historical heritage and cultural park account for higher percentage, while cultural service facility and religious space are lower. The inequalities in geospatial could be estimated from two indicators. The first indicator named cultural space rate ranges from 0 to 66.88%, while the other named distance between residential and cultural space varies from 100.47 m to 2004.75 m. The inequalities in population could be assessed by cultural space per capita and Gini coefficient. The results indicate that per capita ranges from 0 m2 to 214.79 m2. The Gini coefficient of Xi’an is 0.86, which means that the UCS distribution in population is extremely inequitable. Our studies would further the research on UCS and provide constructive suggestions in urban planning and policy formulation to ensure adequate UCS provision and improve its distributional order in Xi’an.

Funded by

the National Outstanding Youth Foundation of China(Grant,No.,51322812)


This work was supported by the National Outstanding Youth Foundation of China (Grant No. 51322812). We thank Prof. Pengfei Lu from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications for his helpful guidance, Prof. Bianping Su from Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology for providing mathematical support, and Prof. Sining Yun from Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology for his kind suggestions.


Supporting Information

The supporting information is available online at tech.scichina.com and www.springerlink.com. The supporting materials are published as submitted, without typesetting or editing. The responsibility for scientific accuracy and content remains entirely with the authors.


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  • Figure 1

    Study area and urban cultural space distribution of 44 sub-districts in Xi’an.

  • Figure 2

    Distance from the centroid of residential space to the boundary of the nearest urban cultural space in Xi’an.

  • Figure 3

    Cultural space rate, mean distance to cultural space and cultural space per capita of 44 sub-districts in Xi’an.

  • Figure 4

    Proportion of four categories in 44 sub-districts’ cultural space.

  • Figure 5

    Population density (a), cultural space rate (b), cultural space per capita (c) and distance to cultural space (d) of 44 sub-districts in Xi’an.

  • Figure 6

    Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient representing the dissimilarity of urban cultural space distribution in Xi’an and its subordinate five districts.

  • Table 1   Land use categories incorporated in the analysis for urban cultural space distribution

    Land use category



    €€Historical heritage

    Includes heritage with historical, artistic, scientific value and conservation significance

    Ancient ruins, ancient tombs, ancient architecture, modern representative buildings, revolution memorial buildings

    €€Religious space

    Includes space for religious activities

    Church, mosque, temple, taoist temple

    €€Cultural service facility

    Includes free space for public cultural activities

    Library, museum, gallery, memorial, exhibition center

    €€Cultural park

    Includes parks and green space constructed around the heritage

    Heritage park, huancheng park, xingqing park, tang paradise

  • Table 2   Data sources and calculated variables

    Data sources



    €€Urban land use data

    €€(from Xi’an Land Use Map recorded by Xi’an €€City Planning & Design Institute)

    Cultural space rate

    The proportion of cultural space in urban development land in percentage

    Cultural space per capita

    The per capita possession of urban cultural space

    Distance to cultural space

    Euclidean distance from the centroid of a residential space to the boundary of the nearest cultural space in meter

    €€Xi’an population data of each sub-district (from €€China Population Census Data of 2010)

    Population data at sub-district level

    Population data of each sub-district investigated in Xi’an

  • Table 3   Variables and results of data analysis of urban cultural space provision in 44 sub-districts








    Cultural space rate (%)







    Cultural space per capita (m2/person)







    Distance to cultural space (m)







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