Delineating urban functional zones using mobile phone data: A case study of cross-boundary integration in Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou area


As cities continuously expand and with the emergence of mega-city regions, the urban functional zones (UFZs) have spread beyond their original administrative boundaries. An accurate and updated delineation of the UFZs is crucial for assessing the functional integration between cities within a mega-city region. Mobility data provides a chance to depict the UFZs from actual human activities at a finer spatial scale. Existing studies mostly adopted network-based approaches relying on the topological relationship but ignoring spatial factors, causing the lack of sensitivity in detecting the cross-cities integration of the functional region. This research proposed a novel regionalisation algorithm that redraws non-overlap boundaries of urban functional zones based on the commuting origin-destination matrix, representing the spatial interactions within cities and cross-cities. In particular, functional zones are drawn by searching for the best partition with the best goodness of fitting in the hierarchical spatial interaction model. The algorithm was applied to a case study of a mega-city region, Shenzhen-Dongguan-Huizhou (SDH) area in China using mobile phone signalling data. By adopting two different settings, this model evaluated the current status and predict the future trend of urban integration respectively. The results show the current boundary of UFZs in the SDH area almost coincides with administrative boundaries. Meanwhile, the results of long-term predictions might be utilised by policymakers to give more attention to the areas near the Dongguan-Huizhou boundary to promote industry cooperation and avoid mismatches between the functional and administrative regions.

In Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
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Qili Gao (高琦丽)
Qili Gao (高琦丽)
Assistant Professor

My research interests include human dynamics and urban informatics.