Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

The Effects of Urban Polycentricity on Particulate Matter Emissions From Vehicles: Evidence From 102 Chinese Cities

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Abstract:  This article analyzes the impact of the level of urban polycentricity (UP) on particulate matter emissions from vehicles (PMV) across 102 prefecture-level cities in China between 2011 and 2015. We adopt a spatial panel modeling approach to our measures of UP and PMV, controlling for (possible) intervening effects such as population density and economic output. We observe an inverted U-shaped relationship between both measures: When UP is low, an increase in polycentricity is associated with higher levels of PMV; however, when UP reaches a certain threshold, the increase in polycentricity is associated with a reduction in PMV. We find a similar relationship between economic output and PMV and demonstrate how the effects of population density on PMV consist of two opposite processes that likely offset each other. Nonetheless, jointly, population density and UP have a significant effect on PMV. We use our results to discuss policy implications and identify avenues for further research.

Keywords:  China; pollution reduction; polycentricity; urban spatial structure; vehicle emissions


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© Mi Ye, Ben Derudder, Lei Jiang, Freke Caset, Yingcheng Li. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.