This paper examines national urban agglomerations by taking factor flows as the focal point as the research
subject. By dividing the stages of urban agglomeration development, a comprehensive framework of urban shrinkage is constructed, encompassing economic, population, and social shrinkage. The study explores the spatial distribution characteristics of urban shrinkage during different stages of urban agglomeration and investigates the influencing factors using a geographic detector model. The findings reveal that urban shrinkage within urban agglomerations is widely spread, predominantly in peripheral areas. During the diffusion stage, urban shrinkage is scattered, with population shrinkage concentrated in peripheral regions, economic shrinkage concentrated on old industrial cities, and social shrinkage concentrated on the northeast. The outcomes of the geographic detector model indicate that traffic flow, capital flow, information flow, node importance, network connectivity, government investment, openness, and environmental regulations all play significant roles in shaping the spatial distribution of urban shrinkage.
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