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The application of GIS in regional studies has been an increasingly active area of research in recent years. The core issues include spatial statistics and the visualization of spatial data. In this paper, we discussed some exploratory approaches in identifying the urban center-periphery areas growth patterns using spatial statistics and GIS visual techniques. Some traditional spatial statistics and newly developed methods are introduced for regional studies, which include global spatial statistics (Moran I), local spatial statistics (generalized local indicators of spatial associations), Moran Scatter Plot and LISA significance and cluster maps. Some professional software for spatial statistics and modeling are introduced such as ArcGIS and Geoda. The examples demonstrate how those spatial statistics can be used to identify the urban and regional growth patterns with integration of spatial statistics with GIS.