HUMAN GEOGRAPHY – 3c Settlement Studies

Settlements are places where people live. We give them different names depending on their size, from millionaire cities to hamlets.

When early settlers were looking for a site to begin their settlement the looked for some of the following features to make their life easier:

  • flat land, to make building easier and safer
  • local raw materials, eg wood and stone, to build homes
  • a local water supply for drinking, washing, cooking and transport
  • dry land, so that people could build on areas that don’t flood
  • a defendable site, eg a hilltop or river bend, to protect from attackers
  • good farm land with fertile soils, so people could grow crops
  • shelter, eg to protect from bad weather
  • transport links, eg a ford or low crossing point of a river

In the UK we classify settlements into four different groups depending on their size.

  • A HAMLET is a very small group of homes. It is unlikely that there will be any other facilities.
  • A VILLAGE contains more facilities than a hamlet, for example a few shops, a post office, a primary school and maybe a doctor’s surgery. Villages can vary in size from a few hundred to a few thousand.
  • A TOWN may contain tens of thousands of people. They have shopping centres, secondary schools, railway stations and hospitals.
  • A CITY is even bigger. They are areas with large numbers of people. They provide a very wide range of facilities including more specialised functions like universities, large hospitals and sport stadiums. In the past cities were identified as places that contained a cathedral, but today the Queen is the person who decides whether a town becomes a city or not. She bases her decision on a number of different factors including the size of the population.

Evolution of Settlements

Follow these hyperlinks to learn more:-

  1. BBC – Settlement in urban areas
  2. BBC Quiz
  3. 3D Geography

Geography Home Page

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