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
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