• Human geography is based on study of human settlements because type of habitation in a given place reflects human relationship with environment.
• A human settlement is described as a location that is inhabited on a long-term basis. Houses may be built or reconstructed, buildings may be modified, and functions may change, yet settlement in time and place persists. There may be certain towns that are only temporary and occupied for a limited time, such as for season.
Classification of Settlements Rural-Urban Dichotomy
• Human settlements can be classified as rural or urban, based on population size, nature of activities, structure, and functions, among other factors. differentiation of villages is not consistent.
• However, fundamental distinction between towns and villages is that in towns, people’s primary occupation is in secondary and tertiary sectors, whereas in rural, people are engaged in primary activities.
• Sub-Urbanisation: In search of a higher quality of life, people are moving out of congested urban regions and toward cleaner locations outside of metropolis.
• Census of India, 1991: It defines urban settlements as places with a municipal corporation, cantonment board, or notified town area committee, as well as a population of 5000 people or more, 75% of male workers engaged in non-agricultural activities, and a population density of at least 400 people per square kilometer.
Types and Patterns of Settlements
• Settlements can be classified into compact and dispersed by their shape, pattern & types. major types classified by shape are as follows:
• Dispersed Settlements: Houses in these towns are widely separated and frequently interspersed with fields, such as a place of worship or a market, which serve to connect settlement together.
• Compact or Nucleated Settlements: A huge number of dwellings are erected relatively close to one other in these villages, which develop along river valleys and rich plains. There are close-knit communities here, and residents have similar jobs.
• These settlements are strongly intertwined with land. Agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry, and other primary activities that dominates them. following are elements that influence settlement location:
• Water Supply: Water is needed for agriculture, fishing, navigation, and drinking, hence rural villages are placed near water sources such as rivers, lakes, & springs.
• Land: Villages in undulating countryside in Europe, avoiding swampy areas, low lying river valleys, and coastal plains is appropriate for wet-rice production in South-East Asia are examples of fertile soil which is excellent for agriculture.
• Upland: Settlements are found in dry areas such as uplands, terraces, & leaves that are not prone to floods. People in tropical nations build their homes on stilts amid marshy grounds to avoid flooding, insects, & animal pests.
• Building Material: Cave homes in China, mud-brick buildings in African Savanna, and igloos with ice blocks in polar regions are examples of settlements created where building resources are available.
• Defence: Defensive hills, islands, & other locations that provide suitable defensive sites are developed as communities. Forts were built atop hills in India.
• Planned Settlements: Governments build planned settlements by providing housing, water, & other facilities on land they have purchased, such as canal colonies in India’s Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area.
Rural Settlement Patterns
• This refers to way houses are sited about each other. surrounding topography terrain influence shape. They are classified as below:
• Plain and size of village, plain villages, plateau villages, coastal villages, woodland villages, desert villages, and so on are basic varieties based on setting.
• There may be farming villages, fishing villages, lumberjack villages, pastoral villages, and so on, depending on their functions.
• villages are developed in geometrical forms and shapes based on Settlement’s forms/shapes, such as:
• Linear Pattern: residences are situated along a road, a railway line, a river, valley’s canal edge, or a levee.
• Circular Pattern: Pattern in a Circle settlements form around lakes and tanks, with central area remaining open to keep animals safe from wild creatures.
• Rectangular Pattern: towns are spread out across plains or vast intermontane valleys. roadways are rectangular and cut at right angles to one other.
• Star-like Pattern: Several highways intersect in these communities, and buildings are built along roads.
• T-shaped, Y-shaped, Cross-shaped or Cruciform Settlements: At tri-junctions, T-shaped settlements emerge, Y-shaped settlements emerge where two roads converge on third and houses are erected along these roads, and cruciform settlements emerge at cross-roads with buildings extending in all four directions. Villages on two levels These settlements are found on both sides of a river where a bridge or a ferry connects them.
Problems of Rural Settlements
• number of rural settlements in developing countries are huge, and infrastructure is weak. In these settlements, there is a scarcity of water.
• Cholera, jaundice, & other waterborne infections are frequent. In rural areas, there is a shortage of irrigation facilities, as well as drought and flood problems. Inadequate sanitation, toilet, & rubbish disposal facilities contribute to health issues.
• There is no proper animal housing or a separate shed for animals. Metalled roads and a modern communication network are generally absent in rural areas. There are fewer health clinics and educational institutions.
• There had been a rapid growth of urban settlements around world. first city to reach a population of one million was London in AD 1810. At present 54% of world’s population lives in cities.
Classification of Urban Settlements
common basis of classification is:
• Population Size: It refers to population threshold above which a settlement can be classified as urban. It isn’t universal, and it differs from one country to next. In Columbia, a settlement with a population of 1500 is considered urban; in Argentina and Portugal, it is 2000; in United States and Thailand, it is 2500; in India, it is 5000; in Japan, it is 30,000; in Denmark, Sweden, & Finland, it is 250; in Iceland, it is 300; and in Canada and Venezuela, it is 1000.
• Administration: In some nations, administrative setup identifies a settlement as urban. In India, a place is deemed urban if it has a municipality or notified area council.
• Occupational Structure: In certain nations, a community is classified as urban-based on its principal economic activities and population size. In Italy, a place is considered urban if more than half of economically productive population is employed in non-agricultural activities. India’s threshold has been set at 75%.
• Location: Strategic towns giving natural defence, mining towns, industrial towns, tourist centres, historical treasures, and other areas that can provide suitable living circumstances have potential to develop into urban centres.
Functions of Urban Centres On basis of functions, urban settlements are classified into following:
• Administrative towns: Administrative towns are national capitals with administrative offices, such as New Delhi, Canberra, London, & Beijing. Provincial [sub-national] towns, such as Victoria [British Columbia], Albany [New York], and others, can serve as administrative centres.
• Trading and Commercial Towns: Important trading centres include agricultural market towns like Winnipeg, banking & financial centres like Frankfurt, big interior cities like Manchester, and transportation hubs like Lahore, Baghdad, & Agra.
• Cultural Towns: Cultural towns include pilgrimage destinations such as Jerusalem, Varanasi, & Jagannath Puri, among others. Other urban settlements include health and recreation [Miami], industry [Pittsburgh and Jamshedpur], mining & quarrying [Dhanbad], and transportation [Singapore and Mughal Sarai].
Classification of Towns on basis of Forms
• Linear, square, star, or crescent-shaped urban settlements are all possible. Cities in developed countries are planned, whereas in developing countries, irregular shapes have emerged through time.
• Smaller towns in India have evolved historically from walled cities to big urban sprawls. Chandigarh and Canberra are planned cities.
• Canberra: This is Australia’s capital, having been established in 1912. It’s a garden city, with lots of greenery, parks, & gardens. It was designed to hold 25,000 people at first, but it has since grown to include many satellite villages.
• Addis Ababa: This is Ethiopia’s capital and is situated in a hill valley topography. It was founded in 1878. This is a major nodal hub with enormous markets and government offices. city has experienced fast expansion and growth in all directions.
Types of Urban Settlements Depending upon size and services available, urban centres are classified further as follows:
• Towns: In relation to word ‘village,’ these are easily understood. In towns, there are specific functions such as manufacturing, retail & wholesale trade, and professional services.
• City: They are bigger than towns, have more economic functions, and are more likely to have transportation terminals, important financial institutions, and administrative offices. ‘city is physical manifestation of highest and most complicated type of associative life,’ Lewis Mumford writes.
• Conurbation: Patrick Geddes invented word conurbation in 1915. This term is used to describe a huge area of urban development that has emerged from amalgamation of previously separate towns or cities, such as Greater London and Tokyo.
• Megalopolis: This term was popularised by Jean Gottman , and it refers to a super metropolitan region that spans a number of conurbations, such as urban landscape that stretches from Boston to Washington.
• Million City: It refers to a city with a population of more than one million people, such as London in 1800, and Paris in 1850, and there were roughly 80 such cities by 1950.
• Distribution of Mega Cities: number of megacities, called megalopolis, has been quickly increasing. At moment, there are 25 megacities. At moment, Europe has 58 cities, Asia has 206, North & Central America has 79, South America has 43, Africa has 46, and Australia has six. Infrastructure such as electricity, sewage, disposal, health, & education services are lacking.
Problems of Urban Settlements
• Urban settlements in developing countries are plagued by unsustainable population density, overcrowding, a shortage of drinking water, insufficient infrastructure, inadequate sewage disposal, health & education facilities, and vertical extension and rise of slums. majority of cities in developing countries are experiencing unplanned growth. They are as follows:
• Economic Problems: Due to decreasing job possibilities in rural areas, unskilled & semiskilled labour force is being pushed to urban areas, which are already overburdened.
• Socio-Cultural Problems: Cities in developing countries have to deal with a number of social problems. Because there isn’t enough money, good social infrastructure can’t be built. Crime rates go up when people don’t have jobs or go to school. ratio of men to women in these cities is sorted by how many men moved there.
• Environmental Problems: In developing countries, environmental problems are made worse by bad sewage systems, large amounts of fuel use that pollutes air, a lack of safe drinking water, dumping of untreated waste, and huge concrete structures.
• The World Health Organization says that a healthy city should have a clean and safe environment, meet the basic needs of all its residents, include the community in local government, and make health services easy to get to.
• United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] defines an urban plan that aims to improve housing for poor, provide basic services such as primary healthcare, drinking water, education, sanitation, and government facilities, upgrade energy use, and reduce air pollution.