Types and Patterns

  • The three basic needs for the survival of mankind are food, clothing, and shelter. Human beings can’t live alone. They prefer to live in groups. Any form of human habitation which ranges from a few houses to a large city can be termed as a settlement.
  • A settlement has a certain layout plan meant for residential and other purposes. It consists of streets or roads, which connect them together. On the basis of occupation, size and population, settlements are of two types:
    1. Rural Settlements, and
    2. Urban Settlements
  • Rural settlements consist of small sized houses surrounding a farmland and inhabiting a population of less than 5000 persons, who are mainly engaged in primary activities.
  • The rural settlements of India may be classified into following types:
    1. Clustered or nucleated settlements
    2. Semi-clustered settlements, and
    3. Dispersed or isolated settlements
  • Clustered or nucleated settlement are characterised by compact block of houses. 
  • Semi-clustered settlements have a small compact nucleus. Linear cluster pattern is formed when houses are situated along a road.
  • Dispersed or isolated settlements are scattered over a vast area. There is no specific plan and settlement unit in a single hamlet.
  • Physical factors include availability of water supply, relief, and climate, etc. These also determine the types of rural settlements. Tribal caste or communal identity determines the layout of a rural settlement.
  • The distribution of rural settlements can again be made as nucleated settlements, and dispersed settlements. Nucleated settlements often get fragmented because of social segregation imposed by the caste system. Dispersed settlements are commonly found in hills, plateaus, highlands, forested, arid and semi-arid areas of the country.
  • The different types of patterns of rural settlements are:
    1. Linear Pattern
    2. Circular Pattern
    3. Fan Pattern
    4. Star like Pattern
    5. Rectangular Pattern
    6. Terrace or Contour Pattern, and
    7. Shapeless or Amorphous Pattern

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  • Q1

    What are the different types of rural settlements?


    The different types of rural settlements are:

    1. Clustered, Agglomerated or Nucleated

    2. Semi-clustered or fragmented

    3. Hamleted, and

    4. Dispersed or Isolated

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  • Q2

    What are the different factors that are responsible for different types of rural settlements? 


    The different factors and conditions that are responsible for different types of settlements are:

    1. Physical Features:

    a. Nature of terrain

    b. Altitude

    c. Climate

    d. Availability of water

    2. Cultural and Ethnic Factors

    a. Social structure

    b. Caste

    c. Religion

    3. Security Factors

    a. Defence against thefts and robberies

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  • Q3

    Distinguish between compact and dispersed settlements.


    Compact Settlements

    Dispersed Settlements

    1. Compact settlements are normally found in highly productive alluvial plains.

    1. Dispersed settlements are normally found in mountainous high lands ridges, forested areas, deserts and semi-deserts.

    2. Main occupation is agriculture.

    2. Main occupation is cattle-rearing, lumbering etc.

    3. The houses are located adjacent to each other and form a compact block. They are comparatively small in size and provide less living space.

    3. The houses are located at a distance from each other. They are comparatively bigger and provide more living space.

    4. Fields in compact settlements are small.

    4. Fields in dispersed settlements are large.

    5. Streets are generally dirty due to lack of sanitation.

    5. Dispersed settlements are normally neat and clean.

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  • Q4

    The internal structure of Indian rural house is according to the life style, social and economic status of the inhabitants. Explain the statement by giving few examples.


    The rural houses in India are typical in their design and layout. The internal structure of the house is according to the lifestyle, economic and social status of the inhabitants. In India, the rural house types and their building material shows regional distinction and local influences.

    1. A distinguished feature of the Indian house is the courtyard (Angan). It is used for family performances.

    2. In Southern India, a house has more than one courtyard. This has the influence of their temples.

    3. In the fishing villages of Kerala, the courtyard is often open ended.

    4. In the cold and wet highlands, an over hanging verandah is found.

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  • Q5

    Differentiate between Rural and Urban settlements.


    Rural Settlements

    Urban Settlements

    1. People are mainly engaged in primary activities, basically in agriculture.

    1. People are mainly engaged in secondary and tertiary activities of which industry, trade, transportation and services are important.

    2. Rural settlements supply food and other raw materials to the people of urban settlements.

    2. Cities provide goods and services not only for themselves but also for people of the rural countryside, in return for food and raw materials.

    3. The rural settlements depend on land to carry out their primary economic activities. Since each family needs a fairly large area of crop, pasture or forest land, villages are normally of small size. There can be rural settlements of a single family called homestead.

    3. Urban settlements are much larger in size with a few thousand to a few lakh persons living in such settlements. They present a compact look, with closely spaced houses and streets without much open space. Much bigger cities with a population of over one million are called metropolis or megapolis.

    4. Rural people are less mobile and their social relations are intimate. They employ simple techniques to perform their activities and their pace of life is slow.

    4. Life of urban people is complex and fast. Their social relations are formal and institutionalised.

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