SETTLEMENT PATTERNS

As settlements develop and grow, they form identifiable settlement patterns which we have explained in detail below. You can see the different settlement patterns complete with illustrations and defintions. Best identified from the air, we look at: linear settlements, nucleated settlements and dispersed settlements. Read on to see if you can identify these settlements from the air too. 
Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

Settlement patterns

Settlement geography | Homes around the world

Early settlers forming villages would often live together for safety, for friendship, and to share services. These early settlements would take on distinctive patterns based on the shape of the land around them. Here we can see some examples of different settlement patterns. 

What is a settlement pattern?

A settlement pattern refers to the shape of the settlement as seen from above. The shapes of early settlements were influenced by the surrounding landscape. They were also shaped by other factors such as who owned the land and whether the land was good for building on or not. Some examples of settlement patterns include, nucleated settlements, linear settlements and dispersed settlements

Nucleated Settlements

Definition of a

nucleated settlement: 

Nucleated settlements are ones where the houses are grouped closely together, often around a central feature like a church, pub or village green. New settlements that are planned often have a nucleated pattern. 

 

Example of a

nucleated settlement:

Little Thetford in England.

 

Other names for

nucleated setlement:

clustered settlement.

nucleated settlement example |  nucleated settlement pattern

Little Thetford in England is an example of a nucleated village. 

Linear settlements

nucleated settlement example |  nucleated settlement pattern

Champlain, Quebec, Canada is an example of a linear settlement. 

Definition of a linear settlement: 

Linear settlements are settlements where the buildings are constructed in lines, often next to a geographical feature like a lake shore, a river or following a road. 

Where linear settlements follow a road, the road often predates the settlement. 

 

Example of a linear settlement:

Champlain, Quebec, Canada is an example of a linear settlement.

 

Other names for linear settlement:

Chain village or ribbon development.

Dispersed settlements

Definition of a dispersed settlement: 

Dispersed settlements are ones where the houses are spread out over a wide area. They are often the homes of farmers and can be found in rural areas. 

 

Example of a dispersed settlement:

Brülisau, Switzerland is an example of a linear settlement.

 

nucleated settlement example |  nucleated settlement pattern

Brülisau in Switzerland is an example of a dispersed village. 

Linear development in the Amazon rainforest.

linear settlements

The deforestation in the rainforest is started by building a road deep into the forest. Then farmers settle along the road. They chop down trees and extend their fields away from the road.