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Geography Human Settlements pdf - Rural & Urban Settlements,Functions

Geography Human Settlements pdf – Rural & Urban Settlements,Functions

Settlements can broadly be divided into two types

  • Rural
  • Urban.

Some basic differences between rural and urban areas in general.

The major difference between rural and urban areas is the function.

  • Rural areas have predominantly primary activities, whereas urban areas have domination of secondary and tertiary activities.
  • Generally the rural areas have low density of population than urban.

Settlement Hierarchy

Isolate dwellings

  • Such settlement consists of individual units. It can be termed as the initial state of development of a settlement.
  • An isolated dwelling would only have 1 or 2 buildings or families in it.


  • When many individual units are cluster together they form hamlets. The grouping may be due to similar occupation patterns, religion, cultural factors etc. a hamlet has a tiny population (<100) and very few (if any) service.


  • When many hamlets combine they from a village.
  • The reason for such grouping may be due to interdependencies of one hamlet on another, thus to form a self sufficient unit.


  • A town is a larger entity which is more self sufficient, has a stronger economic base.


  • Where large concentration of people exists, multiple economic activities exist.


  • A metropolis is a large city, with a population of at least one million living in its urban agglomeration.


  • An extensive, metropolitan area or a long chain of continuous metropolitan areas.


Geographers have suggested various schemes of classification. If we group settlements found all over the country, these can broadly be grouped under four categories:

Compact Settlements:

  • These settlements have closely built up area.
  • Therefore in such settlements all the dwellings are concentrated in one central sites and these inhabited area is distinct and separated from the farms and pastures.
  • Maximum settlements of our country comes under this category. They are spread over almost every part of the country.

Semi- Compact Settlement:

  • The dwellings or houses are not well-knitted.
  • Such settlements are characterized by a small but compact nuclears around which hamlets are dispersed. It covers more area than the compact settlements.
  • These settlements are found both in plains and plateaus depending upon the environmental conditions prevailing in that area.

Hamleted Settlements:

  • These type of settlements, are fragmented into several small units.
  • The main settlement does not have much influence on the other units.
  • Very often the original site is not easily distinguishable and these hamlets are often spread over the area with intervening fields.
  • This segregation is often influenced by social and ethnic factors.

Dispersed Settlements:

  • This is also known as isolated settlements.
  • Here the settlement is characterized by units of small size which may consist of a single house to a small group of houses. It varies from two to seven huts.
  • Therefore, in this type, hamlets are scattered over a vast area and does not have any specific pattern.


According to the census of India urban areas are those which satisfy the conditions given below:

(a) All places with a municipality corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee etc.

(b) All other places which satisfy the following criteria:

(i) A minimum population of 5000;

(ii) At least 75 percent of male working population engaged in nonagricultural sector; and

(iii) A density of population of at least 4,000 persons per square kilometer.

Classification of urban settlement

Class Population

  • Class I 1,00,000 and above
  • Class II 50,000 – 99,999
  • Class III 20,000 – 49,999
  • Class IV 10,000 – 19,999
  • Class V 5,000 – 9,999
  • Class VI less than 5,000
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