Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Basics of human settlement

In examining human settlement in relation to water and transportation, it is helpful to know how settlement patterns are classified. Settlement geography is the study of resource use, density patterns, and settlement growth. Density patterns are studied to determine their underlying causes, and what sustains or changes them.
There are three distinct types of settlement pattern:

1. Dispersed

Settlement is relatively uniform in density and does not occur around a specific point.
This type of settlement is common in Southern England, for example. The landscape there is primarily agricultural, and consists of fields intersected by rural roads and lines of trees.
File:Bocage boulonnais.jpg
2. Linear

Settlement occurs along rivers or transportation routes like railroads and highways.
Champlain, Québec, has remained visibly linear. Many towns expand outward along the line of origin and can become less distinguishable over time.

3. Nuclear

Settlement occurs around a single point: a bay or inlet, crossroads, river mouth, industrial centre.

These three types have recurred throughout the existence of civilization, and is highly relevant to urban planning, transportation, infrastructure, and business.

Alex Willms
November 9, 2010


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