2.1 What are the distinctive features of settlements?

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The settlement hierarchy

The settlement hierarchy consists of mega cities, cities, towns, villages and hamlets:

-a mega city has a population of 10 million or more

-a city is a centre of population, commerce, and culture; a town of significant size and importance

-a town is usually defined as a centre of business and population with an area in excess of 1 square mile

-a village is a clustered settlement or community, larger than a hamlet, but smaller than a town or city

-a hamlet is a small settlement with a purely residential function. It usually has fewer than 100 inhabitants and no services except perhaps a post box

As you move up the hierarchy, from hamlet to mega city, you get higher order goods and services but the frequency decreases. Also, the range and threshold increases.

Range = the maximum distance people are willing to travel to obtain a good or service

Threshold = the minimum population needed to support a service

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Urban-rural continuum

No place is truly rural or truly urban, they are all shades of grey within the continuum. The boundaries between places are not always clear but there may be some indicating factors e.g. population

The Burgess model shows the CBD as the oldest, most economic district. The inner city has factories and industry with mostly terraced housing. The suburbs contain larger houses that are mainly semi-detached where middle class and commuters live. As you move outwards from the CBD, towards the rural-urban fringe, the land cost decreases and house size increases.

Advantages: most older areas are based on a similar structure

Disadvantages: the model is very old and many things have changed socially since then; new working and housing trends have developed; every city is different; the model may be oversimplifying cities

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Urban-rural continuum

The Hoyt Model allows for city development, expansion of zones and outward progression of growth.

Advantages: looks at the effect of transport links and communication; some cities do follow the model                                                                                                                                              Disadvantages: no reference to the physical environment or out of town services; growth of a sector can be stopped with land use leapfrogging out of the inner city

Harris & Ullman's multiple nuclei model shows that even though a city may have begun with a CBD, other smaller CBD's may develop on the outskirts of the city to allow shorter commutes. This creates nuclei in other parts of the city besides the CBD.

Advantages: suitable for big, expanding cities; clear to understand; it was the first model to consider the compexity of a city rather than oversimplifying it              Disadvantages: it assumes the land is flat with an equal distribution of resources and workers; it doesn't work as well in smaller settlements

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Urban-rural continuum

Mann's model combines the sector theory with the concentric zone model. There are four basic sectors: middle class, lower middle class, working class and lower working class. Each sector displays four zones

Advantages: it is more up to date and can be adapted to fit cities

Disadvantages: it doesn't fit all cities or urban areas

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