Settlement Revision Cards

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  • Created by: ciara
  • Created on: 29-12-13 20:41

Settlement Key Words

Site: The actual land occupied by the settlement (e.g. flat land, on fertile soils)

Situation: the location of the settlement in relation to the area around it (e.g. near a main road)

Function: the main activities of the settlement (e.g. farming, mining)

Shape: the shape of the village (e.g. nucleated, linear, dispersed)

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Rural Settlement and Types of Settlement

In LEDCs, most people live as nomads or villagers in the countryside - despite the growth of large cities. This is mainly because most of them have to provide their own food through farming (subsistence agriculture)

Fact: There are 1.2 billion people in the world who live in absolute poverty (living on less than $1 a day). 75% of these people live in rural areas. 

There are three main types of settlement: nucleated, dispersed and linear. Rural settlements tend to be dispersed or nucleated. 

  • Nucleated: buildings are clustered together, usually around a central point. They can vary in shape and size (e.g. a hamlet or a village)
  • Dispersed: buildings (e.g. farms) are scattered across the countryside, often in highland areas. Villages are often surrounded by dispersed settlements
  • Linear: a settlement that is built along a line (usually along a transport route) 
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Case Study: Rural Settlement in Ethiopia


  • More than 75% of the population depends on agriculture
  • Only 13% of the land can be used for crop production, as the rest is forest, mountain, savanna and pasture land. In fact, Ethopia is the most mountanious country in Africa!
  • The majority of people live in villages or are nomadic pastoralists (farmers who move from place to place to find good pasture)
  • Most people live in the Ethiopian Highlights where there is plenty of rainfall (for crops). Although there are steep slopes, there are also plateaus which provide flat land are are intensely cultivated. Barley, wheat, maize, peas and beans are grown. 

Korodegaga village 

  • Collection of small hamlets south of Addis Ababa
  • Population of 1400 living in 300 houses
  • First settled by nomadic pasturalists
  • Two rivers nearby, however there is a lack of rain
  • Flat fertile soil
  • Shops and markets 8-25km away
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Settlement Hierarchy


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Urban Settlements

In MEDCs, most people live in urban areas. These areas usually having a large sphere of influence

Urban areas provide high order services (goods or sevices bought infrequently and are often expensive). They also sell comparison goods, such as furniture and clothing. People are more likely to travel further to buy these, so they have a big range (the distance people are prepared to travel). 

The minimum number of people needed to make a profit is the threshold population. Urban areas usually have high threshold populations. 

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Functions of Urban Settlements

Market town: Farmers buy and sell goods

Found near farming areas with services such as shops and office. There will also be good transport links

Port: Where goods are loaded and unloaded by ship

Found near sheltered harbours and industrial areas for imports/export. There is also flat land for building

Industrial town: here many people work in factories

Found on or near coalfields. There will be old housing and factories built close to eachother with new industrial estates on the outskirts near main roads for transport

Resort: a place where tourists visit to enjoy themselves

May be on the coast with beaches or in scenic inland aread. Will have good rail and road links near to industrial areas with hotels and entertainment

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Case Study: Urban Land Use in Barcelona

Location and Function

Barcelona is loacted on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Its traditional manufacturing industries have been decling and are being replaced by service industries and high-tech industrial parks. 

Land Use

The CBD has narrow streets, alleyways and small squares, as this is the medieval part of the city.

The area to the south of the medieval city (El Raval) has factories and high-rise tenemant blocks, constructed during the Industrial revolution for workers to live. 

The north of the CBD on the slopes of the hills have large villas, making up the high residential zone (Collserolla Hills). 

However, old factories and industries are now being changed into high-tech industrial parks. An example of a change has been the 1992 Olympic Games Park which was constructed on an abandoned factory site. 

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  • The increase in the proportion of people living in towns and cities
  • Where people move from rural areas (countryside) to urban areas (towns and cities)
  • Before 1950, most urbanisation took place in Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Since 1950, urbanisation has slowed in MEDCs and increased in LEDCs (such as South America, Asia and Africa)
  • LEDCs are urbanising as of push factors of rural areas (lack of resources, lack of work). People also believe that the standard of living in urban areas is a lot higher than rural areas with greater opportunities.
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Case Study: Urbanisation in Mumbai

Urbanisation in India is taking place at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world

By 2030, 41% of India's population will be living in urban areas. Presently, millions of Indians have access to the Internet, mobile phones and TV network. 

People are moving to seek a higher quality of life, a western lifestyle and job opportunities. 

Problems of urbanisation in Mumbai

  • Great strain on urban infrastructure e.g. road networks and public transport, water supplies, power supplies, hospitals and schools
  • Overcrowded - resulting in slums e.g. Dharavi. There are huge contrasts between the rich and the poor. 
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Urban Problems

  • Parts become run down and undesirable
  • Hard to cope with large numbers of people
  • Efforts to provide homes, services, transportation and jobs losing the race against rapid population growth
  • Noise pollution
  • Increase in crime
  • Overcrowdedness
  • Traffic conjestion

Solving these problems:

Comprehensive redevelopment: When all the buildings are knocked down and the area is commpletely rebuilt

Urban Regeneration: Renevation of existing housing and improvement of the environment and economy (e.g. double glazing, cleaning outside of houses, improving social facilities)

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Case Study: Urban Problems and Solutions in Cairo


  • Rapid growth from 2 million to 18 million by 2000 as a result of urban migration and natural increase
  • Increasing demands for piped water, sewers, schools, paved roads and electricity
  • Traffic congestion, along with noise, air and water pollution
  • Lack of housing: half a million people live in homemade huts on roof spaces of office blocks and flats
  • Lack of jobs: jobs for unskilled workers are very hard to find with low salaries


  • New sateillite and dormitory towns built around the city
  • Ring road built, encircling the city
  • People with donkey carts licensed to collect and recycle garbage
  • Homes and public services upgraded in the most run down parts of the city
  • Modern metro system built
  • Greater Cairo Waste Water Project to extend and repair the sewage system
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Urban Sprawl

50% of the planet's population lives in fast-growing congested cities. As populations increase in urban areas, urban sprawl takes place. 

Urban sprawl tends to be unplanned in LEDCs and planned in MEDCs. However, in both cases the urban area expands into the countryside, affecting people and changing the environment at the rural-urban fringe.

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Case Study: Urban Sprawl in Atlanta

Between 2000 and 2006, Atlanta added 1 million residents to its total - the fastest-growing metropolitan city in the USA. 

Atlanta was established in the 1840s in woodland. It was called the 'City of the Forest' with good railway lines to the south-east USA. An airport was built and it became a financial centre. Recently, population growth has been caused by newcomers from cities around the Great Lakes where unemployment is high. Others have moved to Atlanta's relatively cheap housing. 


  • Traffic congestion
  • Air quality decrease
  • Water quality and quantity decrease
  • Agricultural land lost to developments
  • Loss of ecosystems
  • Impermeable surfaces means that floods are more likely
  • Cultural loss
  • Hotlanta - the removal of trees and increase in concrete has encouraged more heat build up and temperatures have rose to up to 10 degrees celcius than the countryside. 
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