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AS SETTLEMENT. SITE FACTORS. 1 - Protection / Defence

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As settlement



As settlement


1 - Protection / Defence

It was especially important to protect settlements from those who wished to attack. A good vantage point to watch for this was a hill, and many castles and forts were built on hills to watch for attackers. However due to technology, most of these vantage points are no longer as important. Missiles can be used to attack places 100s of km away.

As settlement

2 – Plenty of Water

Washing, drinking and cooking all need water, and it was vital to have an adequate supply especially during the summer. Rivers are also good for transport. Springs, wells and rivers provided supplies. Today most of the water is now piped water. It can be made available everywhere as long as money and technology is available.

As settlement

3 – Not Too Much Water/Flood avoidance

It was important then and is still important to ensure that settlements are not built on areas that will flood, or are marshy (as the settlement will sink). This isn't always possible to see, particularly if the floods only occur every few years, or there isn't a flood whilst building the settlement.

As settlement

4 – Ease of communication

Rivers can be useful supplies of water in themselves, or agents of flooding. But what is important about rivers as a site factor is that they can be crossed, either by bridge or ford. A river that couldn't be crossed would have been a problem for early settlements, if they couldn't escape across a river during an attack. Rivers can now be crossed by building bridges, but these are expensive.

As settlement

5 – Building Materials

Either wood or stone was needed to build early settlements, so a forest, wood or hillside with crags was needed to provide the materials. This is not so important today, as houses are built of brick and slate, which are easily provided. This has been made possible by technology in construction.

As settlement

6 – Supply of Wood/Fuel

Not as important today, but early settlements would need wood for fuel. It was therefore vital that the settlement was near trees.

As settlement

7 – Flat Land

It is extremely difficult to build a settlement on land with a gradient (such as a hillside) and so land should be flat wherever possible. This should not be confused, as it often is, with low-lying land: the top of a high hill or plateau could be flat too. It is possible to build a settlement now on a gradient, but it is much more time consuming and expensive.

As settlement

8 – Shelter/Aspect

It is important the direction that the settlement faces, and this is geographically known as aspect. In early settlements, it was important that agricultural land faced south so that the sun shone directly on the land. Building a settlement in a valley provided a way to keep out of harsh winter winds.

As settlement

Arable Land for Crops

The idea location was in an area suitable for both the rearing of animals and growing crops. The quality and quantity of farm produce depended on climate, soil fertility and type.

As settlement


This is the actual place where a settlement is located.

E. g. on a river bend, on top of a hill, etc.

As settlement


The location of a settlement in relation to the surrounding area.

E. g. ‘near a bridging point’ or ‘on a route centre’.

As settlement


The purpose for which the settlement grew up.

E. g. port, ecclesiastical centre, regional centre, industrial centre, newtown, etc.

As settlement


The shape of the settlement.

There are six forms shown on your handout which will now be covered in detail. Add any extra notes to your sheet.

As settlement

1 – Isolated

This is usually a farmhouse found either in areas of extreme adverse physical conditions or in areas of pioneer settlement where land was divided into planned lots.

As settlement

2 – Dispersed

This consists of 2 - 3 buildings, perhaps forming a hamlet, and separated from the next small group of buildings by 2 - 3 km.

As settlement

3 – Nucleated

Buildings grouped together, originally for defensive purposes as well as for social and economic reasons. Usually found around a cross-roads

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4 – Loose Knit

Similar to the nucleated type, but the buildings are not so close together. They are spread out around the settlement.

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5 – Lineated

The buildings in this type of settlement are strung out along a road, river, dyke or canal in a line.

As settlement

6 – Planned

These are near enough to large cities to house the workforce. Tend to contain small crescent shaped estates with individual buildings on.

As settlement

  • PULL FACTORS (Why people are attracted to another place)

  • Better job opportunities

  • Electricity and a better standard of living

  • EDUCATION for themselves and their children – education is seen as the way out of the poverty trap

  • HOSPITALS – better health care and vaccinations

  • Feel safe – police force

  • PUSH FACTORS (Why people leave a particular area)

  • Disease

  • To escape a natural disaster

  • Not enough land to go around

  • Large family sizes and absence of contraception (condoms,pill) means that there are many unemployed

  • Crop failure – people are starving so flee to the city to start a new life

  • Lack of government investment in rurul areas

  • Heard of friends / family who have “made it” in the city and so go and join them

As settlement

  • Urbanization: (= an increasing number of people living in urban areas (cities)). There are 3 main causes of this:

  • People migrating from the countryside to the city (common in LEDCs – eg Mexico City)

  • People migrating from other countries (international migration)

  • More babies born to the people who migrate to the city – who are generally young anyway

  • In MEDCs the reverse is often occuring where people are moving from the city into the countryside = COUNTER-URBANIZATION

As settlement



  • Government cannot cope with housing demands

  • Lead pollution from cars – like smoking 60 cigs per day

  • Have to work 16hr day

  • 12,000 tons of toxic smog per day

  • 11,000 tons rubbish generated

  • Water pollution > goes into farms and affects fruit sold and goes through food chain

  • Gap between rich and poor

  • Solutions


  • = collectively working together to build houses

  • Free nursery care so mums can go to work and so children can go to school

  • New underground

  • New ringroads

  • New lead free buses

  • Attracting investment to city centre

  • Tax incentives

  • Need co-operation between MEDCS and LEDCS


  • From Puebla

  • No work

  • Poor contraception

  • Few schools

  • Poor healthcare

  • 80% no running water

  • Trade and communications difficult


  • To Mexico City – to Valle Gomez = Shanty Town

  • Jobs

  • Healthcare

  • Schools

  • Entertainment – BRIGHT LIGHTS EFFECT

  • Better standard of living

  • Heard of family / friends who have made it in city

As settlement

  • 3. Materials

  • Mud, straw, corrugated iron, cardboard, wood, plastic sheeting, tiles, basic building blocks / bricks


  • 2. Names given:

  • Favelas

  • Bustees

  • Squatter Settlements

4. Typically found on cheap

Unwanted land near rivers

Or railways or places prone

To landslides

Where poor migrants have

come to set up basic homes

using whatever materials

they can – eg Mexico City

  • 5. Origin of people

  • Most are rural migrants

  • They move in steps – from rural areas to small towns – then large towns – then cities

6. Sense of community

Everyone is in it

Together. Chance of starting

A self help scheme

  • 7. Conditions and problems

  • Few doctors in their local area – have to travel a long way

  • Poor infrastructure (roads) – eg South Africa

  • Water has initially to be collected – not piped to the house

  • Long hours – low pay – eg taxi drivers

  • Education costs and often have to send children a long way in the city

Case study urbanisation in cairo egypt geoactive 156

Case Study:Urbanisation In Cairo, Egypt(Geoactive 156)

Push factors from countryside

Push Factors - from countryside

  • Drought in desert

  • unreliable weather, bad for growing crops, no water.

  • unreliable water supply, runs out.

  • no jobs

  • unpleasant conditions

Pull factors to urban areas

Pull Factors - to urban areas

  • Irrigated, fertile land on the Nile delta

  • reliable water supply

  • “bright lights of city” effect

  • job opportunities

  • inertia - if people move, others will follow

As settlement

  • New, modern European additions to the city, such as Parisian style boulevards and commercial centres, as well as bridges and transport links.

  • New suburbs built.

  • Egypt becomes free of European control.

Urban problems

Urban Problems

  • Strain on services - demand for piped water, sewers, schools, paved roads and electricity.

  • Traffic congestion, air pollution and water pollution

  • housing shortages - people live in The City of the Dead = old cemetary

As settlement

  • Lack of permanent jobs

  • illegal housing is built on ‘green’ land, and protected farmland

  • overcrowding, lack of basic sanitation and poor refuse collection, in temperatures of 40oC +, leads to disease and illness.

  • 3 million people now live in the city of the dead in the tombs of old Cairo

  • people are squatters on rooftops of office buildings and flats in home made huts

As settlement

  • Private landlords illegally add extra storeys to their existing blocks of flats

  • rich poor imbalance - very few rich, many poor

  • no enforcement of catalytic converters on cars, or unleaded fuel, this leads to toxic smog

  • low pay for jobs, and unskilled jobs are hard to come by

  • polluted sewage water raises the water table, and rots the foundations of buildings



  • Gentrification - improving city

  • building a new sewage system (greater Cairo sewage project)

  • Zabbaleen people given official contract to collect waste and sewage

As settlement

  • New satellite and dormitory town are built in areas around Cairo

  • a massive new ring road and metro system have been built

  • waste is seen as a resource

  • a drop in birth rate may be the best solution long-term

Urban structure

Urban Structure

  • Differences in the structure of urban areas can lead to differences in the quality of life of the inhabitants.

What do you need to know today?

2. Urban models attempt to show those differences.

Urban model 1 burgess concentric zone model

Urban Model 1:Burgess’ Concentric Zone Model

Burgess suggested that towns grew outward from the centre in a concentric pattern. This means that buildings become more recent closer to the edge of a city. It is possible that up to 5 rings may develop:

A - Central Business District (CBD):

- most accessible to the largest number of people

- contains services such as shops, offices, banks, etc.

- multi-storey buildings as land is very expensive (build upwards to save cost)

As settlement


As settlement

Urban Model 1:Burgess’ Concentric Zone Model

B - ‘Twilight Zone’ - has 2 sections:

1 - wholesale light manufacturing (transitional)

2 - low class residential (old inner city areas):

- 19 Century terraced buildings

- no gardens

- cheap, dirty slum areas

- GRID IRON street pattern

- high rise blocks were built after slums were pulled down

- attract crime

- old industries found here

As settlement

Inner City

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As settlement

£49,500 INNER CITY

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Urban Model 1:Burgess’ Concentric Zone Model

C - Council Estates:

Semi-detached housing with gardens in large estates. Less expensive private estates also here. Not top quality (medium class residential). INTER WAR AREA

D - Commuter Zone:

High class residential area. Private, top quality housing. Detached and semi-detached on cheap land. People can live here as are prepared to pay to get to work.

As settlement

INNER SUBURBS - Medium Quality Residential

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As settlement


As settlement

Urban Model 1:Burgess’ Concentric Zone Model

E - Countryside Areas

(suburb / exurbs):

Countryside surrounding the urban area. Can also contain villages / hamlets in which town / city workers live.

As settlement

Countryside and Greenbelt land

As settlement

City Transect

Increase in vegetation

This city transect shows a cross section through a city. The CBD is located in the centre of the diagram and the other areas are clearly marked. On your diagram, add 10 labelled arrows which show changes in the three quality of life environments towards and away from the centre of the city. Examples: traffic, costs, vegetation, etc.

As settlement

City Transect

Examples of labels

Increase in vegetation

Increase in building height

Decrease in traffic congestion

Increase in crime

Increase in housing cost

Decrease in space

Decrease in land costs

Increase in competition for land

Decrease in services

Decrease in car ownership

As settlement

Urban Model 2:Hoyts’ Sector Model

Hoyt proposed the idea that towns grew as sectors or "wedges". That means that if, for example, industry grew up in one part of a 19th century town, future industry would then develop in that sector. As the town grew, so would the area of industry and therefore it would grow out in a wedge shape.

A – Central Business District

B1 – Wholesale Light Manufacturing

B2 – Low Class Residential

C – Council Estates

D – Commuter Zone (Suburbs)

E - Countryside

As settlement

Urban Model 3:LEDC Model

Cities in LEDCs have a very different land use pattern to those in MEDCs. The CBD is dominated by modern administrative and commercial activities. Richer people live in modern high-rise apartments around the CBD. Recently arrived migrants from rural areas live in derelict land and on the outskirts.

Housing quality decreases with distance from the CBD, unlike in MEDCs, where quality increases with distance from the CBD.

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