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Introduction to Settlement Studies. You will need to know:. Physical factors affecting site and situation Change and growth of settlements over time Functions How size is linked to population, services and sphere of influence Land use patterns and zones within cities

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Introduction to Settlement Studies

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you will need to know
You will need to know:
  • Physical factors affecting site and situation
  • Change and growth of settlements over time
  • Functions
  • How size is linked to population, services and sphere of influence
  • Land use patterns and zones within cities
  • Social, economic and environmental problems linked to urban growth

Copy the checklist into your jotter

  • Solutions to encourage regeneration and development of urban areas
  • Out-of-town shopping centers
  • Commuter villages
  • Traffic congestion
  • Possible solutions to urban traffic problems

We will be using CASE STUDIES and OS MAPWORK



Site and Situation

what is a settlement
What is a settlement?

A settlement is a group of buildings where people live. They range in size from a hamlet (just one building), to a village, to cities and even conurbations (2 cities joined together)!

site and situation
Site and Situation

Historically the location of a settlement would be carefully chosen for various reasons. These are called location factors.

The site of a settlement is the original point at where it first started.

The situation of a settlement is a description of it’s location in reference to what is close by or surrounding it.

Copy the definition for SITE and SITUATION

location factors
Location Factors

Historically many location factors were taken into consideration before deciding on a site:

  • Wet point
  • Building materials
  • Shelter
  • Defensive
  • Bridging point
  • Relief (e.g. flat land)

Read Wider World Foundations p.16 & 17

  • Create a spider diagram, with pictures, showing location factors of a settlement
  • Look at diagram D on p.17. Copy and complete the table below
case study
Case Study

Edinburgh Castle is the original site of Edinburgh. Why do you think this location was chosen?

  • Defensive site (top of castle rock, very steep sided)
  • Wet point (Princes street used to be a lake)
  • Building materials (Holyrood park was full of woodland for building materials and fuelwood etc.)
location factors1
Location Factors

Think of other towns or cities that you know. Why was the site chosen?

  • Musselburgh
  • Glasgow
  • London
  • Draw a sketch of the site of Edinburgh castle

Answer the following questions in your jotter:

  • Where is the original site of Edinburgh?
  • What were the historical advantages of Edinburgh’s site?
rural or urban
Rural or Urban?
  • Most settlements can be described as Rural (e.g. isolated farms, hamlets, villages)

Or Urban (towns, cities, conurbations)

settlement patterns
Settlement Patterns

Although early settlements were influenced by location factors, today the growth and development of settlements is linked to transport routes and land availability.

  • The settlement pattern refers to the shape of the settlement.
  • E.g. dispersed means spread out; nucleated means houses grouped together and linear means houses in a line.
settlement types
Settlement Types


Read p.18 & 19 of Wider World Foundations.

  • Write a definition and draw a sketch to represent each of the following settlement types:
  • Dispersed
  • Nucleated
  • Linear

People go to settlement to use the services like shops, banks, office, entertainment facilities and so on. These are called the functions of a settlement e.g. a function describes the purpose of the settlement.


Port, education, entertainment, tourism, administration, industrial, capital city etc.

Normally the bigger the settlement the more functions it has.


Complete Activities 1 and 2 from the worksheet on Settlement Functions.