Human settlement

In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas. Settlements may include hamlets, villages, towns and cities. A settlement may have known historical properties such as the date or era in which it was first settled, or first settled by particular people.

In the field of geospatial predictive modeling, settlements are "a city, town, village or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".[1]

A settlement conventionally includes its constructed facilities such as roads, enclosures, field systems, boundary banks and ditches, ponds, parks and woods, wind and water mills, manor houses, moats and churches.[2]

The oldest remains that have been found of constructed dwellings are remains of huts that were made of mud and branches around 17,000 BC at the Ohalo site (now underwater) near the edge of the Sea of Galilee. The Natufians built houses, also in the Levant, around 10,000 BC. Remains of settlements such as villages become much more common after the invention of agriculture.

Flora OR - aerial
The small town of Flora, Oregon in the United States is unincorporated, but is considered a populated place.
Taos Pueblo2
Taos Pueblo, an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1000 years old and lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico.

In landscape history

Eoste Keldrimägi
Some settlement sites may go out of use. This location in Estonia was used for human settlement in 2nd half of first millennium and it is considered an archaeological record, that may provide information on how people lived back then.

Landscape history studies the form (morphology) of settlements – for example whether they are dispersed or nucleated. Urban morphology can thus be considered a special type of cultural-historical landscape studies. Settlements can be ordered by size, centrality or other factors to define a settlement hierarchy. A settlement hierarchy can be used for classifying settlement all over the world, although a settlement called a 'town' in one country might be a 'village' in other countries; or a 'large town' in some countries might be a 'city' in others.



Geoscience Australia defines a populated place as "a named settlement with a population of 200 or more persons".[3]

The Committee for Geographical Names in Australasia used the term localities for rural areas, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics uses the term "urban centres/localities" for urban areas.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Agency for Statistics in Bosnia and Herzegovina uses the term "populated place" for rural, and "municipality" and "town" for urban areas.


The Bulgarian Government publishes a National Register of Populated places (NRPP).


The Canadian government uses the term "populated place" in the Atlas of Canada, but does not define it.[4] Statistics Canada uses the term localities for historical named locations.


The Croatian Bureau of Statistics records population in units called settlements (naselja).


The Census Commission of India has a special definition of census towns.


The Central Statistics Office of the Republic of Ireland has a special definition of census towns.


There are various types of inhabited localities in Russia.


Statistics Sweden uses the term localities (tätort) for various densely populated places. The common English-language translation is urban areas.

United Kingdom

The UK Department for Communities and Local Government uses the term "urban settlement" to denote an urban area when analysing census information.[5] The Registrar General for Scotland defines settlements as groups of one or more contiguous localities, which are determined according to population density and postcode areas. The Scottish settlements are used as one of several factors defining urban areas.[6]

United States

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a Geographic Names Information System that defines three classes of human settlement:

  1. Populated placeplace or area with clustered or scattered buildings and a permanent human population (city, settlement, town, village). A populated place is usually not incorporated and by definition has no legal boundaries. However, a populated place may have a corresponding "civil" record, the legal boundaries of which may or may not coincide with the perceived populated place.[7]
  2. Census − a statistical area delineated locally specifically for the tabulation of Census Bureau data (census designated place, census county division, unorganized territory, various types of American Indian/Alaska Native statistical areas).[7]
  3. Civil − a political division formed for administrative purposes (borough, county, incorporated place, municipio, parish, town, township)."[7]

Populated places may be specifically defined in the context of censuses and be different from general-purpose administrative entities, such as "place" as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau or census-designated places.

Geospatial modeling

In the field of geospatial predictive modeling, settlements are "a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".[1]

The Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) framework produces global spatial information about the human presence on the planet over time. This in the form of built up maps, population density maps and settlement maps. This information is generated with evidence-based analytics and knowledge using new spatial data mining technologies. The framework uses heterogeneous data including global archives of fine-scale satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information. The data is processed fully automatically and generates analytics and knowledge reporting objectively and systematically about the presence of population and built-up infrastructures. The GHSL operates in an open and free data and methods access policy (open input, open method, open output).

Abandoned populated places

Namibie Kolmanskop 05
Abandoned buildings in Kolmanskop, Namibia[8]

The term "Abandoned populated places" is a Feature Designation Name in databases sourced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency[9] and GeoNames.[10]

Populated places can be abandoned. Sometimes the structures are still easily accessible, such as in a ghost town, and these may become tourist attractions. Some places that have the appearance of a ghost town, however, may still be defined as populated places by government entities.

A town may become a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, because of a government action, such as the building of a dam that floods the town, or because of natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, uncontrolled lawlessness, or war. The term is sometimes used to refer to cities, towns, and neighborhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in years past.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dutta, Biswanath; Fausto Giunchiglia; Vincenzo Maltese (2010). "A Facet-Based Methodology for Geo-Spatial Modeling". GeoSpatial Semantics: 4th International Conference, GeoS 2011, Brest, France (PDF). p. 143.
  2. ^ Medieval Settlement Research Group
  3. ^ "NTMS Specifications (250K & 100K): Populated place". Australian Government. Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Glossary Search Results". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  5. ^ Urban Settlement 2001
  6. ^ Scottish census information Archived 2010-12-18 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b c "Feature Class Definitions". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  8. ^ "Maps of Kolmanskop – Namibia 2012". Map Atlas – Google Maps based atlas of the world. 2012. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  9. ^ "Feature Designation Code Lookup". NGA: Geonames Search – OGC Viewer. Springfield, VA, USA: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on January 2, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  10. ^ "GeoNames Feature Codes". GeoNames. GeoNames. February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.

A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a gulf, sea, sound, or bight. A cove is a type of smaller bay with a circular inlet and narrow entrance. A fjord is a particularly steep bay shaped by glacial activity.

A bay can be the estuary of a river, such as the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary of the Susquehanna River. Bays may also be nested within each other; for example, James Bay is an arm of Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada. Some large bays, such as the Bay of Bengal and Hudson Bay, have varied marine geology.

The land surrounding a bay often reduces the strength of winds and blocks waves. Bays were significant in the history of human settlement because they provided safe places for fishing. Later they were important in the development of sea trade as the safe anchorage they provide encouraged their selection as ports.


Ekistics concerns the science of human settlements, including regional, city, community planning and dwelling design. The study involves every kind of human settlement, with particular attention to geography, ecology, human psychology, anthropology, culture, politics, and occasionally aesthetics.

As a scientific mode of study, ekistics currently relies on statistics and description, organized in five ekistic elements or principles: nature, anthropos, society, shells, and networks. It is generally a more scientific field than urban planning, and has considerable overlap with some of the less restrained fields of architectural theory.

In application, conclusions are drawn aimed at achieving harmony between the inhabitants of a settlement and their physical and socio-cultural environments.


Fieldstone is a naturally occurring type of stone, which lies at or near the surface of the Earth. Fieldstone is a nuisance for farmers seeking to expand their land under cultivation, but at some point it began to be used as a construction material. Strictly speaking, it is stone collected from the surface of fields where it occurs naturally. Collections of fieldstones which have been removed from arable land or pasture to allow for more effective agriculture are called clearance cairns.

In practice, fieldstone is any architectural stone used in its natural shape and can be applied to stones recovered from the topsoil or subsoil. Although fieldstone is generally used to describe such material when used for exterior walls, it has come to include its use in other ways including garden features and interiors. It is sometimes cut or split for use in architecture.


Hacilar is an early human settlement in southwestern Turkey, 23 km south of present-day Burdur. It has been dated back 7040 BC at its earliest stage of development. Archaeological remains indicate that the site was abandoned and reoccupied on more than one occasion in its history.

Homestead (buildings)

A homestead is a dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.In North America the word "homestead" historically referred to land claimed by a settler or squatter under the Homestead Act (USA) or Dominion Lands Act (Canada). In Old English the term was used to mean a human settlement, and in Southern Africa the term is used for a cluster of several houses normally occupied by a single extended family.


Kandanissery is a small village in the Indian state of Kerala.

'Guruvayur' a well known Hindu pilgrimage centre is very near to Kandanissery.

There is no idea about the origin of name 'Kandanissery'.

Human settlement began in this area around bc 1000. The very fertile soil and plenty of water attracted human settlement. Paddy and Coconut were main crops.

We can see the remains of Jaina and Brahmin settlement here. Small caves known as 'munimada' still intact, kudakkallu an old burial site is in the border of kandnaissery. Some old temples are clear evidence of Brahmin settlement. In distant past small group of Brahmins dominate over Ezhavas by political power and money. By some unknown reason's a type of revolution began in ezhava community and it leads to the crush of the Brahmin settlement. This is a real setback to Brahmins, they are refugee's in their own land.They pass some of their properties and Goddess to a Nair family. Thus the ownership of 40%land goes to the hand of Nair family. At that time some ezhava families possess huge area of land. Some other families possess land by giving rent to the chiralayam raja family and choondakathu othalur mana. After the retreat of Brahmin's some ezhava families became exploiters of poor peasant's. It end after the Indian independence, by the bill of 'land reform' by the communist government in Kerala headed by E.M. Sankaran Nambudirippad.

List of first human settlements

This is a list of dates associated with the prehistoric peopling of the world (first known presence of Homo sapiens).

The list is divided into four categories, Middle Paleolithic (before 50,000 years ago),

Upper Paleolithic (50,000 to 12,500 years ago), Holocene (12,500 to 500 years ago) and Modern (Age of Sail and modern exploration).

List entries are identified by region (in the case of genetic evidence spatial resolution is limited) or region, country or island, with the date of the first known or hypothesised modern human presence (or "settlement", although Paleolithic humans were not sedentary).

Human "settlement" does not necessarily have to be continuous; settled areas in some cases become depopulated due to environmental conditions, such as glacial periods or the Toba volcanic eruption. Early Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa from as early as 270,000 years ago, although permanent presence outside of Africa may not have been established until after about 70,000 years ago.

Magura National Park

Magura National Park (Polish: Magurski Park Narodowy) is a National Park located in the south-east of Poland, close to Slovakia, on the boundary of Lesser Poland Voivodeship and Subcarpathian Voivodeship. It covers the main part of the upper basin of the Wisłoka river. When the Park was created in 1995 it covered 199.62 km², although it is now only 194.39 km2 (75.05 sq mi), of which 185.31 km² is forest.

The Park takes its name from the massif known as Magura Wątkowska, after Wątkowa, its highest peak. Magura is also the name of the second-highest peak of this massif.


In geography, an oasis (; plural: oases ) is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area (often a date palm grove) in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases also provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants.

Pindai Caves

The Pindai Caves of New Caledonia are an archaeological and palaeontological site important for the study of prehistoric human settlement as well as of the Holocene fauna of the island. The Pindai area has been occupied by humans for varying periods over the last 2,800 years.


Settlement may refer to:

Human settlement, a community where people live

Settlement (structural), the distortion or disruption of parts of a building

Settlement (closing), the final step in executing a real estate transaction

Settlement (finance), where securities are delivered against payment of money

Settlement (litigation), a resolution between disputing parties about a legal case

Settlement (trust), a deed whereby property is given by a settlor into trust

Settlement (Croatia)

The territory of Croatia is divided by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics into small settlements, in Croatian naselje (singular, pl. naselja). They indicate existing or former human settlement (similar to the United States census designated places or the UK census output areas - OA) and are not necessarily incorporated places. Rather, the administrative units (local authorities) are cities (grad, pl. gradovi) and municipalities (općina, pl. općine), which are composed of one or more settlements (naselja). As of 2008, there are 6,749 settlements in Croatia.Rural individual settlements are by and large referred to as selo (village; pl. sela). Municipalities (or comunes) in Croatia comprise one or more, usually, rural settlements. A city usually includes an eponymous large settlement which in turn consists of several urban and suburban settlements. The Constitution of Croatia allows a naselje or a part thereof to form some form of local government. This form of local government is typically used to subdivide larger municipality and city settlements; municipality may comprise several units named mjesni odbor (local committee/board), a city usually consists of several units (which may comprise one or more settlements) named gradski kotar (city district; pl. gradski kotari), gradska četvrt (city district or city borough; pl. gradske četvrti) in the city of Zagreb, and/or mjesni odbor (local committee/board; pl. mjesni odbori).

Settlement hierarchy

A settlement hierarchy is a way of arranging settlements into a hierarchy based upon their population or some other criteria. The term is used by landscape historians and in the National Curriculum for England. The term is also used in the planning system for the UK and for some other countries such as Ireland, India and Switzerland. The term was used without comment by the geographer Brian Roberts in 1972.A settlement's population size, its geographic area, its status and the availability of services can all affect this hierarchy. Position in a settlement hierarchy can also depend on the sphere of influence. This is how far people will travel to use the services in the settlement: if people travel further the town becomes more important and ranks higher in the settlement hierarchy.

Spit (landform)

A spit or sandspit is a deposition bar or beach landform off coasts or lake shores. It develops in places where re-entrance occurs, such as at a cove's headlands, by the process of longshore drift by longshore currents. The drift occurs due to waves meeting the beach at an oblique angle, moving sediment down the beach in a zigzag pattern. This is complemented by longshore currents, which further transport sediment through the water alongside the beach. These currents are caused by the same waves that cause the drift.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I) held in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976. UN-Habitat maintains its headquarters at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The mandate of UN-Habitat derives from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.

Since January 2018 the Executive Director is Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who had served as the Mayor of Penang Island prior to her appointment in UN-Habitat by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.


A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though villages are often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighborhoods. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement.In the past, villages were a usual form of community for societies that practice subsistence agriculture, and also for some non-agricultural societies. In Great Britain, a hamlet earned the right to be called a village when it built a church. In many cultures, towns and cities were few, with only a small proportion of the population living in them. The Industrial Revolution attracted people in larger numbers to work in mills and factories; the concentration of people caused many villages to grow into towns and cities. This also enabled specialization of labor and crafts, and development of many trades. The trend of urbanization continues, though not always in connection with industrialization.

Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defence, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed. Traditional fishing villages were based on artisan fishing and located adjacent to fishing grounds.


Vissulaid (Swedish: Vasiholm) is a small, uninhabited island in the Baltic Sea belonging to the country of Estonia. Its coordinates are 59°00′40″N 22°50′26″EVissulaid lies just off the northern coast of the island of Hiiumaa, and as such, it is administered by Hiiu County. The closest human settlement to Vissulaid is Kärdla, which lies just southwest of Vissulaid on Hiiumaa.

William Lukuvi

William Vangimembe Lukuvi (born 15 August 1955) is a Tanzanian CCM politician and Member of Parliament for Ismani constituency. At present, he is the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development.

World map

A world map is a map of most or all of the surface of the Earth. World maps form a distinctive category of maps due to the problem of projection. Maps by necessity distort the presentation of the earth's surface. These distortions reach extremes in a world map. The many ways of projecting the earth reflect diverse technical and aesthetic goals for world maps.World maps are also distinct for the global knowledge required to construct them. A meaningful map of the world could not be constructed before the European Renaissance because less than half of the earth's coastlines, let alone its interior regions, were known to any culture. New knowledge of the Earth's surface has been accumulating ever since and continues to this day.

Maps of the world generally focus either on political features or on physical features. Political maps emphasize territorial boundaries and human settlement. Physical maps show geographic features such as mountains, soil type or land use. Geological maps show not only the surface, but characteristics of the underlying rock, fault lines, and subsurface structures. Choropleth maps use color hue and intensity to contrast differences between regions, such as demographic or economic statistics.

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