Settlement is a collection of buildings with people living in them. It is a centre for human activities and it consists of houses, communication networks, roads, tracks, railways etc. It could be one house, a group of houses, a village, a town or a city. For it to be a settlement, features like buildings and living together must be there.
FACTORS OR CONDITIONS FOR SITING A SETTLEMENT
- There must be adequate and dependable water supply for human use.
- The soil must be fertile to promote agricultural activities.
- Land must be lowland and well drained for easy erection of buildings.
- The presence of good roads, railway, airport etc. may promote easy settlement of people in a place.
- The area should be well protected against invading enemies.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE GROWTH OF SETTLEMENT
- People are likely to settle in areas that are easily accessible by roads, rails, etc. and these tend to increase the growth of such settlements.
- People tend to settle in areas where economic activities such as trading, farming, mining, etc. take place so as to get jobs in such areas.
- People also settle in places which are seats of government as social amenities and other facilities are often provided.
- Fertile soils tend to attract people for intensive agricultural activities, hence, the growth of such settlement. The soil must also be well drained for human habitation.
- Absence of both natural and man-made disasters in a place tends to attract people to such areas, hence, the growth of such settlement.
- The presence of lowlands favors settlement unlike rugged relief and highlands which repel settlement of people.
- Favorable climate also tends to attract people to an area which equally leads to the growth of a settlement.
CLASSIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT ACCORDING TO TYPES
There are two main types of settlements. These are:
- Rural settlements.
- Urban settlements.
- RURAL SETTLEMENTS
- A rural settlement is a relatively small area with socially homogenous people that know one another very well.
- It could be nucleated, dispersed or linear.
- They have people with the same cultural background and language.
- They are normally made up of few buildings with people ranging from one family to few hundreds.
- They have few social amenities and the life style is simple and quiet.
- They are normally involved in primary activities such as farming, fishing and lumbering.
TYPES OF RURAL SETTLEMENTS
There are three types of rural settlement. These are:
- Homestead: This is a one family residence. These are dispersed settlements which are separated from one another by bushes or by geographical barriers and contain very few people with little opportunity for social gathering.
- Hamlet: This settlement may be nucleated with few houses, usually less than a hundred with many people living in them.
- Village: This is a large nucleated rural settlement formed from the combination of several hamlets. It contains several hundred or a thousand of people with limited services.
FUNCTIONS OF RURAL (VILLAGE) SETTLEMENT
- Agriculture is usually the main occupation of rural dwellers, leading to the production of abundant food.
- Most rural areas with forest are engaged in lumbering activities.
- There is few commercial activities, mostly in petty trading, using their small shops and local markets.
- Most rural areas with rivers are also involved in fishing.
- Rural areas with churches or mosques are involved in religious activities.
PROBLEMS FACING RURAL SETTLEMENTS
- Inadequate infrastructures.
- Rural depopulation.
- Loss of farmland.
- Low agricultural production.
- Slow rate of development, e.g. banks, insurance etc. are lacking.
- Inadequate social amenities.
- URBAN SETTLEMENTS
- An urban settlement is a relatively large, densely populated settlement with socially heterogeneous people who do not know one another very well.
- They usually have nucleated settlements.
- They have people with different cultural backgrounds and different languages,
- They are made up of many buildings with thousands of people living in them.
- They have abundance of social amenities like pipe borne water, electricity, etc.
- They are mainly involved in secondary and tertiary activities such as manufacturing, construction and many other service oriented jobs.
- They are usually compact in nature.
- They exhibit impersonal or individualistic behavior.
- They are centres of innovation and ideas.
- They are usually well built up areas.
- They constitute seats of administration.
- There is the presence of developed infrastructure.
- There is high rate of congestion.
- There is the problem of poor waste management.
TYPES OF URBAN SETTLEMENTS
There are four main types of urban settlements and these are:
- Town: It has several thousands of people.
- City: This is a large town with greater number of people than town.
- Conurbation: This is made up of several towns joined together but, each town still maintains its identity.
- Megalopolis: This is the largest type of urban settlement made up of large cities with several millions of people.
FUNCTIONS OF URBAN SETTLEMENT
- Owing to the presence of industries, urban centres are involved in the manufacturing of finished goods.
- The presence of markets and banks enables urban dwellers to engage in commercial activities.
- Most urban centres are the seats of government e.g. state capitals and local government headquarters. Hence, the need to perform administrative jobs.
- Urban settlements are centres for the establishment of universities, polytechnics, schools, churches, mosques and hotels.
- Where minerals are present in some towns, the inhabitants tend to perform mining functions.
- Owing to large concentration of people in urban settlement, the need therefore arises to build residential houses to cope with the ever increasing population.
WAYS IN WHICH URBAN SETTLEMENTS DIFFER FROM ONE ANOTHER
- Site (physical location).
- Situation (location in relation to other areas).
- Plan and layout (structure).
- Outlook (cleanliness, beauty, quality and service).