Towns are classified according to certain functions they perform. Certain towns may perform more than one function but some are known for a particular function as stated below:
- Market towns: These are mainly trading centres based on commerce e.g. Onitsha, Ibadan, Lagos, and Norwich (U.K).
- Industrial towns: These are involved in the manufacturing and processing of raw materials to finished goods e.g. Lagos (Nigeria), Ruhr (Germany), and Pittsburg (U.S.A).
- Commercial towns: These are centres of finance and commerce e.g. Kano, Lagos, New York and Zurich.
- Administrative towns: These are headquarters of the government and they are usually capitals cities e.g. Abuja, New York, London, Accra.
- Mining towns: These towns are involved in mining of minerals present in their areas e.g. Enugu (coal), Jos (tin), and Johannesburg (gold).
- Holiday resort towns: These are places of interest where people visit e.g. Ikogosi (Ondo-State), Brighton (U.K), Miami (U.S.A).
- Educational towns: These are towns where world renowned universities are located e.g. Cambridge, Oxford, and Ibadan.
- Ecclesiastical or religious towns: These are religious centres e.g. Mecca (Moslim), Rome (Christians), and Banaras (Hindus).
- Royal towns: These are traditional centres for monarchs e.g. London, Benin, Ife, Sokoto.
- Satellite towns: These are well planned urban centres e.g. Ojo, Festac.
- Ports: Ports are landing places for ships. Ports can be subdivided into the following:
- Seaports: These are large oceans terminals with all the essential port facilities to accommodate large ships with their cargoes and passengers e.g. Apapa, Southampton, Hong Kong.
- Entrepots: These are ports that specialize in receiving and redistributing goods to the neighboring countries and to all corners of the world e.g. Singapore, Colombo, and Rotterdam.
- Packet stations: These are ferry-terminals on an international trade. They deal with goods and passengers crossing channels and seas e.g. Calais (France), Ostend (Belgium).
- Out port: These are smaller ports closer to deep ocean water which serve a larger port further inland which cannot be reached by the larger spacing ships e.g. Fremantle serves Perth, Littleton serves Christchurch.
- River ports: These are ports which can only be reached by smaller ships usually on the lower course of the river e.g. Rouen (France), Warri, Sapele, Koko, Calabar and Onitsha ports, all in Nigeria.
Urbanization refers to the growth of towns, especially in terms of human population and physical size. In other words, urbanization means a change in the functions of a settlement from a rural character to an urban character.
Urbanization develops as a result of increasing number of people coming into a town coupled with proportionate increase in the physical size of the town.
Examples of modern urban centres include New York, London, Paris, Moscow, Lagos, Accra, Ibadan, Kano, Enugu, Pretoria, etc.
INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN RURAL AND URBAN SETTLEMENTS
Urban and rural settlements are interdependent, i.e. they depend on each other for their continuous existence.
DEPENDENCE OF URBAN SETTLEMENT ON RURAL SETTLEMENT
- Urban Areas depend on rural areas for food stuffs like yam, plantain, bean, cassava, etc.
- Unskilled labours are usually from rural to urban industries.
- Medicinal herbs and roots are usually brought from rural to urban areas for use by individuals or pharmaceutical companies.
- Raw materials like cocoa, rubber, cotton, etc. for industries are supplied from rural areas to the industries in the urban areas.
DEPENDENCE OF RURAL SETTLEMENT ON URBAN SETTLEMENT
The urban centres perform the following functions for the rural areas:
- Manufactured or finished goods like milk, sugar, bread, etc. usually come from urban to rural areas. Urban centres also process raw materials from the rural areas.
- Urban settlements provide markets for agricultural products from rural areas.
- Rural areas depend on urban areas for higher education in universities, polytechnics, etc.
- Rural areas depend on urban areas for employment in offices and industries.
- Information usually flows from urban to rural areas. Radio, television, newspapers, etc. usually disseminate information from urban to rural areas.
- Rural areas depend on urban centres for their medical services teaching and specialist hospitals are located in urban centres.
- Most of the administrative headquarters are in the urban areas. Rural areas therefore, depend on the urban areas for effective governance.
- Urban centres also ensure diffusion of innovations and ideas to rural areas.