Topic summary: Settlement
200 000 years ago, there were no humans on the Earth. Now there are over 6 billion of us, and we live in settlements.
; We think humans evolved in East Africa, and gradually spread all over the world. ; The early humans were hunters and gatherers. They were always on the move, hunting animals and gathering wild fruit, nuts, and seeds for food.
; Then, around 10 000 years ago, humans began to farm. We began to settle, and grow crops, and keep animals.
; But we did not settle just anywhere. We chose places that had things we needed. For example:
- a river, for water and transport
- wood for fuel and to make shelters
- flat land with fertile soil for farming
- easy access to other places
- shelter from storms
- protection from enemies.
; We cleared land and built shelters and huts to live in. These were the first settlements.
; A settlement is a place where people live.
; The situation of a settlement tells you where it is compared with hills, rivers, other settlements and so on. For example London is situated near the mouth of the River Thames.
; A site is the land a settlement is built on. There are different types of site, chosen for different reasons. For example
It’s flat enough here to build on – and we can get through Keep the mountains It was easy to off! build a bridge here
Defensive site Up here, Defensive site we won’t get flooded out Gap site Lots of fresh water from the spring Dry point site Wet point site
; You can identify different types of site on OS maps.
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Topic summary: Settlement
The growth of settlements
; Over time, as more babies were born, the human population grew. So settlements grew too, in size and number. Some grew into villages, towns and cities. ; Some grew larger and faster than others because their situation gave them advantages. For example:
- easy to get to, for trading
- on very fertile farmland
- on clay that was ideal for making pottery.
; Then came the Industrial Revolution (18th and 19th C). Factories were set up in many towns and cities. People came from all over to work in them, so the towns and cities grew fast.
; Once again, some settlements grew much faster than others because their situation gave them advantages. For example:
- on rivers, which gave water for steam-driven machines, and a transport route for
goods and raw materials
- near raw materials like coal and iron ore
- on the coast, where they could trade with other countries.
Different sizes of settlements
; Today, there are settlements of all shapes and sizes.
; Usually the larger the settlement the more services it offers, as this table shows: Settlement How big? Services
perhaps only a few dozen no shops, and probably not hamlet people even a pub
may have several shops; may have several hundred doctor, post office, primary village homes school
a range of shops; primary
and secondary schools; town thousands of homes perhaps a cinema, library,
hospital, railway station
a wider range of shops and many thousands or even services; perhaps a city millions of homes university, airport, museums
the government is usually
based here; also the main usually the country's largest international airport(s), and capital city settlement headquarters of big
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Topic summary: Settlement
; The settlement hierarchy shows settlements in order of size and importance. Here is it:
The capital city Cities Large towns more people there are more Small towns more homes small settlements Large villages more services than large ones Small villages Hamlets
; Settlements have many different roles or functions. They provide homes, shops, banks, schools, healthcare, entertainment and other services. ; They often have one main function which is used to describe them. For example:
port - where ships and ferries call
seaside resort - where people go for beach holidays manufacturing centre - has lots of factories
market town - the main town of a rural area
dormitory town - most people commute to a nearby city, for work
Conurbations and megacities
; Some cities have grown and spread so much that they have joined up with nearby
towns. This gives a very large built-up area or conurbation. Greater London, Greater Manchester and Tyneside are examples of conurbations. ; A megacity is a city with more than 10 million people. The world has over 20 megacities.
Tokyo, Cairo, Mexico City and Los Angeles are examples.
Now test yourself!
Check that you can answer these questions:
1 What is: a a settlement? b a site?
2 Give three things that the first settlers might have looked for, when choosing a site to
3 What is: a a gap site? b a wet point site? c a bridging site?
d a defensive site? e a dry point site?
4 What is the difference between a hamlet and a village? 5 What is the settlement hierarchy? Why is it that shape? 6 What do we mean by the function of a settlement? 7 Some settlements are known for one main function. Give three examples. 8 What is: a a conurbation? b a megacity?
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