This unit dwells on how settlement patterns

Types of Settlement

Settlements could be broadly classified as rural or urban.

Rural Settlements

rural settlement

Rural settlements are usually smaller in size than urban settlements. More so, rural settlements are inhabited by relatively few people who are socially, culturally and linguistically homogenous. Such settlements could be dispersed, nucleated or linear in arrangement. Homesteads, hamlets and villages are examples of rural settlement types. Rural settlements are hardly planned; people build their houses wherever they pleased.

Settlement Patterns

Settlements could be of various patterns or shapes. Settlement pattern refers to the arrangement or layout of buildings in a settlement. There are four major settlement patterns namely dispersed, nucleated, linear, and homestead (or isolated).

Dispersed settlement pattern

dispersed settlement

The main characteristic of this settlement pattern is that the buildings are scattered and could be far from one another.

Nucleated settlement pattern

nucleated settlement

This is more or less the opposite of dispersed settlement. In a nucleated settlement the buildings are clustered; hence they are very close to one another.

Linear Settlement Pattern

linear settlement

In a linear settlement layout the buildings are located along transportation or communication routes such as roads, railways, and rivers.


A homestead is an isolated one family residence. Each building is usually far from others. It could be a farmstead, mining camp, fishing hut, or lumbering campSu


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