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Scope of settlement geography


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The primary aim of studying settlement geography is to acquaint with the spatial and structural characteristics of human settlements under varied environmental conditions.

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Scope of settlement geography

  1. 1. 1 SCOPE OF SETTLEMENT GEOGRAPHY By Prof. A. Balasubramanian Centre for Advanced Studies in Earth Science, University of Mysore, Mysore-6
  2. 2. 2 Introduction: More than "one billion human beings still lack adequate shelter. They are living in unacceptable conditions of poverty” thus reports the UN Habitat Agenda, in a specific context. The vast majority of these people live in developing countries and an increasing number of people live in urban areas.
  3. 3. 3 Indeed, the sprawling informal settlements and slums of developing countries are the most visual manifestations of poverty itself. According to an old UN-HABITAT report, some 924 million people were living in slums and informal settlements during 2001 all over the globe.
  4. 4. 4 This is a major reason why the improvement of living conditions of slum dwellers was identified as a major target area in the Millennium Declaration, adopted by world leaders in 2000. It is here, the subject of settlement geography plays an important role. The primary aim of studying settlement geography is to acquaint with the spatial and structural characteristics of human settlements under varied environmental conditions.
  5. 5. 5 It is also to enable people to diagnose special issues related to rural and urban settlements. An understanding of this subject will certainly help to develop the socio-economic well-being of human communities and planning of human settlements. The subject of settlement Geography contains 5 major areas of study as: 1. Definition of Rural and urban settlements- merits and limitations
  6. 6. 6 2. Settlement site and structure- Internal morphology and external form, field patterns, functions and house-types. 3. Spatial organization- size, spacing and hierarchy of settlements, emergence and characteristics of urban settlements. 4. Settlement-environment relationship- global and regional pattern, policies and programmes. 5. Salient Features of Human settlement in India.
  7. 7. 7 1. DEFINITION OF RURAL AND URBAN SETTLEMENTS- MERITS AND LIMITATIONS Human beings in the process of settling, occupy a land and construct a structure for shelter. Human settlement means cluster of dwellings of any type or size where human beings live. For this purpose, people may construct houses and command some area or territory as their economic support-base.
  8. 8. 8 Urban settlements are generally compact and larger in size. They are engaged in a variety of non-agricultural, economic and administrative functions. They are functionally linked to all rural areas around them. Thus, they are connected directly as well as indirectly with the villages and also with each other. Urban geography deals with the study of the site, evolution, morphology, spatial pattern, and classification of towns. Historically, three themes may be distinguished:
  9. 9. 9 a) the quantitative, descriptive approach, establishing the spatial organization of the city; b) the behavioural method, emphasizing the decision‐making process within the perceived environment; and c) the radical tradition, which stresses not only the spatial inequalities within a city and the inequitable distribution of resources, but suggests strategies to remedy these inequalities. Some geographers look for diversity of the urban form, modelling urban morphologies.
  10. 10. 10 This subdiscipline of geography examines the places we live, the structure of our cities, and the pattern of cities on the landscape. Urban geography is generally categorized as part of human or cultural geography and is closely related to economic geography, transportation geography, and rural geography. Urban geography is the study of areas which have a high concentration of buildings and infrastructure.
  11. 11. 11 These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. They often have a high population density. The basic differences between urban and rural settlements are: a) The rural settlement derive their life support or basic economic needs from land based materials and manufacturing of finished goods on the one hand and a variety of services on the other.
  12. 12. 12 b) Cities act as nodes of economic growth. Urban settlements provide goods and services to the people of rural settlements and in turn, the rural settlements provide food and raw materials. This functional relationship takes place through transport and communication network. c) Rural people are less mobile and therefore social relations among them are intimate.
  13. 13. 13 In urban areas, on the other hand, way of life is complex and fast, and social relations are formal. d) Rural settlements are small in size because they depend on extensive land for cultivation, whereas, urban settlements are large and compact. There are three factors and conditions responsible for having different types of settlements in rural areas in India.
  14. 14. 14 They are 1) Physical factors 2) Cultural and ethnic factors 3) Security factors. The physical factors include nature of terrain, altitude, climate and availability of water. The cultural and ethnic factors include, caste and tribal structure and Religion. The security factors include, defense from invasions and wild animals.
  15. 15. 15 Factors affecting settlement location are: a) Water supply b) Building materials c) Dry point for construction d) Flat land e) Fertile land f) Bridging point g) Defense settlements. The study of settlement patterns is one of the most important aspects of urban geography.
  16. 16. 16 Settlements can range in size from a small village with a few hundred residents to a metropolitan city of over one million people. Geographers often study the reasons behind why such cities develop where they do and what factors lead to their becoming a large city over time or remaining as a small village.
  17. 17. 17 Some of the reasons behind these patterns are thought of in terms of the area's site and its situation - two of the most important concepts in the study of urban geography. 2. SETTLEMENT SITE AND STRUCTURE- Settlement site is the actual land in which a settlement is built upon. Situation is the environment / land surrounding the site.
  18. 18. 18 The site is the actual location of a settlement on the earth and is composed of the physical characteristics of the landscape specific to the area. Site factors include things like landforms , climate, vegetation types, availability of water, soil fertility, minerals, and even wildlife. The site of an area can also create challenges for its population and the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan is a good example of this.
  19. 19. 19 Located within the world's highest mountain range, the terrain of the country is extremely rugged and hard to get around. Situation is defined as the location of a place relative to its surroundings and other places. Factors included in an area's situation include the accessibility of the location, the extent of a place's connections with another, and how close an area may be to raw materials if they are not located specifically on the site.
  20. 20. 20 Though its site has made living in the nation challenging, Bhutan's situation has allowed it to maintain its policies of isolation as well as its own highly separated and traditionally religious culture. As nations around the world continue to develop, their sites and situations will play a large role in whether or not they will be successful. Today's ease of transportation and new technologies like the Internet are bringing nations closer together.
  21. 21. 21 The physical landscape of an area as well as its location in relation to its desired market will still play a large role in whether or not such areas will grow to become the next great world city. It is under these concepts, the site and situation are analysed under this subject. Urban- Concept of site and situation Defense sites Trade oriented locations Gateway locations Local environmental feature
  22. 22. 22 Rural- Concept of site and situation Defensive sites Resource-oriented locations Local environmental features. Internal morphology and external form, A. Clustered rural settlements Nucleated village Street village Green village Rundling Angerdorf
  23. 23. 23 Grid village( checkerboard or rectangular village) B. Dispersed Rural settlement(farmstead) C. Semi-clustered rural settlement Hamlet Loose, irregular village Row village or string village D. Unique rural settlement types Field patterns: The study of settlement patterns is one of the most important aspects of urban geography.
  24. 24. 24 Settlements can range in size from a small village with a few hundred residents to a metropolitan city of over one million people. Geographers often study the reasons behind why such cities develop where they do and what factors lead to their becoming a large city over time or remaining as a small village. Some of the reasons behind these patterns are thought of in terms of the area's site and its situation - two of the most important concepts in the study of urban geography.
  25. 25. 25 Pattern refers to the overall structure of settlement. Settlement comes under three broad categories of patterns as a) Dispersed or scattered pattern b) Linear pattern c) Nucleated pattern. Dispersed pattern refers to the isolated dwellings. There are farming communities that are surrounded by their farmlands.
  26. 26. 26 In Linear pattern, settlements grow along a transport route, normally a highway, railway and a canal. Nucleated pattern involve settlements that grow around transport junction. These provide a good trade and transport possibilities. Settlement Functions and urban networks a. Rural, urban settlement functions b. Specialized functions c. Urban networks Central place theory Periodic, rotating market systems.
  27. 27. 27 Settlements as functional expressions of occupancy: 1. Instruments of Social articulation a. Cultural and administrative centers- capital cities, civic centers, university towns or campuses, sports complexes, entertainment districts, tropical hill stations, cultural centres. b. Religion – holy communities 2. Instruments of Economic articulation a. Manufacturing b. Market centres
  28. 28. 28 c. Finance and insurance centers d. Ports and transport centers e. Mining settlements f. Fishing villages g. Agricultural villages h. Single family dispersed farm i.Cross-road hamlets, stores, bars, petrol bunkss j.Business parks.
  29. 29. 29 3. Instruments of Cultural penetration or colonial penetration a. Colonial primate cities b. Rails and mining heads c. Trading factories d. Tropical hill stations, resorts e. Ethnic wards, enclaves f. Labour camps g. Plantations 4. Instruments of Leisure a. Resorts, camps
  30. 30. 30 b. Retirement communities c. Spas d. Entertainment districts e. Redlight districts f. Sports complexes 5. Instruments of withdrawal a. Monasteries b. Hermitages c. Prisons d. Reserved zones e. Military camps f. Gated communities and compounds
  31. 31. 31 g. Leper colonies h. Summer camps and retreats 6. Instruments of Medical practice and health a. Spas b. Sanitaria c. medical centers House types: Folk, popular, High style. Traditional building materials.
  32. 32. 32 Floor plan and layout. Vaastu and Indian house types are yet another dimensions in settlement of houses. Mostly they relate to social customs and rituals. Sun and wind directions and road alignments, are discussed in this context. The type of rural settlements in India is determined by the extent of built-up area and the inter-house distance. There are four types of rural settlement in India.
  33. 33. 33 They are: a) Clustered, agglomerated and nucleated settlement b) Semi-clustered settlements c) Hamleted settlement d) Dispersed settlement. 3. SPATIAL ORGANIZATION- SIZE, SPACING AND HIERARCHY OF SETTLEMENTS, EMERGENCE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF URBAN SETTLEMENTS. Geography has five major themes: a) Location b) Place
  34. 34. 34 c) Human-Environment Interaction d) Movement e) Region. Most geographic study begins with learning the location of places. Location can be absolute or relative. Absolute location provides a definite reference to locate a place.
  35. 35. 35 The reference can be latitude and longitude, a street address, or even the Township and Range system. Relative location describes a place with respect to its environment and its connection to other places. Place describes the human and physical characteristics of a location. Physical characteristics include a description such things as the mountains, rivers, beaches, topography, and animal and plant life of a place.
  36. 36. 36 Human characteristics include the human- designed cultural features of a place, from land use and architecture to forms of livelihood and religion to food and folk ways to transportation and communication networks. This theme considers how humans adapt to and modify the environment. Humans shape the landscape through their interaction with the land; this has both positive and negative effects on the environment.
  37. 37. 37 Humans move, a lot. In addition, ideas, fads, goods, resources, and communication all travel distances. This theme studies movement and migration across the planet. Region divides the world into manageable units for geographic study. Regions have some sort of characteristic that unifies the area. Regions can be formal, functional, or vernacular. Formal regions are those that are designated by official boundaries, such as cities, states, counties, and countries.
  38. 38. 38 For the most part, they are clearly indicated and publicly known. Functional regions are defined by their connections. For example, the circulation area for a major city area is the functional region of a newspaper . Most of these themes are considered in human settlement. Settlement hierarchy starts from isolated dwellings, move up to Hamlets, then to villages, then grow as towns and then become cities.
  39. 39. 39 As we move up in this settlement hierarchy, the number and range of services and functions provided get increased. But there will be an increase in size and sphere of influence. Urbanisation is an increase in the % or proportion of people living in urban areas. There are so many reasons for urbanization like a) Reduced labor due to mechanization of farming practices b) Development of industries in cities need a labor force & attracting people looking for work
  40. 40. 40 c) Better paid jobs exists in cities d) More basic amenities exist in cities e) More entertainment options are available in cities f) Perception that moving to a city will offer a higher standard of living, job, education, and health facilities. Central place theory is a spatial theory in urban geography that attempts to explain the reasons behind the distribution patterns, size, and number of cities and towns around the world.
  41. 41. 41 It also attempts to provide a framework by which those areas can be studied both for historic reasons and for the locational patterns of areas today. Central Place Size and Spacing Within the central place system, there are five sizes of communities. The rank order of central places is:  Hamlet  Village
  42. 42. 42  Town  City  Regional Capital A hamlet is the smallest and is a rural community which is too small to be considered a village.
  43. 43. 43 4. SETTLEMENT-ENVIRONMENT RELATIONSHIP- GLOBAL AND REGIONAL PATTERN, POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES. The four traditions of geography were originally espoused by the geographer William D. Pattison. These four traditions help to define the discipline of geography into : 1) spatial tradition, 2) area studies tradition, 3) man-land tradition, and
  44. 44. 44 4) earth science tradition. Spatial Tradition (also called Locational Tradition) deals with  Mapping  Spatial analysis  Boundaries and densities  Movement and transportation  Quantitative techniques and tools, such as computerized mapping and Geographic Information Systems  Central Place Theory
  45. 45. 45  Areal distribution  Spatial patterns Area Studies Tradition (also called Regional Tradition) deals with  Description of regions or areas  World regional geography  International trends and relationships  How regions are different from one another  The chorographic tradition (regions) Man-Land Tradition (also called Human- Environmental, Human-Land, or Culture- Environment Tradition) deals with
  46. 46. 46  Human impact on nature  Impact of nature on humans  Natural hazards  Perception of environment  Environmentalism  Cultural, political, and population geography Earth Science Tradition deals with  Physical geography  The lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere  Earth-sun interaction
  47. 47. 47  Offshoots are geology, mineralogy, paleontology, glaciology, geomorphology, and meteorology  The study of the earth as the home to humans. The Settlement-environment relationship, global and regional pattern, policies and programmes are based on these traditions and the need to protect life from threats.
  48. 48. 48 5. SALIENT FEATURES OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT IN INDIA. The world’s slums are growing, and growing, with the number people living in such dire conditions now at the 1 billion mark – making up 32 per cent of the global urban population, according to UN-HABITAT’s new Global Report on Human Settlements.
  49. 49. 49 The Challenge of Slums - the crisis is such that the world will see doubling of this figure in the next 30 years unless a concerted effort is undertaken to alleviate the situation. “The locus of global poverty is moving towards cities, a process now recognised as the urbanisation of poverty,” said Mr. Kofi Annan in a foreword to the report.
  50. 50. 50 “Without concerted action on the part of the municipal authorities, national governments, civil society actors and the international community, the number of slum dwellers is likely to increase in most developing countries. And if no serious action is taken, the number of slum dwellers worldwide is projected to rise over the next 30 years to about 2 billion.” In developing regions, slum dwellers account for 43 per cent of the population in contrast to about 6 per cent in more developed regions.
  51. 51. 51 “Slums represent the worst of urban poverty and inequality. Yet the world has the resources, know-how and power to reach the target established in the Millennium Declaration. It is my hope that this report, and the best practises it identifies, will enable all actors involved to overcome the apathy and lack of political will that have been a barrier to progress, and move ahead with greater determination and knowledge in our common effort to help the world’s slum dwellers to attain lives of dignity, prosperity and peace,” says Mr. Annan.
  52. 52. 52 Since it first appeared in the 1820s, the word slum has been used to identify the poorest quality housing, and the most unsanitary conditions; a refuge for marginal activities including crime, ‘vice’ and drug abuse; a likely source for many epidemics that ravaged urban areas. It is estimated that 69% of Indians (690 million people) lack access to adequate sanitation. A lack of sanitation also impacts on the local environment and water supply.
  53. 53. 53 Municipal corporations in India are traditionally responsible for providing sanitation services, however rapid urban population growth and limited finances have made this a challenging task. The following are the statistics of rural and urban population in India. India had the second largest urban system in the world, with 310 million urban population and 5,161 cities and towns, the urbanization was characterized by widespread poverty, poor urban infrastructure, and environmental degradation.
  54. 54. 54 Less than 60 percent of the households in India’s cities have sanitation facilities, and less than half have tap water on their premises. About 40 million people are also estimated to live in slums. Geography of settlements is a promising branch of study with traditional concepts and modern approaches.