Settlement - O Level Geography
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Settlement - O Level Geography
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Post Icon Settlement - O Level Geography

Settlement; is a place where people live. Settlement can come in different sizes.

A settlement may be as small as a single house in remote area or as a large as a mega city.

A settlement may be permanently or temporary. An example of a temporary settlement would be a refugee camp. However a temporary settlement may become permanent over time. This happen to many refugees camps that have been built in conflict zones. Actual piece of land upon which a settlement is built is known as the settlement site.

Settlements usually develop in a particular pattern ( but not always).

·         A nucleated settlement is where the buildings are closed around a central point such as market square.
·         Linear settlement is where the buildings are arranged in a line usually along the river or road.
·         A dispersed settlement is where the buildings are spread out or scattered. Dispersed settlement are often found in remote, sparsely populated areas.
There are two (2) types of settlements which are urban settlement and rural settlement. The characteristics which define a settlement of urban or rural include the size, density of the population and activities being under taken in these two types of settlement.


Are geographical areas with dynamic boundaries. The growth of an urban centre refers to the expansion of a town as a result of birth rate, change of the town boundaries.

Population in urban settlements are used in many analysIs as an important variable in social, environment and demographic studies.

Characteristics of urban settlement.

·         The number of urban settlement and their boundaries will change overtime, depending on construction activities and change of present population.
·         The delimitation of the urban settlements are independent of the administrative boundaries
·         Urban centre are characterized by denser engaged industrial activities
·         Trading is a major activities under taken in urban areas

Are geographical morphologies, comprising of all places with less than 10,000 population;- They comprise of small rural town villages and homesteads.

In Tanzania about 80% of the population live in rural areas. To supplement their farming activities some rural communities engage in other traditional activities such as weaving, carving, fishing and extracting of timber from the forest.

Characteristics of rural settlements.

·         It is sparsely populated pattern of settlement
·         Agriculture is the major activity undertaken in rural areas. 
Is the layout of dwelling in a particular place. Settlement patterns assume a distinct form as it grows, settlement patterns may be influenced by different factors such as topography of an area and availability of suitable land for farming. Transport routes and communication lines also may influence the pattern that emerges. Human factors such as an increase in population may lead to the spread of settlements because may be searching for new land to settle on.

Types of settlement patterns

1. Nucleated Settlement Pattern.

This settlement pattern consists of cluster of dwellings, shops and other buildings in one place. The settlement is close to one another forming a cluster. Nucleated settlement may develop as a result of the availability of social services, the presence of industrial plants and limitation of building land leading to the clustering of building in one place.
Settlement such as Mwadui in Tanzania and Kimberley in South Africa are nucleated mining settlements.

2. Linear Settlement Pattern.
Linear settlement pattern may develop along communication lines or along specific physical feature such as river, the house and other structures appear to be arranged in a line along a road, a river, or canal or a coastal line such settlement may form a curve depending on the shape of the features.
Linear settlements are common along the coast of East Africa, along the shores of lake Tanganyika and a long some parts of lake Victoria. They are also common along many roads and foot paths.

3. Dispersed Settlement Pattern.
Is also referred to as scattered settlement pattern because it consists of houses and other structures which are scattered. The houses may be separate from one another by physical features such as valleys, rivers, and ridges. Dispersed settlement is common in areas where people own individual traits of land.
The functions of settlement describe all the activities that occur in it, there are three common functional classification of settlement rural settlement and institutional settlement. Settlementsestablished for a specific purpose. In this aspect there are categories which includes.
     a. Market towns;- Originate as centres for sale and distribution
     b. Mining towns;- are located in areas that contain a supply of natural resources such as coal, diamond and tin.
     c. Manufacturing and industrial towns;- grown  around the source of raw materials often in conjuction with mining towns.
     d. Route centres;- located at nodal points that develop from the transportation of raw materials for processing of manufactured products to the marketing centres.
     e. Administrative centres;- Involve settlement that are strategically well placed to combine several functions and provide a administrative services on a regional or national basis.
      f. Port centres;- The original function of ports is the settlement of raw materials, goods and passengers with development of national and international trade, such centres have naturally acquired additional functions like business.
This refers to the increase or expansion of the place or areas where people live and engage in different economic activities.
There was the rapid growth of settlement in Europe after the industrial revolution.
The growth of settlement of a given place is always dynamic as it changes time after time due to the different factors. 

·         Provision of social services, People migrate from their original places and live near areas where social services are easily available to       them. Example of social services are health centres, schools, electricity and water supply.
·         Climate condition.
·         People settle in good climatic areas. Rainfall and temperature have a great influence from human settlement. Areas that receive abundant rainfall and favourable temperature attract more people. This is because people are able to engage in both subsistence and commercial farming such areas are Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Ruvuma and Iringa region where there is abundant rainfall.
·         Relief;
·         It is a strong factor influencing settlement. Gentle slopes are ideal areas for building houses as they are well drained. Steep stops are usually uninhabited because they have thin soils which inhibit growth of crops and pasture.
·         Vegetation cover;
·         Vegetation is the total plants cover over an area. Thick vegetation discourages establishment of settlement. Dense forest such as Congo of central Africa and Amazon, in South America are not accessible. They may also be habitants for dangerous wild animals and disease carrying vectors.
·         Political factor;
·         Political factor has great influence on settlement establishment. A settlement may be located in a certain area because of political reasons for example in 1967 the government of Tanzania introduced ujamaa village where by people were settled in villages.
·         Economic factor;
·         People establish settlement in places which offer economic opportunities. Migration from rural to urban centres is mainly due to prospects for employment and trading opportunities. Mining activities also leads to the establishments of settlements for example development of Mwadui towns was the results of Mwadui Diamond mines.
·         Cultural factors;
·         Some areas may be productive but due to some cultural beliefs people may be prohibited to establish settlements on such areas. Example mumbanitu forest in Njombe.
·         Historical factors;
·         Prior to the division of Africa some communities moved in various directions and settled in their present homelands. Those movements were caused by various factors mainly wars for example Mfecane war in South Africa. 
Numerous attempts have been made to classify settlements based on functions, but this tended to refer to places in industrialized countries, and is not longer applicable to post-industrial societies.

Urbanization is associated with a number of problems, some of these problems include environmental degradation, rise in criminal activities, inadequate housing, traffic congestion, unemployment, immorality, shortage of public utilities such as water, and emergence of street children.

Overcrowding, Great number of immigrants and people are coming from farms. There is an increase in birth rate and drop in mortality rate. People migrate from original places due to corruption, poor water supply and poor health services.

Political instability, the increase of the people at certain areas cause the increase of bad behaviors like crime which lead to political instability at a given area.

Eruption of diseases like cholera, malaria, HIV/AIDS and other outbreaks due to population pressure caused by the increase of people.

Unemployment, Due to the increase of people in urban areas from the rural most of them search for jobs in the urban centres which result in lack of job vacancies.

Traffic Congestion, These refer to the presence of high number of vehicles especially private cars, these lead to noise pollutions as well as air pollutions for example Dar -es salaam.

Shortage of social services, like water, schools. Some urban centres do not have reliable sources of water. As population increase water sources are strained and most residential areas experience water shortage for instance Dar es salaam suffer from water shortage throughout the year.

Emergence of street children, As people increase resulting to the lack of social services and conflicts in the family and at the end family break-ups which result to street children. These people decided to run away due to the lack of social services in their family. 
 The following are the ways of solving existing problems related to urban growth as;

Improvement of social services like water, electricity, churches, schools for example construction of more dams to preserve water for the population in the cities also there be improvement of infrastructure so as to facilitate economic activities.

Creation of employment opportunities. The city council has to create more jobs so as to cure the problem of unemployment for example increase in investments in industries as well as agriculture, which will lead to the provision of jobs to youths.

Good urban planning, There must be good planning in the constructions of buildings so as to avoid the poor arrangement of housing in the cities. Housing design must try to meet the demand of the citizen.

Improvement of infrastructure to accommodate the motor vehicles. Private cars have been increasing extensively and becoming a problem. It is necessary to set up a reasonable system and width of roads, reserve necessary parking place.

Family planning, As street children are caused by the lack of social services, this can be reduced by using the family planning to reduce the number of children in the family. This will make the provision of social services as well as the employment opportunities.

Thank you for reading.

We welcome comments, Questions, recommendations and any other contribution.

Best Regards,
MyElimu Team.

04-08-2016 05:57 PM
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wilmar Offline
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RE: Settlement - O Level Geography

تصویر: images/smilies/heart.giflike that it nice 
04-19-2016 11:04 AM
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LauraP Offline
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RE: Settlement - O Level Geography

I need to write an essay on urban settlement and I'm trying to sort out in the concept of settlement itself. Thank you for useful info!
05-31-2017 02:49 PM
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