Sunday, November 22, 2009


There are three main types of rural settlement patterns.

1. Clustered or Compact Settlement
These are also known as agglomerated or nucleated settlements, and consist of a compact of rural dwellings with narrow, winding streets separating two rows of houses. Most of the river plains of monsoon Asia present compact settlements.

In the plains of India, China and Thailand, large nucleated village is the prevailing type. The Kwanto plain of Japan has the largest concentration of compact or clustered settlements. In Europe, compact settlements are typical in the river valley of Volga and Danube. The Rhine hill tops are also dotted with compact settlements leaving plain areas for farming.

The dwelling clusters may be fragmented due to social segregation on caste lines, as in. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Here, the hamlets inhabited by the low castes are gen~rally situated away from the mainnucleus of the village. These secondary settlement units are often known as para, palli, nagla or dhani. These settlements are distributed over fertile, well- watered plains in thewhole of north Indian plains (from Punjab in north-we: to West Bengal in the east), Orissa coast, basins of Mahana( (in Madhya Pradesh), Cauvery and Vaigai, maidans ( Karnataka, Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, an Assam and Tripura in the east. Very often, these settll ments have a definite layout plan-linear, square, rectal gular, circular, etc. Very often, clustered or compact settlements have definite layout plan-linear, square, rectangular circula etc.

A linear pattern is common along main roads or alon streams. It may have a single row of houses arranged alon the main artery. It may develop, in course of time, int some other type if conditions are favourable.

A rectangular pattern is a common type which evolvE around the rectangular shape of fields, since it is commo to find a system of land measurement based on squal units. Village paths and cart tracks also conform to tll rectangular field patterns and run through the village i north-south and east-west directions.

A hollow rectangular pattern is an interesting variar of the rectangular type. This happens when the rectangul2 pattern has an open space in the middle. This may be du to the location of an old, deserted fort, large house, mound or a pond in the middle. This open space may hay a few trees and used as a place for cattle grazing, for havin panchayat assembly or for having weekly or bi-weekl markets.

A circular pattern is seen in the Upper Doab an Trans-Yamuna districts, Malwa, Punjab and Gujarat, wher large villages are characterised by a very high degree c compactness. The outer walls of dwellings adjoin eac other and present a continuous front, so that when viewel from outside, the villages look like a walled and fortifiel enclosure pierced by a few openings. The round form wa a natural outcome of maximum aggregation for the purpos of defence during the past.

A hollow circular pattern is a variant of the circula type. This pattern has an inbuilt, open space in the middl of the village. The causes for this pattern are more or les the same which lead to the rectangular pattern of settle ment.
A square pattern is basically a variant of the rectan gular type. Such a pattern is associated with villages lyinl at the crossings of cart-tracks or roads and also related features restricting the extension of the village outside, square space. These features may include an old boundar~ wall, thick orchards, a road or a pond.
A herring bone pattern occurs where the rectangle i: characterised by a main lane with all the subsidiary lane: meeting the former almost at right angles. The patten evidently is a result of the unusual importance of the mair street indicated by the tributary nature of the by-lanes.

In the radial pattern:, a number of streets converge or one centre which may be a source of water (pond, well) a temple, a centre of commercial activity or simply an oper space. Thus, the streets seem to be radiating from, common centre.
A polygonal pattern may be identified as an interme­diate type between the rectangular and circular patterns It seems to be a later development of the circular pattern,... with the need for defence having ended and subsequent expansions not confining themselves to the circular aggre­gation.

A horse-shoe shaped pattern is characteristic of a large number of foothill villages in the peninsular upland. The villages built on the site or at the base of the rounded ridges or hillocks line, the advantageous side of the hill, forming a girdle around it and the resulting form is like a thick crescent of horse-shoe shaped pattern.

The 'dopple-dorfer' (double village) is a group of two villages so near each other that it would seem that one of them has grown up by colonisation upon the edge of the other. A minor physical obstacle may be the cause of such a form, which may include, a nala, a pond, a mound or hillock, an intervening road, etc.

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