What is a settlement?

A settlement is a place where people live. It can range in size from an isolated dwelling to a million city.

The site of a settlement is the location where it is built. It describes the physical nature of where a settlement is located. Factors such as water supply, defence, quality of soil, building materials, climate, shelter and defence were all taken into consideration when establishing settlements in the past.

The situation of a settlement is the description of the settlement in relation to physical features around it and other settlements. The situation of a settlement is the most important in determining whether it grows to become a large city or stays as a small town or village.

In the UK, London is an example of a city with an excellent situation. It is located on the River Thames, with excellent links by road and air.

The importance of a settlement can increase and decrease as they fulfil different functions. The situation of a settlement significantly influences which of these will happen.

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