The functions of a settlement are the activities that take place there. Settlements typically have a number of functions but one is often more important than the others. Settlement functions can be grouped into a number of categories, such as residential, recreational, retail, government, entertainment and industrial.
Functions of a settlement
Most settlements now are multi-functional. This means they perform a range of functions. However, some may be more important than others. For instance, a tourist town such as Whitby, will perform all sorts of functions including fishing and retail, but its main ones are concentrated towards the tourists.
When settlements first formed they often had one main function. These functions included:
- port – This was the original function of settlements such as Liverpool and Hull. Both are still ports but the importance of the port has reduced and they are now multifunctional settlements.
- market town – Originally, Watford was a market town. The market continues today but the area is now a multifunctional centre.
- resort – Coastal locations such as Blackpool, Southport and Scarborough benefit from tourism, their main function is as a coastal resort.
- Natural resources in the area led to Sheffield developing as an important centre for iron and steel production. Although the iron and steel industry has declined over time the city is now multifunctional.