, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community
in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas
. Settlements may include hamlet
s and cities
. A settlement may have known historical properties such as the date or era in which it was first settled, or first settled by particular people.
In the field of geospatial predictive modeling
, settlements are "a city, town, village or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".
A settlement conventionally includes its constructed facilities such as road
s, field systems
banks and ditch
s and wood
and water mill
s, manor house
s and church
The oldest remains that have been found of constructed dwellings are remains of huts that were made of mud and branches around 17,000 BC at the Ohalo
site (now underwater) near the edge of the Sea of Galilee
. The Natufian
s built houses, also in the Levant
, around 10,000 BC. Remains of settlements such as village
s become much more common after the invention of agriculture.
In landscape history
studies the form (morphology) of settlements – for example whether they are dispersed
. Urban morphology
can thus be considered a special type of cultural-historical landscape studies. Settlements can be ordered by size, centrality or other factors to define a settlement hierarchy
. A settlement hierarchy can be used for classifying settlement all over the world, although a settlement called a 'town' in one country might be a 'village' in other countries; or a 'large town' in some countries might be a 'city' in others.
defines a populated place as "a named settlement with a population of 200 or more persons".
The Committee for Geographical Names in Australasia
used the term localities
for rural areas, while the Australian Bureau of Statistics
uses the term "urban centres/localities" for urban areas.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Agency for Statistics in Bosnia and Herzegovina
uses the term "populated place""settled place" for rural (or urban as an administrative center of some Municipality/City), and "Municipality" and "City" for urban areas.
The Bulgarian Government publishes a National Register of Populated places (NRPP).
The Canadian government uses the term "populated place" in the ''Atlas of Canada
'', but does not define it.
uses the term localities
for historically named locations.
The Croatian Bureau of Statistics
records population in units called settlements (''naselja'')
The Census Commission of India
has a special definition of census town
The Central Statistics Office
of the Republic of Ireland
has a special definition of census town
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics
records population in units of settlements called Tehsil
– an administrative unit derived from the Mughal
There are various types of inhabited localities in Russia
uses the term localities (''tätort'')
for various densely populated places. The common English-language translation is ''urban areas''.
The UK Department for Communities and Local Government
uses the term "urban settlement" to denote an urban area
when analysing census information. The Registrar General for Scotland
defines settlements as groups of one or more contiguous localities, which are determined according to population density
areas. The Scottish settlements are used as one of several factors defining urban areas.Scottish census information
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a Geographic Names Information System that defines three classes of human settlement:
# Populated place − place or geographic area with clustered or scattered buildings and a permanent human population (city, settlement, town, village). A populated place is usually not incorporated and by definition has no legal boundaries. However, a populated place may have a corresponding "civil" record, the legal boundaries of which may or may not coincide with the perceived populated place.
# Census − a statistical area delineated locally specifically for the tabulation of Census Bureau data (census designated place, census county division, unorganized territory, various types of American Indian/Alaska Native statistical areas). [
# Civil − a political division formed for administrative purposes (borough, county, incorporated place, municipality, parish, town, township)."] [
Populated places may be specifically defined in the context of censuses and be different from general-purpose administrative entities, such as "place" as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau or census-designated places.
In the field of geospatial predictive modeling, settlements are "a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".
The Global Human Settlement Layer
framework produces global spatial information about the human presence on the planet over time. This in the form of built up maps, population density maps and settlement maps. This information is generated with evidence-based analytics and knowledge using new spatial data mining technologies. The framework uses heterogeneous data including global archives of fine-scale satellite imagery, census data, and volunteered geographic information. The data is processed fully automatically and generates analytics and knowledge reporting objectively and systematically about the presence of population and built-up infrastructures. Th
operates in an open and free data and methods access policy (open input, open method, open output).
The term "Abandoned populated places" is a ''Feature Designation Name'' in databases sourced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Populated places can be abandoned. Sometimes the structures are still easily accessible, such as in a ghost town, and these may become tourist attractions. Some places that have the appearance of a ghost town, however, may still be defined as populated places by government entities.
A town may become a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, because of a government action, such as the building of a dam that floods the town, or because of natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, uncontrolled lawlessness, or war. The term is sometimes used to refer to cities, towns, and neighborhoods that are still populated, but significantly less so than in years past.
* Administrative division
* Informal settlement
* Lost city
* Requirements for permanent settlements
* List of Neolithic settlements
* Settlement geography
* Human outpost
The Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) framework