Human settlement

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The small town of Flora, Oregon in the United States is unincorporated, but is considered a populated place
Taos Pueblo, an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos speaking Native American tribe of Pueblo people. It is approximately 1000 years old and lies about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico.

Settlement, locality or populated place are general terms used in statistics, archaeology, geography, landscape history and other subjects for a permanent or temporary community in which people live or have lived, without being specific as to size, population or importance. A settlement can therefore range in size from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities with surrounding urbanized areas. The term may include hamlets, villages, towns and cities.

The term is used internationally in the field of geospatial modeling, and in that context is defined as "a city, town, village, or other agglomeration of buildings where people live and work".[1]

A settlement conventionally includes its constructed facilities such as roads, enclosures, field systems, boundary banks and ditches, ponds, parks and woods, wind and water mills, manor houses, moats and churches.[2]

In landscape history[edit]

Landscape history studies the form (morphology) of settlements – for example whether they are dispersed or nucleated. 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.

In statistics[edit]

Australia[edit]

Geoscience Australia defines a populated place as "a named settlement with a population of 200 or more persons."[3]

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.

Bulgaria[edit]

The Bulgarian Government publishes a National Register of Populated Places (NRPP).

Canada[edit]

The Canadian government uses the term "populated place" in the Atlas of Canada, but does not define it.[4] Statistics Canada uses the term localities for historical named locations.

Croatia[edit]

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics records population in units called settlements (naselja).

India[edit]

The Census Commission of India has a special definition of census towns.

Ireland[edit]

The Central Statistics Office of the Republic of Ireland has a special definition of census towns.

Russia[edit]

There are various types of inhabited localities in Russia.

Sweden[edit]

Statistics Sweden uses the term localities (tätort) for various densely populated places.

United Kingdom[edit]

The UK Department for Communities and Local Government uses the term "urban settlement" to denote an urban area when analysing census information.[5] The Registrar General for Scotland defines settlements as groups of one or more contiguous localities, which are determined according to population density and postcode areas. The Scottish settlements are used as one of several factors defining urban areas.[6]

United States[edit]

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a Geographic Names Information System that defines three classes of human settlement:

  1. Populated Placeplace or 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.[7]
  2. 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).[7]
  3. Civil − a political division formed for administrative purposes (borough, county, incorporated place, municipio, parish, town, township)."[7]

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.

Abandoned populated places[edit]

Abandoned buildings in Kolmanskop, Namibia[8]

The term "Abandoned populated places" is a Feature Designation Name in databases sourced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency[9] and GeoNames.[10]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

 
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References[edit]

  1. ^ Dutta, Biswanath; Fausto Giunchiglia and Vincenzo Maltese (2010). "A Facet-Based Methodology for Geo-Spatial Modeling". GeoSpatial Semantics: 4th International Conference, GeoS 2011, Brest, France. p. 143. 
  2. ^ Medieval Settlement Research Group
  3. ^ "NTMS Specifications (250K & 100K): Populated Place". Australian Government. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Glossary Search Results". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ Urban Settlement 2001
  6. ^ Scottish census information
  7. ^ a b c "Feature Class Definitions". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Maps of Kolmanskop - Namibia 2012". Map Atlas - Google Maps based Atlas of the world. MapAtlas.org. 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Feature Designation Code Lookup". NGA: Geonames Search - OGC Viewer. Springfield, VA, USA: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ "GeoNames Feature Codes". GeoNames. GeoNames. February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.