Geographers have suggested various schemes of classification. If we group settlements found all over the country, these can broadly be grouped under four categories:
- Compact/clustered/nucleated settlement
- Semi-compact/Semi-clustered/fragmented settlement
- Hemleted settlement
- Dispersed settlement
- As the name suggests, these settlements have closely built up area. Therefore in such settlements all the dwellings are concentrated in one central sites and these inhabited area is distinct and separated from the farms and pastures.
- Maximum settlements of our country comes under this category. They are spread over almost every part of the country.
- These settlements are distributed over the entire northern Indo-Ganga plain (from Punjab in the north-west to West Bengal in the east), Orissa coast, basins of Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh, coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, cauvery delta of Tamil Nadu, Maidaus of Karnataka, lower Assam and Tripura, in the valleys of Siwaliks etc.
- Sometimes people live in compact settlement for security or defence purpose. The greatest example of this type is in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
- In Rajasthan also people live in compact settlement because of the scarce availability of cultivable land and water body. Therefore, they want to make maximum use of available natural resources.
Semi compact Settlement:
As the name suggests, the dwellings or houses are not well-knitted. Such settlements are characterized by a small but compact nuclears around which hamlets are dispersed.
- It covers more area than the compact settlements.
- These settlements are found both in plains and plateaus depending upon the environmental conditions prevailing in that area.
- Such settlements are situated along streams in Manipur Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh, and Rajgarh district of Chhattisgarh. Different tribal groups inhabit such settlements in the Chhota Nagpur region. In Nagaland, such settlements may be in the form of blushing villages.
These type of settlements, are fragmented into several small units. The main settlement does not have much influence on the other units. Very often the original site is not easily distinguishable and these hamlets are often spread over the area with intervening fields. This segregation is often influenced by social and ethnic factors. The hamlets are locally named as faliya, para, dhana, dhani, nanglay etc. These settlements are generally found in West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and coastal plains. Geographically it covers lower Ganga plain, lower valleys of the Himalayas and central plateau or upland region of the country.
This is also known as isolated settlements. Here the settlement is characterized by units of small size which may consist of a single house to a small group of houses. It varies from two to seven huts. Therefore, in this type, hamlets are scattered over a vast area and does not have any specific pattern. Such type of settlements are found in tribal areas of central part of India covering Chhota Nagpur plateau, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc. Such patterns are also common in the hills of north Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
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