What are the types of rural settlements?

Rural settlements in India can broadly be put into four types: 

  • Clustered, agglomerated or nucleated: The clustered rural settlement is a compact or closely built-up area of houses. In this type of village, the general living area is distinct and separated from the surrounding farms, barns and pastures. The closely built-up area and its intervening streets present some recognisable pattern or geometric shape, such as rectangular, radial, linear, etc. Such settlements are generally found in fertile alluvial plains and in the northeastern states.
  • Semi-clustered or fragmented: Semi-clustered or fragmented settlements may result from a tendency of clustering in a restricted area of dispersed settlement. More often such a pattern may also result from segregation or fragmentation of a large compact village.
  • Hamleted: Sometimes settlement is fragmented into several units physically separated from each other bearing a common name. These units are locally called panna, para, palli, nagla, dhani, etc. in various parts of the country. This segmentation of a large village is often motivated by social and ethnic factors. Such villages are more frequently found in the middle and lower Ganga plain, Chhattisgarh and lower valleys of the Himalayas.
  • Dispersed or isolated: Dispersed or isolated settlement pattern in India appears in the form of isolated huts or hamlets of few huts in remote jungles, or on small hills with farms or pasture on the slopes. Extreme dispersion of settlement is often caused by the extremely fragmented nature of the terrain and land resource base of habitable areas.

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