Wiki Rural Settlement Patterns


Clustered Rural Settlements- a rural settlement where a number of families live in close proximity to each other, with fields surrounding the collection of houses and farm buildings.

A clustered rural settlement typically includes homes, barns, tool sheds, and other farm structures along with religious and school structures. Each person that lives on a clustered rural settlement is allocated strips of land in the surrounding fields. The strips of land are allocated differently, some people own or rent the land. When the population of a settlement grows too large for the capacity of the surrounding fields, new settlements are established nearby. Homes, public buildings, and fields in a clustered rural settlement are arranged according to local cultural and physical characteristics. Clustered rural settlements are often arranged in one of two types of patterns: circular and linear.

Circular Rural Settlements: The circular form consists of a central open space surrounded by structures. This model has a center with homes, barns, schools, and churches and as you move away from the center, it is surrounded by farmland. Small garden plots were located in the first ring surrounding the village, with cultivated land, pastures and woodlands in successive rings. They resemble Von Thunens model as they are circular and have a center focal point.

Linear Rural Settlements: Linear rural settlements feature buildings clustered along a road, river, or dike to facilitate communications. The fields extend behind the buildings in long, narrow strips. The town would follow the river. The Town goes in a straight line because the French did it like this so the river can supply the people with a water source and the availability to travel and communicate. Roads were constructed in parallel to the river for access to inland farms. In this way, a new linear settlement emerged along each road, parallel to the original riverfront settlement.

Dispersed Rural Settlements- a rural settlement which has farmers living on individual farms isolated from neighbors rather than alongside other farmers in settlements.

Dispersed settlement patterns dominated in the American Midwest in part because the early settlers came primarily from the Middle Atlantic colonies. In New England a dispersed distribution began to replace the clustered settlements in the eighteenth century. The bonds that crated the initial clustered rural settlement had weakened.

Colonial American Clustered Settlements were built in a cluster formation around an open common. The colonists that created these settlements settled the land together as a group, and therefore traveling across sea together to settle on land grants. Most of these people in the group were of one church/ culture. These clustered settlements helped reinforce religious and cultural values. Land was not sold but awarded to a person when a town’s residents felt the recipient would work hard , and each person owned several discontinuous pieces of land. As the population grew, new clustered settlements were created.

In the south, the plantation system ruled. These large pieces of land held enough land and workers to be able to grow cash crops such as tobacco and cotton. Many of these plantations were fairly self sufficient, as they made things themselves. The mansion often was next to a body of water.

Additional Side Note: Enclosure Movement in Great Britain was a transformation from 1750 to 1850, where all the individual strips of land for consolidated into a single large farm for a single person. By creating large farms, farmers and farm tools are more productive and efficient, as farmers didn’t have to waste time moving from one isolated field to another.

Coincided with industrial revolution and helped to move people to cities