There are several types of rural settlements. Farmsteads and hamlets belong to rural settlements. Typical of rural settlements are the villages. You are aware that India is a land of villages. Villages may be classified on the basis of the site, situation, size and form as follows.
In this type of village, the buildings and houses are found packed together. High population density is the indirect cause of such compactness. As the houses and buildings are built in response to demand from the population, they are huddled together. There are several families housed in a single dwelling, in such villages.
These are villages which grow around some nuclei. The nuclei may be a pond, lake or a temple. Roads and buildings are constructed around it in a dense fashion. In the oases of deserts, the nucleus of the settlements is the water source. In Tamil Nadu, Madurai developed with temple as its centre. Likewise, there are several settlements in India which had developed with forts and palaces as their centres. St. George Fort was the nucleus of the city of Chennai is a well known fact.
Let us suppose that a family leaves a village and settles down in another place. Over time, there emerge several houses around it to make a new village. In this manner, several settlements emerge near about a village through time. In due course, all these settlements form a group or a bunched settlement.
Although such settlements are clustered, they have two definable parts. These parts may be found on either side of a bridge or on the up and down slopes of the hills. Sometimes, the two develop independent of each other. They may have the same name with prefixes such as 'Upper', 'Lower', 'East' and 'West'. At times, they may have two different names.
Urban settlements are far different from those of the rural settlements. There are nationally and internationally important cities and towns. Older cities developed amongst the agricultural regions. Modern cities developed as a consequence of the 20th century industrial development. Cities provide many different economic and social services. In fact, several cities emerged in response to the needs of the time. Examples are: commercial towns, mining towns, coastal cities, recreational towns and university towns. Most cities and towns are characterised by narrow streets and tall buildings. They are densely populated, with activities other than agriculture dominating the culture. Even though people here live in groups and in neighbourhoods, there are no closer social relations. Migrations, social instabilities, class structures and people of differential wealth are the characteristic features of the towns and cities.
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