A typical village in Zimbabwe. Image credit dw.com

A typical village in Zimbabwe. Image credit dw.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Settlements: Rural settlement patterns

Linear Pattern

Linear settlement pattern. Image credit MediaWiki

Linear settlement pattern. Image credit MediaWiki

  • Consists of a line of huts or houses following a road, river, or cultivated areas/fields.
  • Such patterns can also develop along a watershed or a mountain range.
  • It should be pointed out that Zimbabwe’s roads, especially the major roads, are found on watersheds.

Radial Pattern

Radial settlement pattern. Image credit studyblue.com

Radial settlement pattern. Image credit studyblue.com

  • This pattern usually develops at road junctions or nodal points.
  • They radiate out from a central point like the spokes of a bicycle wheel going outwards in all directions.
  • These nodal points include rural service centers for example District Council Offices or Growth Points.

Circular pattern

  • Is a common pattern on desert nomadic camps, around dwalas, volcanic hills or wells and watering holes in semi-arid areas.
  • Some tribes e.g. The Kayapo in the Amazon Basin live in circular villages for cultural reasons.
  • They live in the outer houses and the central house is a meeting place.

Nucleated/Compact

Settlements in rural areas can be nucleated/gathered around market places, commercial farming areas or in camps.

Such settlements tend to be arranged in much the same manner as electrons in an atom.

Dispersed and Haphazard Settlements patterns

Dispersed pattern. Image credit cpat.org.uk

Dispersed pattern. Image credit cpat.org.uk

  • Settlements can also be dispersed especially in areas with fewer resources that cannot support dense populations as people try to give each other space to operate for example extensive farmers.
  • This is also common pattern in commercial farming, communal areas with ragged terrain and areas with poor soils.
  • Haphazard settlement patterns can be dispersed or compact but they usually do not conform to a recognizable shape showing a lack of planning.

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.

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