Chapter 18: Settlement Patterns

Important Definitions


Population Distribution: Pattern showing where people live in an area. For example, a scattered distribution along a coastline or road.


Population Density: Figure calculated by dividing the population f a region by the regions area.


Settlement Patterns: arrangement of where people live on the earth or in a country and the factors that influence their arrangement.


Rural: outside towns and cities


Urban: Within towns and cities


Survey System: Pattern of land division used in an area


Concession System: type of survey used in southern Ontario whereby land is divided by concession roads and side roads into squares of varying size


Section System: survey system in most of the Prairie provinces with units of land, approximately, 1.6km by 1.6km (1 square mile).


Resource Based Settlement: The area of settlement is supported by a resource they provide (i.e. gold)


Service Based Settlement: The area of settlement is supported by a service they provide (i.e. Restaurant, attraction, gas station, etc.…)


Urbanization: The process of changing from rural to urban.


Multiplier effect: The effect on the economy caused by an expansion (usually business) that creates a set of jobs, that's because of those jobs creates more jobs. For example a computer store opens and hires 100 people, 300 new jobs are created in the computer business.


Threshold Population: The number of people needed in an area to make a business profitable, or to allow a service to be provided (i.e. a library)


Diversified Urban Center: A town or city that has a variety of basic urban functions


Site: The characteristics of land on which a city is built on


Petrochemical Industry: Industry dealing with chemicals based from petroleum.


Types of Settlement Systems




Resources and economic opportunity is focused in a small area. Examples would include a town dependent on a gold mine, where all the opportunity and resources are focused in one area.



Where buildings in a settlement are not clustered around a particular point but are scattered randomly.




A settlement pattern that follows a line, i.e. a road or river.