Functions of settlements - Differences between urban and rural settlement.
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Functions of Settlements As early settlements grew in size, each one tended to develop a specific function or Functions. The function of a town relates to its economic and social development and refers to its main activities. There are problems in defining and determining a town's main function and often, due to a lack of data such as employment and/or income Figures, subjective decisions have to be made. As settlements are very diverse, it helps to try to group together those with a similar function. Over the years, numerous attempts have been made to classify settlements based on function, but these tended to refer to places in industrialized countries and are no longer applicable to post-industrial societies.
~ Population Size: There is a wide discrepancy of views over the minimum size of population required to enable a settlement to be termed a town, e.g. in Denmark it is considered to be 250 people, in Ireland 500, in France 2000, in the USA 2500, in Spain 10 000 and in Japan 30 000. In India, where many villages are larger than British towns, a figure of less than 25 per cent engaged in agriculture is taken to be the dividing point. ~ Economic: Rural settlements have traditionally been defined as places where most of the workforce are farmers or are engaged in other primary activities.
It has becoming increasingly more difficult to differentiate between villages and towns, especially where urban areas have spread out wards into the rural fringe. It is, therefore, more realistic to talk about a transition zone from `strongly rural' to `strongly urban'. Cloke devised an index of rurality based upon 16 variables taken largely from census data for England and Wales. These variables included people aged over 65, pro portion employed in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, population density, population mobility (those moving home in the previous 5 years); proportion commuting; and distance from a large town. Cloke then identified four categories: . extreme rural . intermediate rural . intermediate non-rural . extreme non-rural
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