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Traditional and modern form of settlement in Singapore , Toa Payoh district in the central region

A settlement , also settlement, place or locality, is a geographical place where people have settled and live together for the purpose of living and working . The term settlement usually refers to sedentary forms of life; H. permanent, at least long-term living in buildings . In this case one also speaks of the fact that people settle in a place or in a region or settle there (see also settlers ). People may initially live in makeshift or temporary structures before permanent buildings are erected. In the case of makeshift accommodation or sleeping places that are only intended for short use from the outset, it is more likely that a camp is set up or set up (e.g. tent camp , field camp , holiday camp , base camp for expeditions, protest camp). Refugee camps are mostly set up with a provisional character, but can develop into a permanent form of settlement.

Settlements can have very different dimensions, from Einsiedlerhof to villages to metropolitan areas with several million inhabitants. From a certain size onwards, a functioning settlement usually also includes economic , cultural , social and transport structures . Settlements and places usually have their own settlement name (place name, oikonym).

Deviating from this, districts or satellite towns of existing localities are also referred to as settlements that were laid out as planned districts; often these are residential areas in open construction . This applies in particular to large housing estates , larger cooperative housing estates , satellite towns, but also settlements made up of so-called settlement houses ( small settlements ). In the latter case, the term settlement is sometimes simply the name of the district, especially if the core town has more village dimensions (e.g. Trogen , district settlement).

Informal settlements are built without a permit and without land ownership.


In archeology, the term settlement serves as a neutral term for any site with houses, huts or other structures that were used for residential purposes. The length of stay can range from a few days to several centuries, if not millennia ( Tell ). Single houses are also referred to as settlements. The term village assumes the existence of jointly used structures or facilities.

Forms of settlement

Settlements are divided into different types of settlement ( synonymous settlement types). These can occur in their pure form, but mostly several forms of settlement mix, especially when settlements grow.

In larger municipalities, different types of settlement often exist side by side. When 11 million displaced persons had to be taken in in Germany in the immediate post-war period , new building areas with uniform house types (“ settlement houses ”) emerged, often along a street in the outskirts of the villages. The population of many villages in rural areas doubled in the course of the settlement construction in the 1950s.

New living space also had to be created for the repatriates and ethnic repatriates who arrived in the 1990s and 2000s . In addition, there were comparatively few single-family houses in the new federal states . After the fall of the Wall, new "settlement areas" emerged, but these were laid out more individually and more generously than after the war.

Differentiation according to the size of the settlement

Even a plot of land with a single inhabited building can be a settlement. A single settlement comprises a single building or two neighboring buildings; a hamlet consists of a few buildings. For very small settlements with only one or a few buildings there are different names, some of which are only regionally customary, such as homestead or wasteland .

In order to achieve an international official statistical comparability, the Statistical Commission of the United Nations has defined a smallest geographic settlement unit, the settlement unit  (SE, English locality ). The lower limit adapts to the settlement structure of the state.

A distinction is made in the topographical settlement identification of Statistics Austria :

Especially in northern Germany, Flecken is a name for a smaller but locally important settlement. It can be a village or a city or a district.

Small settlements above a certain size are called "village", medium and large settlements " city ". In practice, however, this rough distinction does not always match the circumstances. Village is a term used in the rural settlement structure, and the right to use the designation city in Europe does not depend directly on the number of inhabitants, but on city ​​law (the Croatian town of Hum has around 17 inhabitants).

In Germany, if the settlement bears the title "City", a distinction is made according to the number of inhabitants:

Cities with more than 1 million inhabitants are called metropolis referred beyond agglomerations as a megacity . The term metropolis does not only refer to the size of a city. A metropolis is a large city that forms the political, social, cultural and economic center of a region or country.

Differentiation according to the arrangement of the buildings

Newly created settlements often have very special shapes. However, over time, the characteristic shape often disappears. But especially in village forms of settlement, the shape is often retained for a long time.

A distinction is made between the following forms:

  • Arcology : A type of settlement created according to ecological criteria, which consists of a single huge building complex.
  • Dike row settlement : a row of houses relocated behind the dike during the high medieval state development.
  • Fortified city : a settlement built primarily from the point of view of defense. Fortified towns are particularly noticeable for their huge fortifications, to which all further planning has to be subjected.
  • Garden city : A very extensive form of settlement in which city and rural living are to be combined.
  • Structured city : In this type of settlement, the areas of living, working and recreation are strictly separated from each other.
  • Geometric City : A city built according to geometric criteria. The streets can e.g. B. be arranged at right angles, or circular and radial around a center point.
  • Haufendorf : In this type of settlement, the buildings are all built closely together without following any geometric order.
  • Reihendorf : A very narrow and elongated form of settlement. Often with fields directly behind the houses.
    • Marschhufendorf : A row village that follows a drainage ditch in the marshland.
    • Street village : A settlement in which all buildings are lined up on a single street.
    • Waldhufendorf : A row village on a clearing.
    • Hagenhufendorf : A row of Hufendorf on a watercourse with hedges between the properties.
  • Platzdorf
    • Rundling : Smaller settlements in which all buildings are arranged around a central square or building.
      • Wurtendorf : A round that was created on an artificial hill.
      • Kraal : African form of settlement
    • Angerdorf : There is a parish square in the center of the village.
  • Scattered settlement : The buildings are distributed randomly over a large area

Differentiation according to the type of development

Examples of naming according to the type of apartment or house:

Differentiation according to social aspects

Examples of settlements in which only people live who meet certain criteria or in which special rules apply:

Types of settlement in individual countries and regions


Places in Austria
country places SE
Burgenland 850 130
Carinthia 7,500 154
Lower Austria 11,150 458
Upper Austria 13,150 312
Salzburg 6,300 114
Styria 14,700 222
Tyrol 7.150 190
Vorarlberg 2,050 45
Vienna 150 4th
Austria 54,700 1,629
Places: values ​​strongly rounded, status 2001; SE: settlement units> 500 according to focus, exact, as of 2010

In Austria there are a total of about 55,000 places (settlement names  ) - listed in the Austrian map (ÖK) / Geonam -, from cities to individual locations. There are also numerous homesteads with vulgar names that are not recorded in this map series. These places are combined into a total of 17,368 localities (postcode areas) and 2,357 municipalities (political units).

The lower limit of the UN settlement unit  (SE) was chosen in Austria with 501 inhabitants. According to this international definition, there are 1,629 settlement units. They comprise a total of 1,653,456 buildings (71.1% of all buildings in Austria), their total population is 6,682,076 (79.8% of the total population), that is, one fifth of all Austrians live in places with less than 500 inhabitants. The average size of a settlement unit is 1,015 buildings with 4,102 inhabitants, so it is in the range of a small town. On the other hand, a significant part of the approximately 2,300 municipal capitals and a large part of the other 15,000 local capitals are smaller than 500 inhabitants.

The relationship between the settlement names, villages and settlement units provides information about the local settlement structure: The state of Salzburg has 6,300 places, but only 114 settlement units, which speaks for many small settlements, while Burgenland has 850 places out of 129 units, i.e. primarily larger places. Styria has most of the towns in Austria, but only half as many settlement units as Lower Austria, so it is structured in a more small-town manner. Lower Austria has three times as many inhabitants as Salzburg, but only twice as many place names, which is due to the scattered settlement unnamed in the ÖK, while Salzburg has more closed places. The 150 place names in Vienna are the ingrown pre- and surrounding places , now the districts , parts of the district and Grätzl form, still has the city as much rural areas that in the east of Vienna three other currently independent settlement units result ( Aspern , New Sling , Süßenbrunn ).

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

The names for types of settlements in Russia , Ukraine, and Belarus have some significant differences from classification systems in other countries. These countries have basically the same names for the different types of settlement.

Urban settlement types

According to a resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of September 15, 1924, urban settlement types are all settlements with at least 1,000 inhabitants on the condition that only 25% of the population live from agriculture .

Rural settlement types

The rural settlement types include:

  • Derewnja (Russian деревня / derewnja, pl. Деревни / derewni) are historically villages with 10 to 30 houses or courtyards without a church in contrast to the Selo, which has a church. However, this definition is no longer up to date and many derewni can easily be called selo.
  • Selo (Russian and Ukrainian село / selo, pl. Сёла / sjola; Belarusian сяло / sjalo) are villages, but historically in contrast to Derevnia with their own (village) church.
  • Settlement (Russian посёлок / possjolok , pl. Посёлки / possjolki; Ukrainian селище / selyschtsche , pl. Селища / selyschtscha; belarusian пасёлак / passjolak, pl. Пасёлкі / passjolki)
    • A settlement can be supplemented with the addition "(settlement) rural (or village) type" (Russian (посёлок) сельского типа / possjolok selskowo tipa, pl. Посёлки сельского типа / possjolki selskow to represent the majority of that the resident lives from farming .
  • Chutor (Russian хутор / Chutor; pl. Хутора / chutora; Ukrainian хутір / chutir, pl. Хутори / chutori; belarusian хутар / chutar) correspond to the single settlement , but may also to a Weiler grow.
  • Pochinok (Russian починок , pl. Починки / pochinki) is only available in Russia as emigrant settlement, mostly in the form of a single settlement in a non-populated area. Potschinki are considered the initial form of a village.

Other types of settlements

All settlements that were classified as a dacha settlement (Russian дачный посёлок , dachni posjolok), workers' settlement (Russian рабочий посёлок , rabotschi posjolok) or course settlement (russian курортнnini олок), urban settlement (russian курортнnini курортнni курортный курортный курортные курортный послок) had to be classified as urban type become. However, they can also be considered sub-points of the urban-type settlement .

In some parts of Russia populated by Turkic peoples and Islamic successor states of the Soviet Union, villages are referred to as Aul (Russian Аул ).

Parts of Poland belonged to Russia in different periods of Russian history . The Russian term Местечко comes from this period from the Polish Miasteczko for urban-type settlements and thus also correspond to a minority town . In rare cases this term is also used to refer to settlements with a significant Jewish population.

Historical settlement types

  • Staniza (Russian станица / stanitsa; pl. Станицы / stanitsi; Ukrainian Ukrainian станиця / stanyzja) is the historical name for Cossack settlements . Most of the Stanitsi are now villages.
  • Sloboda (Russian Слобода / Sloboda, Ukrainian Слобода / Sloboda; Belarusian Слабада / Slabada, воля or вулька ) referred medieval rural settlement which is spatially formed within a city, where the inhabitants of forced labor were free, or just pawns were allowed to settle. The Slobodas emerged as a separate district in the sense of a free settlement since the 13th century.
  • In the Soviet era, collective farms were jointly organized agricultural collectives , in the GDR they were called agricultural production cooperatives and in Israel they were called kibbutzes .
  • In late medieval and early modern Russian principalities and republics and later in Tsarist Russia , the Kremlin was a kind of citadel that formed the center of ancient cities. Together with the Kremlin, the Possad forms the entire city.
  • Possad (Russian Посад / Posad) was the commercial suburb of a Kremlin in medieval Russia . It is located outside the protective Kremlin walls. The Possad was subordinate to a tsarist governor and had self-administration which was comparable to the village community, the Obschtschina , but not quite as pronounced. It is similar to the Lischke of the Teutonic Order, but the possads are not necessarily random.
  • Ostrog refers to fortified settlement points surrounded by four to six meter high palisade walls, which were built in Russia up to the 17th century.



See also


  • Wilma Ruth Albrecht , city ​​or settlement? On the concept of space in social science studies on urban settlement units and on its relevance to planning. In: Austrian Journal for Sociology . (ÖZS), 8 (1983) 3, pp. 57–78 [fundamental conceptual contribution to the sociology of space, settlement and city]
  • RE Blanton: Houses and Households. A Comparative Study. New York 1994.
  • Ursula Flecken: On the genesis of postmodernism in urban planning. Drafts 1960–1975 in West Germany. Berlin 1999.
  • Johannes Göderitz, Roland Rainer, Hubert Hoffmann: The structured and relaxed city. Tuebingen 1957.
  • Robert Hoffmann: "Take hack and spade ..." Settlement and settlement movement in Austria 1918–1938. (= Austrian texts on social criticism. Volume 33). Vienna 1987.
  • Benedikt Huber, Ken Komai, Helmut Winter: Design criteria in modern urban planning. Zurich 1988.
  • Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York 1961.
    • German translation: Death and Life of Great American Cities. Berlin / Frankfurt / Vienna 1963.
  • Volker Kleinekort, Astrid Schneing: The settlement in the city. Jovis, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86859-395-2
  • Leo Krause: Munich multi-storey housing estates in the 1950s. A research contribution on housing development in the Federal Republic of Germany. Commission publishing house UNI-Druck, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-87821-276-3 .
  • Sven Ostritz: Investigations into the choice of settlement sites in the Central German Neolithic. In: Contributions to the prehistory and early history of Central Europe. Volume 25, Beier & Beran, Weißbach 2000.
  • Hans Bernhard Reichow : The car-friendly city . Otto Maier Verlag, Ravensburg 1959.
  • Eda Schaur: Unplanned settlements. Non-Planned Settlements. Stuttgart 1991.
  • Dieter Selk, Dietmar Walberg, Astrid Holz: Settlements from the 1950s - modernization or demolition? Methodology for making decisions about demolition, modernization or new construction in settlements from the 1950s. Final report. Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning -BBR-, Bonn (sponsor); Working group for contemporary building e. V., Kiel (executive body) ISBN 978-3-8167-7481-5 .
  • Klaus Selle, Sibille Hüchtker, Brigitte Scholz, Heidi Sutter-Schurr: Forms of work and organization for sustainable development. Volume 2: Building settlements, developing neighborhoods. Practical examples. Dortmund distributor for building and planning literature, 2000.

Web links

Wiktionary: settlement  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. John Chapman, Meet the ancestors: Settlement Histories in the Neolithic. In: Douglass W. Bailey, Alasdair Whittle, Daniela Hofmann (Eds.), Living well together? Settlement and materiality in the Neolithic of South-East and Central Europe . Oxford, Oxbow Books 2008, pp. 68-80.
  2. Herbert Jankuhn , Introduction to Settlement Archeology. Berlin, de Gruyter 1997, p. 114.
  3. a b Statistics Austria: Local directory 2001. 9 regional volumes, each alphabetical directory: settlement names. Pp. 5 117-123, 231-277, 411-469, 417-485, 142-181, 341-417, 197-241, 89-102, 113-114
  4. a b settlement units. In: Statistics Austria. Retrieved July 20, 2016 .
  5. All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars : Общее положение о городских и сельских поселениях и поселках. In: September 15, 1924, accessed October 19, 2014 (Russian).