English - Settlements



About 90 percent of England's population is urban or suburban, and less than 3 percent of its people are engaged in agriculture. Thus, there is a structure of towns, villages, and cities where one sees scattered groups of high-density residence patterns. In spite of the large urban sprawl, England has extensive tracts of farms with smaller villages engulfed by trees, copses, hedgerows, and fields. Settlement patterns are classed into seven categories: conurbations, cities, boroughs, towns, villages, hamlets, and farms. Conurbations refer to the large complexes of densely populated urban areas with a complex of suburbs and towns surrounding or within a large city. A city is a large important borough. A borough is a town possessing a municipal corporation with special privileges conferred by royal charter (a city can have boroughs within it). A town can be incorporated or not incorporated within a conurbation, but either way it is a small cluster of buildings, which has an independent government with greater powers of rating (taxation), paving, and sanitation than those of a village. The village is smaller than a town and has less independence, and a hamlet is smaller still, often without a church. An examination of settlement patterns of towns, villages, and hamlets reveals a great variety of planned or unplanned settlements, with buildings at regular or random intervals. They can be clustered around a center, with its own structure of roads or lanes, or linear, along the sides of a road or field. Farmsteads generally comprise the farming family.


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