How do settlements develop?

Urban structure and models
• Urban structure is how the land use of a city is set out. Urban models are not real cities but a theory (or idea) of how they are set out. 

At first, early settlements were very small, founded on defensive sites or bridging points and some became bigger because they were market towns.

By the late 17th century, the agricultural revolution was well under way, forcing peasant farmers off the common land and into the towns to look for jobs,

The Industrial revolution rapidly followed and the rich merchants in the biggest towns quickly established new industries on the outskirts of their own towns.

The displaced farmers quickly became the factory workers. But they needed housing. Canals

So the industrialists built cheap poor quality terraced houses near the factories for the workers.

The result was that the towns grew very quickly and the population in towns exploded

Canals were built to cheaply transport the heavy goods that factories were making, and this encouraged further growth alongside the canals. This was mostly factories, but some housing as well


New industry and housing

The original OLD centre now became the service area for businesses like shops, banks and the market.

Not long after the canal era came the RAILWAYS. These linked lots more places than canals, and were much quicker.


As railways were the new means of transport, industries made sure that they located close to them, and the town expanded again.

People who lived near the centre of the town but who were reasonably well off didn’t like being surrounded by all the dirty industry and the workers slums, so they moved out.
Industry filled in around the railways.

A new ring of housing grew. Housing was better quality, bigger and often semidetached or large imposing terraces.

Roads also got much more important with the advent of the motor car.

New industrial areas developed along with new slum terraces.

The wealthiest people had already moved into country homes away from the city, but the city grew towards them. Wealthier people built large detached houses on the outskirts to add another ring Central Business District

Detached housing

Wedges of industry near road, rail and canal Semi-detached housing Terraced housing

As the city grew and became even more crowded, new housing estates and council estates were built on the rural/urban boundary to form the next ring.

New motorways or ring roads

Housing estates

Urban motorways.

The early slums were coming to the end of their life by the late 1960’s. The planners decided to clear them and re-house people, sometimes in tower blocks and sometimes in new estates on the outskirts.

Inner city clearance and redevelopment

This allowed space for the very congested CBD to expand………..

…………. and expand to fill in the new space.

CBD expands

More old housing was cleared….

Inner city clearance

… and this land was used to build Inner City tower blocks. Areas of open space were also created.

New tower blocks

Patches of open space

New industrial estates were developed on the rural urban fringe, with good accessibility to motorways and skilled labour force.

Good accessibility

New industrial estates

Here is a reminder of the basic urban structure of an MEDC (More Economically Developed Country) Model A - Burgess This is a very simple urban model (and quite easy to remember). As the city grows, newer buildings are built further away from the centre. • Zone 1 - Business is attracted to the centre to be easily accessible. Competition for space leads to high prices. Zone 2 -Industry developed in the UK in the nineteenth century, and factories were built around the CBD. Housing for workers was built close to the factories. Zone 3 - People then moved further out into newer residential areas as transport developed. Zone 4 and 5 - Today many people prefer the space and cleaner environment on the edge of the city and often commute to work or work in new out of town (green-field) sites.

• •

Model B - Hoyt Model B has developed from the simple concentric rings in model A. There are now wedges or sectors of land use. Many UK cities have structures similar to this one.  • This model takes into account physical features like rivers or transport links like roads. (Zones 2,3 and 5b) • Industry may have developed in a sector following a good transport link, helping it get goods in and out. (Zone 2) • A new housing development may have been built because of a new road linking it to the rest of the city.

Urbanisation Process in MEDC’s
Agricultural revolution machinery replaced labour Industrial Revolution new factories, mines, shipyards in towns

People gradually moved from the countryside to the towns

Housing was built for the workers close to the factories Towns expanded into cities and into conurbations Urbanisation occurred and over 80% of people in Britain now live in urban areas