Answer :

Many families living in the same area gives rise to ‘clustered rural settlements. Three features that are distinctive of these types of settlements are as follows –

a) The houses in this form of settlement are built very close to each other and in some specific geometrical patterns such as rectangles, radial or linear.

b) the residential zone is well demarcated and distinct from the surrounding barns, farms and pastures.

c) Often reasons for security and defence (like in the Bundelkhand area) or optimal utilization of scarce resources (like drought prone zones of Rajasthan) leads to the formation of such settlements. In general, such settlements are observed in the fertile alluvial plains and in the north-eastern states.


Rural settlements in India can be categorized into four broad types – clustered, semi-clustered/fragmented, hamlets and dispersed/ isolated. Different factors are responsible for the formation of the different rural settlements. These include –

a) Physical features –

i. Nature of terrain – gentle terrains are densely populated.

ii. Altitude – higher altitudes are sparsely populated giving rise to fragmented and isolated settlements.

iii. Climate – inhospitable climate forms isolated or fragmented settlements.

iv. Availability of water – abundant water supply along with easy accessibility gives rise to fragmented rural settlements or even isolated ones. When water supply is limited, clustered settlements emerge so that the limited water supply is optimally used.

b) Cultural and ethnic features –

i. Social structure –

ii. Caste and religion –

c) Security factors – areas which are prone to robberies and thefts see the formation of clustered settlements rather than isolated ones.

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