What is Urban Settlement?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Urban settlement is a densely populated area where a large number of people live and work in urbanized surroundings. Urban Settlement options (small and large) favor settlements in towns and cities. A regional plan usually divides cities into areas regulated by standards based on specific areas such as housing, sanitation, and the environment. Residential areas, services, infrastructure, and space for administrative, commercial, and industrial activities are all in the area.

Settlement in Urban Areas

Urban areas are defined differently in each nation. In the context of displaced populations, the expression is often used to characterize the transient or occasionally permanent form of living of displaced families.

Typically, a regional plan separates cities into regulated zones based on specifications for specific businesses, such as housing, sanitation, habitat, and environment.

Classification Factors of Urban Settlement

Population size, occupational structure, and administrative structure are some of the typical factors for classification:

Population size

  • In Colombia, a town must have at least 1,500 residents in order to be classified as urban; this number is 2,000 in Argentina and Portugal; 2,500 in the United States and Thailand; 5,000 in India; and 30,000 in Japan.
  • Along with the population number, factors such as the density of 400 people per square kilometer and the percentage of non-agricultural workers are taken into account.

Occupational structure

  • In some countries such as India, the main economic activities are considered to designate a settlement as urban.


  • A settlement may be classified as urban in various nations based on its administrative structure.
  • For instance, a settlement of any size is considered urban in India if it has a municipality, board, or notified area board.


What is Urban Settlement?

Urban settlement is basically an area where a large number of people live and earn their livelihood. These densely populated are considered the opposite of rural settlements. An Urban Settlement area is defined differently in every nation. Population size, occupational structure, and organizational structure are common classification factors. Lastly, the area includes residential areas, services, infrastructure, and locations for administrative, commercial, and industrial operations.

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