The rural settlements are concerned with the degree of dispersion of the dwellings and the life is supported by land based primary economic activities. Rural people are less mobile and therefore, social relations among them are intimate. In India, the rural settlement varies with the diversity of climatic condition in India that is compact or clustered village of a few hundred houses is a rather universal feature, particularly in the northern plains. However, there are several areas, which have other forms of rural settlements. There are various factors and conditions responsible for having different types of rural settlements in India which is given below:
• Physical features – nature of terrain, altitude, climate and availability of water
• Cultural and ethnic factors – social structure, caste and religion
• Security factors – defence against thefts and robberies.
Rural settlements in India
• Clustered, agglomerated or nucleated: It is a compact or closely built up area of houses. In this type of village the general living area is distinct and separated from the surrounding farms, barns and pastures.
• Semi-clustered or fragmented: These types of settlements may result from tendency of clustering in a restricted area of dispersed settlement. More often such a pattern may also result from segregation or fragmentation of a large compact village.
• Hamleted: Sometimes settlement is fragmented into several units physically separated from each other bearing a common name. These units are locally called panna, para, palli, nagla, dhani, etc. in various parts of the country. This segmentation of a large village is often motivated by social and ethnic factors.
• Dispersed or isolated: This pattern of settlement appears in the form of isolated huts or hamlets of few huts in remote jungles, or on small hills with farms or pasture on the slopes. Extreme dispersion of settlement is often caused by extremely fragmented nature of the terrain and land resource base of habitable areas.