A settlement pattern means the shape of a settlement. The shape of early settlements was usually influenced by the surrounding landcape:
- a dispersed settlement pattern is where the buildings are spread out and is often found in upland areas;
- a nucleated settlement pattern is where a lot of buildings are grouped together and is often found in lowland areas;
- a linear settlement pattern is where the buildings are built in lines and is often found on steep hillsides.
Originally, people built their homes together for: companionship, safety and to share services. Over a long period of time, many villages grow as more people want to live in them. This creates a distinct shape or pattern of land use:
- The Central Business District (CBD) - This is in the centre and contains the: shops, offices and public buildings (like museums and hospitals) because it is the most accessible point.
- The Inner-City - In some settlements this area contains abandoned factories and old terraced houses, whilst in others it has been redeveloped by converting empty warehouses into flats and waste land into parks.
- The Suburbs - These are the residential areas where people who commute into the CBD for work live on housing estates.
Recently, large out-of-town shopping centres have been built on the edges of settlements because: the land is cheap to buy, there is plenty of space for car parks and it is near to their customers living in the suburbs.
Large towns and cities may be surrounded by an area of countryside called a green belt where no new building is allowed. This gives people space to walk and play in and protects the local wildlife.