Linear settlement

A linear settlement is a (normally small to medium-sized) settlement or group of buildings that is formed in a long line.[1] Many of these settlements are formed along a transport route, such as a road, river, or canal. Others form due to physical restrictions, such as coastlines, mountains, hills or valleys. Linear settlements may have no obvious centre.[2]

Some communities along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, developed as linear settlements, as is still clearly seen in Champlain

In the case of settlements built along a route, the route predated the settlement, and then the settlement grew along the transport route. Often, it is only a single street with houses on either side of the road. Mileham, Norfolk, England is an example of this pattern. Later development may add side turnings and districts away from the original main street. Places such as Southport, England developed in this way.

A linear settlement is in contrast with ribbon development, which is the outward spread of an existing town along a main street, and with a nucleated settlement, which is a group of buildings clustered around a central point.

A sketch of a street village

Particular types of linear settlements are linear village, chain village,[citation needed] street village (Polish: ulicówka;[3] German: Straßendorf,[3] Lithuanian: gatvinis kaimas, French: village-rue), and some others. Different countries have various classifications of linear settlements.

Sułoszowa, Poland, is notable for its 9 km long, single main street and its thin strips of farm land, inhabited by 6000 people.

In 2022, construction began on The Line, a 170-kilometre-long (110 mi) linear city in Saudi Arabia.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ English heritage thesaurus Archived 2007-09-14 at the Wayback Machine, 23-05-2013
  2. ^ "Linear settlements". National Grid for Learning Cymru. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ a b "Poland Population Distribution"
  4. ^ Ravenscroft, Tom (2022-10-19). "Drone footage reveals The Line megacity under construction in Saudi Arabia". Dezeen. Archived from the original on 2022-10-19. Retrieved 2022-11-13.

Further readingEdit