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Some communities along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, developed as linear settlements, as is still clearly seen in Champlain, Quebec
Picture of Victoria City
A picture of Victoria City between 1860 and 1865
Map of Victoria City (and Kowloon across the Victoria Harbour)
A map of Victoria City (bottom) and the city of Kowloon across the harbour, of 1915

In geography, a linear settlement is a (normally small to medium-sized) settlement or group of buildings that is formed in a long line.[1] Many follow a transport route, such as a road, river, or canal though some form due to physical restrictions, such as coastlines, mountains, hills or valleys. Linear settlements may have no obvious centre, such as a road junction.[2] Linear settlements have a long and narrow shape.

In the case of settlements built along a route, the route predated the settlement, and then the settlement grew up at some way station or feature, growing along the transport route. Often, it is only a single street with houses on either side of the road. Mileham, Norfolk, England is a good example of this. 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.

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Linear villagesEdit

A linear village[3] or a chain village[4] is a village that is also a linear settlement.

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