Urban-type settlement[note 1] is an official designation for a semi-urban settlement (or a former town), used in several Eastern European countries. The term was historically used in Bulgaria, Poland, and the Soviet Union, and remains in use today in 10 of the post-Soviet states.
This type of locality has been used in all 15 member republics of the former Soviet Union since 1922, when it replaced a number of terms which could have been translated by the English term "town" (Russia – posad, Ukraine – містечко, mistechko, Belarus – мястэчка, miastečka (the last two are diminutives from місто and места, correspondingly, similarly to the Polish word: miasteczko, lit. 'small town' being derived from miasto) and others). It was introduced later in Poland (1954) and Bulgaria (1964). All the urban-type settlements in Poland were transformed into other types of settlement (town or village) in 1972, while in Bulgaria and five of the post-Soviet republics (namely Armenia, Moldova, and the three Baltic states), they were changed in the early 1990s. Today, this term is still used in the other nine post-Soviet republics – Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
What counts as an urban-type settlement differs between time periods and countries and often between different divisions of a single country. However, the criteria generally focus on the presence of urban infrastructure or resort facilities for urban residents.
In the Soviet Union the criteria of urban-type settlements were set independently by the Soviet Republics. Those criteria, however, only differed very slightly from one republic to another.
In the Russian SFSR, urban-type settlements were subdivided into three types:
- Work settlements (рабочие посёлки): localities with factories, mining industry, power stations, construction industry, with population of at least 3,000 and with at least 85% of the population being workers, professionals, and the members of their families;
- Resort settlements (курортные посёлки): localities focusing on resort and health facilities (around beaches, mineral water spas, etc.), with population of at least 2,000, with at least 50% of the average annual population being non-permanent residents;
- Suburban settlements (dacha settlements, дачные посёлки): settlements with a focus on private summer-time and weekend recreation, with no more than 25% of the permanent population being employed in the agricultural sector.
In 1981, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic defined an urban-type settlement as follows: "To the category of an urban-type settlement may be included any settlement located near industrial enterprises, buildings, railroad connections, hydro-technical constructions, and enterprises in production and refining of agrarian products as well as settlements that include higher or middle occupation educational establishments, science-researching institutions, sanatoria, and other stationary treatment and recreation establishments that have a state housing provided to no less than 2,000 inhabitants out of which no less than two-thirds consist of workers, servicemen, and their families.
In exceptional cases, settlements could be classified to the category of urban-type settlements if they had a population less than 2,000, but more than 500; this happened when they had a close perspective of an economic and social development or a potential increase in number of people.
The term was introduced in Ukraine in 1920s and became official since the resolution of the Central Executive Committee of Ukraine of October 28, 1925 replacing all towns (mistechko) as urban-type settlement.
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- Urban settlements: with population over 2,000, industrial enterprises and developed residential infrastructure
- Resort settlements: with population of at least 2,000, sanatoriums, resorts or other health recuperation establishments, and developed residential infrastructure
- Worker settlements: with population at least 500, servicing industrial enterprises, construction sites, railroad stations, electric stations, or other industrial objects.
In accordance with the 2008 Law on Administrative and Territorial Subdivision of Kyrgyzstan, urban-type settlements are those that comprise economically significant facilities such as industrial plants, railway stations, construction sites, etc., as well as settlements with a recreational potential with population of at least 2,000. In exceptional cases, administrative, economic and cultural centers with a potential of economical development and population growth can be classified as urban-type settlements.
In modern Russia, the task of deciding whether an inhabited locality meets the criteria of urban-type settlements is delegated to the federal subjects. In most cases, the federal subject's legislative body is responsible for all administrative and territorial changes, including granting and revoking of the urban-type settlement and town status.
Apart from being used to refer to a type of inhabited locality, the term "urban-type settlement" and its variations is also used to refer to a division of an administrative district, and sometimes to a division administratively subordinated to a city district of a city of federal subject significance. This kind of administrative division is equal in status to the towns of district significance and selsoviets, and is normally centered on an inhabited locality with urban-type settlement status. As of 2013, the following types of such entities are recognized:
- Resort settlement (курортный посёлок): in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
- Settlement (посёлок): in the Republic of Dagestan and the Sakha Republic; in Krasnoyarsk and Stavropol Krais
- Settlement administration (поселковая администрация): in Altai Krai
- Settlement administrative okrug (поселковый административный округ): in Bryansk Oblast
- Settlement council (поссовет): in the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Udmurt Republic; in Altai Krai; in Tambov Oblast
- Settlement municipal formation (муниципальное образование со статусом поселения): in Leningrad Oblast
- Settlement okrug (поселковый округ): in Krasnodar Krai; in Belgorod and Ulyanovsk Oblasts
- Suburban settlement (дачный посёлок): in Moscow and Omsk Oblasts
- Urban settlement (городское поселение): in the Chuvash Republic; in Amur, Rostov, Smolensk, Tver, and Voronezh Oblasts
- Urban settlement (urban-type settlement) (городской посёлок (посёлок городского типа): in Kostroma Oblast
- Urban-type settlement (посёлок городского типа): in the Republic of Buryatia, the Chechen Republic, the Mari El Republic, and the Republic of Tatarstan; in Astrakhan, Kemerovo, Kirov, Murmansk, Nizhny Novgorod, Oryol, Sakhalin, Tula, Volgograd, and Vologda Oblasts
- Urban-type settlement administrative territory (административная территория – посёлок городского типа): in the Komi Republic
- Urban-type settlement of district significance (посёлок городского типа районного значения): in Kaliningrad Oblast and Nenets Autonomous Okrug
- Urban-type settlement (settlement council) (посёлок городского типа (поссовет)): in the Republic of Khakassia
- Urban-type settlement under district jurisdiction (посёлок городского типа районного подчинения): in Kurgan Oblast
- Urban-type settlement (urban settlement) (посёлок городского типа (городское поселение)): in the Tuva Republic
- Urban-type settlement with jurisdictional territory (посёлок городского типа с подчинённой территорией): in Arkhangelsk Oblast
- Work settlement (рабочий посёлок): in the Republic of Mordovia; in Krasnoyarsk Krai; in Belgorod, Chelyabinsk, Kursk, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Penza, Ryazan, and Yaroslavl Oblasts
- Russian: посёлок городско́го ти́па, romanized: posyolok gorodskogo tipa, abbreviated: Russian: п.г.т., romanized: p.g.t.; Ukrainian: селище міського типу, romanized: selyshche mis'koho typu, abbreviated: Ukrainian: с.м.т., romanized: s.m.t.; Belarusian: пасёлак гарадскога тыпу, romanized: pasiolak haradskoha typu; Polish: osiedle typu miejskiego; Bulgarian: селище от градски тип, romanized: selishte ot gradski tip; Romanian: așezare de tip orășenesc.
- (in Ukrainian) Official Decree of the Presidium of Verkhovna Rada of March 12, 1981
- Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia (Українська радянська енциклопедія), vol. 10, p. 94 , 1983
- Закон Республики Беларусь от 5 мая 1998 г. № 154-З «Об административно-территориальном делении и порядке решения вопросов административно-территориального устройства Республики Беларусь»
- Кыргызской Республики от 25 апреля 2008 г. № 65 «Об административно-территориальном делении Кыргызской Республики»