What Is Nucleated Settlement?

by Lexa W. Lee

Nucleated settlement refers to a town with buildings clustered together around a center. Settlement patterns of towns include dispersed, linear and nucleated, each influenced by largely geographic factors.


Nucleated settlements are easier to defend, according to National Grid for Learning Cymru. Such settlements typically developed around castles and forts, for example. Townspeople would seek shelter inside the central area in case of danger.

Water Supply

Nucleated settlements often develop around a conveniently located water supply, like a bend in a river.

Flat Areas

Nucleated settlements in flat areas without geographic restrictions allow for a town to grow outward in many directions. A busy road crossing also allows a surrounding town to develop further.

About the Author

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.

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