IH202: Southeast Asia: The Rice that Binds?
Research Essay (10%)
The definition of the phrase ‘Settlement pattern’ is associated with the understanding of how a particular society used the available resources in its region. The phrase can also be described as the actual land upon which a settlement is built. So what exactly is the pattern of settlements in Southeast Asia? Some say that the pattern of human settlement in Southeast Asia is dispersed settlements where buildings are spread out; an example would be the rural areas of Philippines, where different villages are at different parts of the country. Others say that it’s more like linear settlements that grow in a line, often alongside roads, river valleys or the coast, for example, the dense population in the rural part of the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers. Yet, a handful also say that it’s more like nucleated settlements with buildings grouped close together and are found at cross roads, like Singapore, where it is clustered by tall buildings and settlements. Therefore, it is hard to decide on what pattern are the settlements in the region; is it the dispersal settlement, the linear settlement or the nucleated settlement – or people are just looking for a place where it can satisfy their basic needs of food and shelter? However, there are many factors that affect the settlement patterns. The location and the growth of a settlement depend on its site. The site is the place where people locate their settlement and the progress of their settlement will depend on its accessibility and availability of natural resources. There are also four specific variables, the economic factor, the physical factor, the technological factor and the historical factor that have the most impact on the nature of human settlement of all kinds. These variables control the desire of settlers to move to another location in order to gain rewards and start afresh. The economic factor is the necessary cause of settlement and the...
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