Last edited 22 Oct 2018



A village is a human settlement of a small size which is typically situated in a rural location. Broadly, a village tends to have a population of between 500 and 2,500, making it larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town. Historically, in the UK, villages tended to be classified as such when a church was built.

During the Industrial Revolution, people were drawn in greater numbers away from villages to towns and cities, or villages grew into towns themselves.

Traditionally, many villages developed as a form of community that was based around some form of amenity or trade, such as subsistence farming or fishing. In some cases, a village would be a form of ‘linear settlement’, i.e. one that was built in a line such as a along a railway line, road, river or coastline. Alternatively, they could be clustered around a central point, such as a church, market, or public space such as a ‘village green’. This is referred to as a ‘nucleated settlement’.

Planned villages are those which do not develop naturally around a central point or linear settlement but are instead created by urban planners.

In January 2017, the government announced the development of the 14 garden villages across England, with the potential to deliver more than 48,000 new homes. These may range in size from 1,500 to 10,000 homes, and will be distinct new places with their own community facilities, rather than extensions of existing urban areas. For more information, see Garden village.

The term ‘village’ can also be used to refer to particular neighbourhoods within a larger area, such as Greenwich Village in Manhattan, Chorlton Village in Greater Manchester, and the Olympic Village in London. These are often seen as being desirable areas and are sometimes part of a process of gentrification.

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