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Last edited 24 Oct 2022
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.
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’.
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.
NB The GEN Glossary, published by the Global Ecovillage Network, [accessed 24/20/2022], defines a village as: ‘A clustered human settlement, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few tens to a few thousand. Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to urban neighborhoods.’
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