Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Site and Situation

The location and growth of an settlement depended upon its site and situation. The site was the actual place where people decided to locate their settlement. The growth of that settlement then depended upon its situation in relation to accessibility and availability of natural resources.

Site Factors

• reliable water supply

• away from flood risks

• defence

• building materials (stone or wood)

• fertile land

• shelterered from winds

• fuel supply (wood)

• south-facing slope (aspect)

• flat land, easy to build on

• natural harbour

Situation Factors

• route centre

• gap town

• lowest bridging point on a river

• port

• minerals for export

Settlement Patterns

Nucleated or clustered settlements often form at crossroads or route centres.
Dispersed settlements have no obvious centre and are often hamlets spread over fertile farmland.
Linear settlements: settlements grow along a road (e.g. in a narrow valley) or along the coast. Ribbon development is when housing grows out from a town along a main road.

Barcelona's Site and Situation

Site Situation
  • Hill for defence
  • Reliable water supply for drinking and power
  • Fertile farmland
  • Flat land for building
  • Sheltered by hills to the north
  • South-facing slope
  • Natural harbour
  • Construction material
  • Bridging point
  • Port
  • Route Centre
  • Limestone quarries
  • Close to wealthy NW European markets

Physical and Economic Site Factors

  • Water supply
  • Dry-point sites
  • Aspect
  • Shelter
  • Defence
  • Meander bend
  • Flat land
  • Natural harbour
  • Route centre
  • Bridging point
  • River confluence
  • Gap in hills
  • Port
  • Resources e.g. coal