The Future of Rural Settlement

Principal Investigator:

Peter Bibby


January 2013 - February 2015

This project examines representations of modern and historic settlement patterns across England to explore the extent to which present rural settlement (its pattern and density) results from development in the recent and more distant past. The project interlocks with the revision of Government's Rural:Urban Definitions used in rural proofing mainstream programmes. It also seeks to inform revision of the supporting documents that underpin the updating of the profiles for the National Character Areas by Natural England, including bulleted summaries for them.

Key objectives of the project are:

  • to understand the extent to which modern settlement density and type results from historical development;
  • to understand the potential impact of future settlement change on this inherited character;
  • to define the threats and opportunities posed in terms of future growth, environmental and social change; and,
  • to identify the key issues to inform spatial and community-based planning.


English Heritage