Rural Settlement Patterns and Rural Development in the Yorubaland of Nigeria

Osunade, M. A. A. (1982)


This paper focuses on three aspects of rural settlements: the concept of rurality, rural settlement characteristics and development implications. The conception of rurality by the Yoruba people is sociologically defined and thus inconsistent with demographic definition. A settlement of 40 houses may be called a town (ilu) and another of 80 houses a village (abule) depending on history and the people. The analysis showed that: (a) the curnmulative total of the number of settlements conforms to the S-shaped or sigmoid growth form of biological population; (b) rural settlements do not take the form of a wave diffusion in which areas occupied by earlier settlement lay adjacent to the 'mother' town, and (c) there is no appreciable relationship between topographical factors roads and settlements. The factors of size and spatially dispersed distribution of settlements emphasize the attendant problems of rural development. It is therefore suggested that a reorganisation of settlements for increased threshold population under the Local Government framework is desirable.