This is a book concerned with rural settlement, i.e. that part of the settlement hierarchy most closely concerned with working the land. While no study of limited dimensions can claim to be worldwide, it adopts a viewpoint which draws examples from regions as widely separated as the tropics and the temperate zones and from several continents. Further, it recognises that past conditions are an essential part of explanation, so that any study involving processes of change must view rural settlements within a time framework. Finally, it builds around a series of diagrams and maps. These are used both as a means of handling the varied scales, ranging from worldwide to the internal structure of a single house, and as a means of generalising through distribution maps and settlement and varied models. By these means both time and space can be compressed into a single page.