Human Environment- Settlement, Transport, and Communication

Human beings interact with the environment and modify it according to their need, this is what is called as human environment. Early humans adapted themselves to their natural surroundings. They led a simple life and fulfilled their requirements from the nature around them. With time needs grew and became more varied. Humans learn new ways to use and change the environment.

They learn to grow crops, domesticate animals and lead a settled life. The wheel was invented, surplus food was produced, the barter system emerged, trade started and commerce developed. The industrial revolution enabled large-scale production. Transportation became faster. Information revolution made communication easier and speedy across the world.

You have learned that early human beings depended entirely on nature for food, clothing, and shelter; but with time they learned new skills to grow food, build homes and develop better means of transport and communication.

In this way, they modified the Environment, where they lived. Settlements are places where people build their homes. Early human beings lived on trees and in caves. When they started to grow crops, it became necessary to have a permanent home.

The settlements grew near the river valleys as the water was available and the land was fertile. With the development of trade, commerce, and manufacturing, human settlements became larger. The settlement flourished and civilizations developed near river valleys.

Types of Settlements

Settlements can be permanent or temporary. Settlements that are occupied for a short time are called temporary settlements. The people living in deep forests, hot and cold desserts, and mountains often dwell in such temporary settlements.

They practice hunting, gathering, shifting cultivation, and transhumance. However more and more settlements today are permanent settlements. In these settlements, people build homes to live in. Let us know about the transport, roadways, and railways in Human Environment.


Transport is the means by which people and goods move. In the early days, it took a great deal of time, to travel long distances. People had to walk and used animals to carry their goods. The invention of the wheel made transport easier. With the passage of time different means of transport developed.

In our country donkeys, mules, bullocks, and camels are commonly used as a mode of transport In the Andes Mountains of South America, llamas are used, as are yaks in Tibet as a mode of transport. The early traders from other countries used to take several months to reach India.

They took either the sea route or the land route. Airplanes have made travel faster. Now it takes only 6-8 hours to travel from India to Europe. Modern means of transport thus save time and energy The four major means of transport are roadways, railways, waterways, and airways.


The most commonly used means of transport especially for short distances are roads. The roads can be metalled (pucca) and unmetalled (kutcha) The plains have a dense network of roads. Roads have also been build in terrains like deserts, forests, and even high mountains. Manali-Leh highway in the Himalayan Mountain is one of the highest roadways in the world. Roads built underground are called subways/under paths. Flyovers are built over raised structures.


The railways carry heavy goods and people over long distances quickly and cheaply. The invention of the steam engine and the Industrial Revolution helped in the speedy development of rail transport. Diesel and electric engines have largely replaced steam engines.

In places, super fast trains have been introduced to make the journey faster. The railway network is well developed over the plain areas. Advanced technological skills have enabled the laying of railway lines in difficult mountain terrains also. But these are much fewer in number. The Indian railway network is well developed. It is the largest in Asia.

Read More: What is Environment? Components, Human and Natural Environment

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