View Full Version : Hamlets

05-31-2008, 08:54 PM

A Hamlet is the smallest urban settlement --smaller even than a village.

From Wikipedia:

A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet, but smaller than a town or city. Though generally located in rural areas ... the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, as against being scattered broadly over the landscape.

Villages have been the usual form of community for societies that practice subsistence agriculture, and even for some non-agricultural societies.
A village.

The main historical distinction between a hamlet and a village is that the latter will have a church, and will therefore usually have been the worship centre of an ecclesiastical parish.

A hamlet is a rural community?that is, a small settlement?which is too small to be considered a village. The name comes from the diminutive of a Germanic word for a defined piece of land or pasture:
A hamlet consists of a settled nucleus and surrounding farmland.
Nucleus of the above hamlet contains about 15 families, population under 100. Family units often form courtyards.

The word 'hamlet' has no legal meaning although they are recognised as part of land use planning policies and administration. In Britain, a hamlet is ecclesiastically defined as a village or settlement that usually does not have its own church, belonging to a parish of another village or town...
A very small hamlet, compact and dense so as not to waste valuable farmland. About seven families live here in a settlement with clearly apparent urban traits that make it a communinity.

Hamlets sometimes occur in clusters:
Enlargement of above. Asserting their individuality, most families have burst out of this hamlet's core. A hamlet of villas? A hamlet with suburban characteristics?

Hamlets may have been formed around a single source of economic activity such as a farm, mill, mine or harbour that employed its working population. Some hamlets, particularly those that have a church, may be the result of the depopulation of a village.

A hamlet usually depends upon the town that contains it for municipal services and government.

A hamlet could be described as the rural ... equivalent of a neighborhood in a city or village.

The area of a hamlet may not be exactly defined ... Residents of a hamlet often identify themselves more closely with the hamlet than with the town.

A hamlet nucleus comprised mostly of courtyard houses:

By contrast, most houses in this nucleus are rectangular blocks:

Post vehicular?:

A mixture of courtyards and boxes:

The same nucleus in context:

One more:

Hamlets are now rare in the U.S.; the few that exist are found mostly in Maine and Vermont.

Since American farmers owned carriages and now cars, they live generally in the middle of large holdings. This is also somewhat true in England, though such farms often display some urban characteristics:
An English farm: isolated and manorial, though with surprisingly urban spaces between the buildings. Three families appear to live here; they are probably related

A village is much larger than a hamlet, and contains both a church and commercial establishments. This village even has post-automobile suburbs (lower right, upper left). These display the repetitive and standardized regimentation of machine parts --a consequence of zoning and subdivision ordinances that require the placement of buildings to conform to numerical regulations rather than the physical characteristics of the land:

06-02-2008, 07:04 AM
cool lol!

06-02-2008, 07:11 AM
So what can we learn from these hamlets in building new urban spaces?

Is this a reaction to the criticism that 'New Urbanist' areas are often disconnected from larger urban spaces and thus somehow not 'urban'?

Or are we just to appreciate them for what they are?

Beton Brut
06-02-2008, 07:23 AM
Hamlets, the "unplanned" result of hundreds of years of tiny incremental growth and change, are infinitely more urban (in their vibe, and the way they foster human interaction) than the "planned communities" we see a stones throw from some nameless highway cloverleaf.

Lesson: Accidents of circumstance generate better results than zoning.

06-02-2008, 12:15 PM
^ BINGO !!!

06-02-2008, 12:20 PM
Now that I re-read it, you make your point quite clearly. I can be a bit slow....

Beton Brut
06-02-2008, 05:13 PM
ablarc -- is what we see in this thread (http://www.archboston.org/community/showthread.php?t=2109&highlight=kasbah) a good model for Hamlet-making in an urban context? (I think this one came up during your most recent hiatus.)

06-03-2008, 12:03 PM
^ Something truly original. Wasn't prepared to find something so different --though its precedents aren't hard to find in a place like Mykonos or Venice.

You could make the case that the streets are too wide and equi-valent. You could also complain that there's no private outdoor space, partly as a consequence.

Stimulating, because manic.

(Like so much Modernism --where a new idea is often better than a good idea.)

06-03-2008, 12:27 PM

About the size of a hamlet, but about as far ideologically and organizationally from the earlier examples as you can get:
The Paragon, a hamlet for 14 rich families and their households, including servants.
Built 1794 in Blackheath, now a town embedded in the sprawl of London.
Architect/Developer was Michael Searles. Each semi-detached house has an individual floor plan.

Beton Brut
06-03-2008, 12:34 PM
Nice find. Late Eighteenth Century equivalent of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_South_Street)?

06-03-2008, 12:54 PM
Late Eighteenth Century equivalent of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_South_Street)?



Btw, Searles was a contemporary of arcchitect/developer Charles Bulfinch, arguably "Boston's greatest architect." The architecture shows it.