science of human settlements. Ekistics involves the descriptive study of all kinds of human settlements and the formulation of general conclusions aimed at achieving harmony between the inhabitants of a settlement and their physical and sociocultural environments. Descriptive study involves the examination of the content, such as man alone or in societies, of a settlement, and the settlement container, or the physical settlement, composed of natural and human-made elements. The examination of settlement content and the physical settlement involves the investigation of five basic elements of human settlement: nature, including physical geography, soil resources, water resources, plant and animal life, and climate; human biological and emotional needs, sensations and perceptions, and moral values; society, including population characteristics, social stratification, cultural patterns, economic development, education, health and welfare, and law and administration; shells, or structures, in which people live and function, such as housing, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and markets, recreational facilities, civic and business centres, and industries; and networks, or systems, that facilitate life and day-to-day functions of inhabitants such as water and power systems, transportation networks, communication systems, and the settlement's physical layout.
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