National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Scottish Settlements Urban and Rural Areas in Scotland

Scottish Settlements Urban and Rural Areas in Scotland

Annex C - The Methodology for 2000

The method
Identifying settlements, combining them, filling 'holes' and discarding small ones

11. Having determined the thresholds, they were applied to the 2000/1 postcode index and boundaries. Groups of neighbouring urban postcodes were considered to be 'candidate settlements'. The results for council areas were put together into a Scotland map and joined where candidates from two or more council areas abutted. Then we applied a procedure to change to 'urban' any non-urban postcodes that were entirely surrounded by urban postcodes (identified as above), including non-urban postcodes surrounded by urban postcodes and coastline. This ensured that areas such as parks, for example, were included in the urban settlement to which they belonged. This procedure was partly automated and we were able to examine individually particular instances containing a large number of postcodes.

12. Those candidates with more than 210 addresses (broadly equivalent to the 500 population cut-off used in 1991) were retained and named. The rest were discarded.

13. In eight cases, we combined two or more areas identified as settlements that we considered constituent parts of the same urban area. The parts had been named, say, 'Anytown (East) and 'Anytown (West)' and were separated by strips of low density postcodes. This process will be looked at further to minimise any subjective element.