Settlement system development is currently one of the basic objectives in land use planning, which is significant for Belarus, as it is the most urbanized country in the European region. Historical-genetic analysis is the most effective approach for studying the transformational changes in settlement systems. The research was aimed at analyzing the transformation peculiarities in the rural settlement system of Belarus. The core of the methodological basis lies in general scientific methods (systematic approach, historicism approach, historical-genetic method) and special interdisciplinary methods (cartographic analysis using GIS software). Historical-genetic analysis made it possible to identify the most significant historical periods in the formation of the rural settlement system in Belarus: pre-revolutionary, Soviet and recent. For each period, the pattern and spatial configuration of the rural settlement system were analyzed. Spatial changes in settlement pattern were highlighted: polarization, increasing the share and the population number of the “largest” settlements, the decreasing of “large” and “medium-sized” settlements and the degradation of “small” settlements. As a result, two types of rural settlement transformation were identified: “development” and “degradation”. Three ways of spatial configuration of the rural settlement system were identified: “relocation to city”, “relocation to the center of the settlement system” and “relocation to settlement”. Directions for future research are linked with conceptualizing the model of the spatial–territorial organizing of the rural settlement system.
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