Wikipedia:WikiProject Cities/Settlements: Article structure

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This reference is a supplement to specific guidelines on writing about U.K. cities and towns, U.S. cities, Canadian cities, Philippine cities and municipalities, and Indian cities. It does not replace those, but amalgamates the information in order to serve as advice for writing about settlements not in those geographic regions.

The suggested sections and headings are intended to serve as a starting point for writing a good article on settlements or places; they are not meant to enforce a single, binding structure on all such articles, nor to limit the topics a fully developed article will discuss.

The order and range of sections will vary according to need, although it is strongly recommended that articles conform to the basic structure of a lead section with infobox if appropriate, followed by a history section, main section(s) as appropriate, then finishing with See also (if appropriate), References, External links, and Nav boxes. Beyond that, editors are advised to come to a consensus that works best for the settlement/places article in question. References are required for every article.

See Wikipedia:Layout for the Wikipedia Manual of Style guidance to general structure of a Wikipedia article.


Appropriate sequence of items in lead section
  • Disambiguation and redirection links
  • Maintenance tags
  • An InfoBox or image (also see MOS:IMAGES#Images). Consideration should be given to the benefits of having both an InfoBox and an Image in the lead section, and in which order they would appear. If there are no compelling reasons to do otherwise, the usual practice is for an InfoBox to be alone in the lead, but if there are both, then the InfoBox is placed above the image. An InfoBox is not required.
  • NavBoxes can be contentious, so should be used sparingly and with care. They are usually placed at the bottom of articles after the References section.
  • Link to parent article. In the event that the article is a sub-article (or similarly linked daughter article) to an overview article, that relationship should be outlined just before the opening sentence, like so:
Hatnote: This is a sub-article to Parent article
Lead text

Context (what and where), summary of the article, total population, name origin


If there is sufficient material on the origin and meaning of the settlement's name to justify a section or subsection header, then it may be titled as Etymology (most common), Toponymy, or Name (least common). Etymology is a branch of linguistics that deals with origin and historical development of names and reconstructing their meaning where possible. It may be a distinct section rather than dealing with the name within the history section. When there is a section, it is either a sub-section of History or a distinct section placed above the History section.


When material in this section becomes large enough, split out per summary style, using a {{Main}} template as:

This section provides a narrative of the settlement's history. Topics that can be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • original inhabitants
  • original settlements
  • occupying powers/transitions of power
  • population spikes
  • recessions
  • reasons for settlement/growth
  • dominant activities
  • events that shaped the community
  • A note on the earliest known history of the settlement (any Bronze Age or Roman artefacts for example), and the earliest known mentions of the settlement (e.g. in Domesday book).
  • Consider prose (or subheadings) on Industrial history, Social history or Political history where appropriate.
    • If a settlement has a name in another recognized regional or national language, this can be presented here.
  • Avoid using headings that arrange the history of a settlement according to century or decade.
  • Avoid organising prose into timelines. If these exist (or are developed), consider placing them in a History of Foo or Timeline of Foo article.
  • Consider a note on the origin of the settlement's name; if details are lengthy, complex or technical, it may be appropriate to create an Etymology section or subsection (see above). As etymology is a branch of linguistics rather than a part of the settlement's development through the ages, it is more appropriate to place this info the Etymology section than part of the History section.

Most libraries will have books on local history. Be wary of loose interpretations, especially when using internet or promotional sources.

Note: History sections can easily become very long with more detail than appropriate for a general overview. While there is no strict rule on how long a section may be, as a general rule of thumb, more than 10 paragraphs or the use of subsection headings might indicate that it should be accompanied by a History of Foo main article (using the main template). Only describe the minimum of what is required to understand where the community has come from and let the History of Foo article give the details.
Note 2: The geography and history sections can be reversed if desired, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cities/Archive 14#Geography / History ordering.


Geographic setting, geographical features, subdivisions, climate

Note: The geography and history sections can be reversed if desired, see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Cities/Archive 14#Geography / History ordering.


Population info, census data, ethnicity, language, religious affiliation. This section may also be titled Population.


Dominant industries, agriculture if applicable, major employers, breweries, exports, etc. Sub-sections may be created for particularly important local economic groups - coffee production, tourism, steel manufacturers, etc, or particularly important local businesses or companies.

Per WP:LOCAL, "initially, information on places of local importance should be added to an article on the community where that place is located", then "as the article becomes overly large due to more verifiable information being added, information on individual places can be broken out into individual articles."

When splitting out material into either an Economy of Foo article, or into an individual stand alone article, this should be done using the relevant guidelines: Wikipedia:Article size, Wikipedia:Splitting, Wikipedia:Merging, Wikipedia:Notability and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, and by using the method explained in WP:Summary style.


Details about governing body of the settlement such as the council and the mayor, administrative bodies, political representation, etc.

Placement of this section varies - articles on American towns and cities tend to place it low down in the section list; articles on UK towns and cities tend to place it in second or third place; articles on towns and cities in other parts of the world vary, but on the whole tend to be closer to the top of the section list than articles on American settlements.

This section may also be titled Government or Politics.


Cultural venues, arts, artifacts, festivals, cuisine and significant cultural events

Attractions / Amenities

Museums and other points of interest, parks (local, regional, provincial parks), recreation venues, pubs, restaurants, etc

Sometimes may be termed Landmarks, or Points of interest or may be included in a Culture / Arts and culture section; perhaps under a subsection such as Tourism, Museums, or Pubs.


Sport teams, sporting culture, and significant athletic events.


Transport, road network, utilities, health care, security/safety, amenities.


Schools, colleges, responsible organizations.

Instead of just adding lists of schools, it is much better to add paragraphs in prose format on the prominent educational institutions and their achievements and influence on the city.


Local newspapers, TV, and radio stations.

Notable people

Names of notable people born or residing in the locality. Include only people with a Wikipedia article, see also WP:NLIST.

Note: Leading world centres with possibly thousands of notable individuals including royalty and top class artists and heroes usually do not include such a list.

Twin towns/sister cities

List of twin towns and sister cities.

This section is sometimes also called International relations.


See also

Related Wikipedia articles, if not already detailed in other sections

For information see: WP:SEEALSO


Citations per Verifiability, see Citing sources. Use {{Reflist|30em}} instead of {{Reflist|2}}. A list of sources used is a form of definition list, which is placed below the reference section, separated with a ";" which creates a related but minor subsection. Texts which are suggested as further reading, but haven't been used as source material in the article, are placed in a separate section termed Further reading.

Further reading

See Wikipedia:Further reading

External links

Official link of the community only, be aware of Wikipedia:External links

Navigation box templates
Categories - don't over-categorize
Stub tags - for new sketchy pages that should be subsequently expanded, see available tags
Interwiki links - now handled by Wikidata, so do NOT add interwiki links
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