Rural area planning in Turkey has been addressed at a settlement level using the same development- oriented solutions that are employed in urban areas following a traditional planning approach. However, in recent years, area base development planning statements have begun to be seen in some national policy documents. To overcome the shortfalls associated with this, rural area planning approaches need to be employed that deal with the physical and social dimensions of rural areas in a holistic manner, based on principles of rural diversity, efficiency and sustainability. Due to the diversities associated with these areas, methods that incorporate multivariate identifications and rating systems are widely accepted as appropriate. Accordingly, this paper presents a case study identifying the alternative approaches and methodologies that are applied in the definition of typologies. The study area is located in the Black Sea region of Turkey (total 206 rural settlements in the Carsamba and Havza districts of the Samsun province), where social and economic diversification are high, and where there are many areas in need of protection. Rural typologies were defined following an inductive approach, while multivariate statistical analysis techniques were employed using core indicators, which were determined based on typology literature and available data.