Overcrowding and Isolation in Modern Day Europe

What does a blue banana have to do with European population density?

Read on to discover the answer.

Here’s a quick fact for you: according to Eurostat, approximately 46.0 % of Europeans live in flats.

Take a look at a population density map of Europe and you can easily figure out why. Everyone wants a slice of the good life. Everyone wants to be smack bang in the middle of the action in Europe’s world famous cities. Cities full of striking architecture, vibrant culture and fine dining. So this means that securing your own parcel of land in a big European city really just isn’t an option for everyone these days. Unless you want to pay an enormous price tag! The flock to the major cities for work, lifestyle and convenience has meant that, in places, Europe can feel overcrowded.

This is what the blue banana helps describe. First identified by French geographer Roger Brunet, the blue banana is a model that shows us the most populous heart of Europe. Stretching from the industrial cities of Manchester and Birmingham in the northwest of England it spans south, incorporating London and highly industrialised areas in France, Germany and Switzerland, before reaching into northern Italy. The distance from its tip to its tail is approximately 1,700 kilometers. And within this space live some 110 million people. That’s four times the population of Australia in just a fraction of its landmass! No wonder the blue banana is described as the epicentre of European productivity.

However, not everyone wants to live in a big city. Europe still has much to offer in the way of an idyllic, rural lifestyle for those wishing to escape the rat race! Away from the hustle and bustle of cities like London, Paris and Berlin are areas that are a little quieter, a little more relaxed, and have lots to offer. Take in the fresh mountain air in a place like Knjaževac nestled between the mountains in Serbia. Bask in the sun in a place like the lovely seaside village of Assos in Greece, surrounded by the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Lose yourself in the faraway and very beautiful small town of Ísafjörður in Iceland that sits beneath the dramatic backdrop of towering mountains. Or if you prefer life in the country, why not set yourself down in Cobor, a tiny and picturesque village in southern Transylvania?

No matter whether you crave the excitement of big cities or the slower pace of life in the countryside, Europe has it all. The perfect place is out there waiting for you to discover it. So, what’s stopping you?

Many thanks to Professor Alasdair Rae for the amazing renderings!