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Blue Banana

Blue Banana

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The Blue Banana is a discontinuous corridor of urbanisation in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

, with a population of around 110 million. It stretches approximately from North West England
North West England
North West England, informally known as The North West, is one of the nine official regions of England.North West England had a 2006 estimated population of 6,853,201 the third most populated region after London and the South East...

 in the north to Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 in the south. The curvature of this corridor (hence the "banana" in the name) takes in cities such as Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Antwerp, Eindhoven, the Ruhr
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

, Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.Düsseldorf is an important international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the...

, Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Frankfurt am Main, Luxembourg
Luxembourg (city)
The city of Luxembourg , also known as Luxembourg City , is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg...

, Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

, Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and covers one of the world's highest concentrations of people, money and industry. The concept was developed in 1989 by RECLUS, a group of French geographers managed by Roger Brunet
Roger Brunet
-Life:Born in Toulouse, Brunet attended the University of Toulouse, where he earned his PhD in 1965. He was subsequently professor at the University of Reims from 1966 to 1976, where he founded IATEUR. He was director of research at CNRS from 1976 to 1981, and from 1981 to 1984 served advisory and...

.

List of cities and regions


The cities in the table below include their greater urban area
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

s, clockwise from the Northwest.
City / Metropolitan Area Country Population (millions)
Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 / Liverpool Urban Area
Liverpool Urban Area
The "Liverpool Urban Area" is a term used by the Office for National Statistics to denote the urban area around Liverpool in England, to the east of the River Mersey. The contiguous built-up area extends beyond the area administered by Liverpool City Council into adjoining local authority areas,...

 
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 
1.3
Newport
Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

 / South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

 
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 
1.3
Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

 / South Wales
South Wales
South Wales is an area of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the south-west of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.1 million people and includes the capital city of...

 
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 
1.3
Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 - Salford
City of Salford
The City of Salford is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England. It is named after its largest settlement, Salford, but covers a far larger area which includes the towns of Eccles, Swinton-Pendlebury, Walkden and Irlam which apart from Irlam each have a population of over...

 / Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester Urban Area
The Greater Manchester Urban Area is an area of land defined by the Office for National Statistics consisting of the large conurbation that encompasses the city of Manchester and the continuous metropolitan area that spreads outwards from it, forming much of Greater Manchester in North West England...

 
United Kingdom 2.5
Leeds
City of Leeds
The City of Leeds is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England, governed by Leeds City Council, with the status of a city and metropolitan borough. The metropolitan district includes Leeds and the towns of Farsley, Garforth, Guiseley, Horsforth, Morley, Otley, Pudsey, Rothwell,...

 - Bradford
City of Bradford
The City of Bradford is a local government district of West Yorkshire, England with the status of a city and metropolitan borough. It is named after its largest settlement, Bradford, but covers a far larger area which includes the towns of Keighley, Shipley, Bingley, Ilkley, Haworth, Silsden and...

 / West Yorkshire Urban Area
West Yorkshire Urban Area
The West Yorkshire Urban Area is a term used by the Office for National Statistics to refer to a conurbation in West Yorkshire, England, based around the cities of Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield, and the large town of Huddersfield...

 
United Kingdom 1.9
Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 / South Yorkshire
Sheffield urban area
The Sheffield Urban Area is a conurbation with a population of 640,720 making it the 8th largest conurbation in the United Kingdom and England's 6th largest. Named the Sheffield Urban Area by the Office for National Statistics, it must not be confused with the Sheffield City Region, a...

 
United Kingdom 1.5
Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 - Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

 / West Midlands
West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the name given to the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge, Halesowen in the English West Midlands....

 
United Kingdom 2.6
Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

 - Derby
Derby
Derby , is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands region of England. It lies upon the banks of the River Derwent and is located in the south of the ceremonial county of Derbyshire. In the 2001 census, the population of the city was 233,700, whilst that of the Derby Urban Area was 229,407...

 
United Kingdom 0.8
London commuter belt
London commuter belt
The London commuter belt is the metropolitan area surrounding London, England from which it is practical to commute to work in the capital. It is alternatively known as the Greater South East, the London metropolitan area or the Southeast metropolitan area...

United Kingdom 13.9
Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

-Kortrijk
Kortrijk
Kortrijk ; , ; ) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders...

-Tournai
Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

 
France & Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 
1.8
Flemish Diamond
Flemish Diamond
The Flemish Diamond is one of the larger European metropolitan regions, situated in the central provinces of Flanders and the capital region of Belgium.Herman Deweerdt : Het is zeker waar dat de Vlaamse ruit een centrum van economische activiteit is en dus een zeer belangrijke basis vormt voor de...

 
Belgium 5.5
Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 
7.8
Brabantse Stedenrij
Brabantse Stedenrij
Brabantse Stedenrij is a metropolitan area in the province of North Brabant, Netherlands. Its population is about 2 million. The main cities are 's-Hertogenbosch, Breda, Eindhoven, Helmond and Tilburg. Other municipalities of the area are Bergen op Zoom, Oss and Roosendaal...

 
Netherlands 1.7
Arnhem-Nijmegen  Netherlands 0.8
Meuse-Rhine
Meuse-Rhine Euroregion
The Meuse-Rhine Euregion is a Euroregion created in 1976, with judicial status achieved in 1991. It comprises 11.000 km² and has around 3.9 million inhabitants around the city-corridor of Aachen-Maastricht-Hasselt-Liège...

 
Belgium, Netherlands, & Germany 3.9
Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area
Rhine-Ruhr
The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region is the largest metropolitan region in Germany with about 10,100,000 inhabitants. It is of polycentric nature and the only megacity in Germany. It covers an area of 7,110 square kilometers and lies entirely within the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia...

Germany 12.0
Frankfurt/Rhine-Main  Germany 5.2
Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

/Rhine-Neckar
Germany 2.0
Saarbrücken
Saarbrücken
Saarbrücken is the capital of the state of Saarland in Germany. The city is situated at the heart of a metropolitan area that borders on the west on Dillingen and to the north-east on Neunkirchen, where most of the people of the Saarland live....

-Forbach
Forbach
Forbach is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It is located near the German border. Population : 22,784....

 
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 & France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
0.7
Stuttgart Region
Stuttgart Region
Stuttgart Region is a metropolitan area in Germany and consists of the city of Stuttgart and the surrounding districts of Ludwigsburg, Esslingen, Böblingen, Rems-Murr and Göppingen . About 2.7 million inhabitants live in that area...

/Metropolitan Region
Stuttgart Metropolitan Region
The Stuttgart Metropolitan Region is a metropolitan region in Germany consisting of the cities of Stuttgart, Heilbronn, Tübingen/Reutlingen. These cities are arranged into three agglomeration areas...

 
Germany 5.3
Strasbourg-Ortenau
Strasbourg-Ortenau
Strasbourg-Ortenau is a Franco-German eurodistrict, a cross-border administrative entity sharing common institutions, established on 17 October 2005 and definitely functional since 4 February 2010...

France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 & Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

0.9
Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

 metropolitan area
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, France & Germany
0.7
Zürich metropolitan area  Switzerland 3.8
Milan metropolitan area
Milan metropolitan area
The Milan metropolitan area, known as Grande Milano , is the urban agglomeration around the city of Milan, Italy.The spatial spread of the Milan metropolitan area has greatly accelerated over recent decades...

Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 
7.5
Turin metropolitan area
Turin metropolitan area
The Turin metropolitan area is the urban agglomeration centred around the city of Turin in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy. It is defined statistically and does not correspond to a single area of local government...

 
Italy 2.2
Genoa metropolitan area  Italy 1.3
Nice metropolitan area
Nice metropolitan area
Nice metropolitan area as defined by INSEE is a residential area near Nice. It has 933,020 inhabitants and an area that covers a large strip of territory from the city of Villefranche-sur-Mer to the westernmost part of the Alpes-Maritimes département, including cities like Antibes, Grasse, Cannes...

 
France 0.9
TOTAL 89.8

History


The French geographer Roger Brunet, who wished to subdivide Europe into "active" and "passive" spaces, developed the concept of a West European "backbone" in 1989. He made reference to an urban corridor of industry and services stretching from northern England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Brunet did not see it as a new discovery, but as something easily predictable to anyone with "a little bit of intelligence and a feel for spatial properties."

He saw the Blue Banana as the development of historical precedents, e.g. known trade routes, or as the consequence of the accumulation of industrial capital. France, in his view, lost its links to the corridor as a result of its persecution of minorities (viz. the Huguenots) and excessive centralisation in Paris. In his analysis, Brunet artificially disconsidered the French conurbations, which are particularly narrowly concentrated around Paris, in order to persuade French authorities of the necessity of greater integration of business into the centre of Europe.
It is said that the banana was rendered as blue, because it represented the core of Europe, and the flag of Europe is largely blue. Other sources claim that the colour refers to the clothing of industrial workers ("blue collar").

Its existence is sometimes attributed to the redrawing of the map
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

 of Europe after World War II, which led to the creation of a North-South axis (of which the highly-developed infrastructure of the Rhine valley provides an example), while East-West relationships were enfeebled. On the other hand, large centres already existed long before that time (Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

, the Ruhr
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

, Manchester) so that it was only natural that development would occur in areas that lay between these powerhouses, and that large populations would follow.

Criticism


The term, because of its simplicity and memorability, was rapidly adopted by the media, and became subject to promotional manipulation. Local authorities within the Blue Banana tried to redefine it as the best place for business investment. This gave other interested parties good reason to blur the boundaries to include regions they wished to promote. This was the opposite of Brunet's intention.

Detractors have pointed out that similar corridors of importance can be found along the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 and on the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 and Mediterranean coasts, and that conurbations exist around Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. More importantly, the Blue Banana includes vast tracts of sparsely populated area (the North Sea and the Alps), and does not take into account the difficulties that have been experienced by Wallonia, Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

, the Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

, and Sarre
Sarre
Sarre can refer to:*Saar River, in France and Germany*Saarland, the German state*Sarre , the former French département, now part of Germany*Sarre-Union , a commune of the Bas-Rhin département in Alsace, France...

 in trying to adjust to economic changes.

Implications



The Blue Banana holds an economically advantageous position through its population density, which is at an urban level for long stretches; and its infrastructure, although more industrial than IT in character, is above average throughout. European metropolises are only important to the extent to which they further cooperative work and allow interdependent industries to lie in close proximity.

The region is also of interest to multinational companies, not only for its good transport infrastructure, e.g. ports (Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Antwerp) or airports (in London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, etc), but also for its convenience as a centre of operations. Furthermore, the region contains the main offices of several international organisations, such as the International Court
International court
International courts are formed by treaties between nations, or under the authority of an international organization such as the United Nations — this includes ad hoc tribunals and permanent institutions, but excludes any courts arising purely under national authority.Early examples of...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 in Strasbourg, and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The more southerly Golden Banana
Golden Banana
The Golden Banana or "sun belt" is a term used by analysts when discussing metropolization in a European context. It denotes an area of higher population density lying between Valencia in the west and Genoa in the east along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, defined by the "Europe 2000" report...

 is known for its modern industries, such as electronics, aeroplane manufacture, and research centres, and could in the future become the European counterpart of Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

 and the factories of South East Asia.

Development


Brunet's intention was to criticise French policies, and his ideas were taken on board, so that today the Blue Banana model is no longer accurate: the former conurbations have grown several new branches, including one stretching from Paris to southern Spain, and in fact the last few years have seen so much expansion that one might speak of a "Blue Star" — although the Blue Banana remains at its core. New regions that have been compared to the Blue Banana can be found on the Mediterranean coast between Valencia and Genoa, as part of the Golden Banana, or "European Sunbelt", paralleling that of America (where a pleasant climate draws newer industries), and in the north of Germany, where another conurbation lies on the North Sea coast, stretching into Denmark and from there into southern Scandinavia.

An influx of immigrants, who move by preference to the more prosperous, densely-inhabited regions, has resulted in a disequilibrium in growth that is so severe that it may lead to polarisation within Europe, and a fragmentation into economic "winners" (inhabitants of the Blue Banana) and "losers" (rural areas, remote towns, and Eastern Europe in general). The most serious problems lie with the people in outlying regions, who face a vicious circle of administrative neglect and gradual depopulation, thus becoming increasingly dependent. In addition, the fact that high-speed train services are only viable in wealthy and heavily-populated areas means that peripheral towns face yet more competitive disadvantages in comparison to urban centres.

See also


  • Location of European Union institutions
    Location of European Union institutions
    The governing institutions of the European Union are not concentrated in a single capital city; they are instead spread across three cities with other EU agencies and bodies based further away...

  • List of metropolitan areas in the European Union by GDP
  • Boswash
    BosWash
    BosWash is a name coined by futurist Herman Kahn in a 1967 essay describing a theoretical United States megalopolis extending from the metropolitan area of Boston to that of Washington, D.C. The publication coined terms like BosWash, referring to predicted accretions of the Northeast, and SanSan...

  • Flemish Diamond
    Flemish Diamond
    The Flemish Diamond is one of the larger European metropolitan regions, situated in the central provinces of Flanders and the capital region of Belgium.Herman Deweerdt : Het is zeker waar dat de Vlaamse ruit een centrum van economische activiteit is en dus een zeer belangrijke basis vormt voor de...

  • Golden Banana
    Golden Banana
    The Golden Banana or "sun belt" is a term used by analysts when discussing metropolization in a European context. It denotes an area of higher population density lying between Valencia in the west and Genoa in the east along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, defined by the "Europe 2000" report...

  • Former Iron Curtain
    Iron Curtain
    The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

     at the east of the “banana”
  • Megalopolis
    Megalopolis (city type)
    A megalopolis is typically defined as a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas. The term was used by Oswald Spengler in his 1918 book, The Decline of the West, and Lewis Mumford in his 1938 book, The Culture of Cities, which described it as the first stage in urban overdevelopment and...

  • Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
    Quebec City-Windsor Corridor
    Quebec City – Windsor Corridor is the most densely-populated and heavily-industrialized region of Canada. As its name suggests, it extends from Quebec City in the east to Windsor, Ontario in the west, spanning . With more than 18 million people, it contained 51% of the country's population and...

  • Taiheiyō Belt
    Taiheiyo Belt
    The also known as Tokaido corridor is the name for the megalopolis in Japan extending from Ibaraki Prefecture in the north all the way to Fukuoka Prefecture in the south, running for almost...