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A country called Europe?

The designers of a new ‘social atlas of Europe’ hope it will help Europeans to view their continent as their homeland. 

The maps below look at Europe in a different way to usual cartography – they are part of a collection of ‘social maps’ of Europe being launched at the Royal Geographical Society on Wednesday 27 August. 

The creators of the maps ask a simple question:

“Should we conceive of Europe as a collection of individual states or as a group of distinct cities and regions which are part of a larger whole?”

Their new ‘social atlas of Europe’ provides a novel way of illustrating the key social and geographic features across European countries.  The map’s designers argue that by viewing Europe in this way it becomes apparent that most of the real social divides across the continent are within states rather than between them.

The geographers for these maps – Greek, German and English -  hope they will help Europeans to look at their continent as one place, their homeland,  instead of thinking so much of their nation-state.  The authors commented today:

“Our work shows just how different the separate countries, regions and great cities of this continent are, but also how often they are – in so many parts – so similar. Indeed, looking at the maps in this atlas you may begin to believe that you are looking at the cartography of a single large group of people of a country called Europe.”

It was on 19 September 1946 that Winston Churchill stated: “we must re-create the European family in a regional structure, called, it may be, the United States of Europe”.  Would it be too idealistic to believe that Churchill’s vision could be in sight?

Europe based on population showing each nation’s association with the EU:

This map shows European countries using a rainbow colour scale to determine the colour hue for each state according to the year of association with the European Union. The more recent the formal association the near to the red end of the spectrum the hue is.

This map shows European countries using a rainbow colour scale to determine the colour hue for each state according to the year of association with the European Union. The more recent the formal association the near to the red end of the spectrum the hue is. (Click map to enlarge)
Source: The Social Atlas of Europe

Europe based on population and representation of topography:

This map is drawn  proportionally to population but coloured by altitude. In this way physical and human geographies can be mixed up on the map. Rather like a traditional physical geography map, upon which cities are drawn, this is a new human geography map, but one upon which mountains and valleys are also depicted.

This map is drawn proportionally to population but coloured by altitude. In this way physical and human geographies can be mixed up on the map. Rather like a traditional physical geography map, upon which cities are drawn, this is a new human geography map, but one upon which mountains and valleys are also depicted. (Click map to enlarge)     Source: The Social Atlas of Europe

Europe based on population and GDP per inhabitant:

The size of the territories represent the number of people living in each area, while the colour represents the GDP per inhabitant (ranging from low GDP per inhabitant in light yellow, to high GDP per inhabitant in dark blue). This is defined as Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant

The size of the territories represent the number of people living in each area, while the colour represents the GDP per inhabitant (ranging from low GDP per inhabitant in light yellow, to high GDP per inhabitant in dark blue). This is defined as Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant.  (Click map to enlarge) Source: The Social Atlas of Europe

Europe at night based on population:

While Europe remains a predominantly bright patch on the global picture this magnified image of the continent also reveals the existing differences between east and West: While Western Europe very much shines up into space where many people live, the Eastern countries are much more characterised by more obvious differences between the most densely urban und the much larger rural population where less brighter spots become more visible than in most of the rural parts of the west – a sign of prevailing inequalities in wealth, but also a sign of the much more wasteful and less sustainable use of resources in the wealthier part of the continent.

While Europe remains a predominantly bright patch on the global picture this magnified image of the continent also reveals the existing differences between east and West: While Western Europe very much shines up into space where many people live, the Eastern countries are much more characterised by more obvious differences between the most densely urban and the much larger rural population where less brighter spots become more visible than in most of the rural parts of the west – a sign of prevailing inequalities in wealth, but also a sign of the much more wasteful and less sustainable use of resources in the wealthier part of the continent.  (Click map to enlarge)
Source: The Social Atlas of Europe

— Jon Danzig (@Jon_Danzig) August 12, 2014

Other articles by Jon Danzig:



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