What Is The Blue Banana?

Dusseldorf, Germany. Dusseldorf is part of a larger urbanized area of Europe known as the "Blue Banana".
Dusseldorf, Germany. Dusseldorf is part of a larger urbanized area of Europe known as the "Blue Banana".

The Blue Banana is a sporadic urbanization corridor that is expanding over central and Western Europe and has a population of nearly 111 million. A team of geographers from France named RECLUS established the idea of the Blue Banana in 1989 with Roger Brunet as the group manager. The corridor begins from Northwest England, stretches to greater London, Southern Germany, German Rhineland, Alsace- France, Switzerland, and ends in Northern Italy. Some of the major cities included in the corridor are London, Manchester, Rotterdam, Birmingham, Hague, Amsterdam, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Genoa, Switzerland, Turin, and Milan.

Conception Of The Idea

Roger Brunet, a French geographer, came up with the concept of dividing Europe to economically strong and weak sides in 1989. He established the idea of a Western European backbone. He referenced a metropolitan economic corridor that stretched through the North of England to the North of Italy. To Brunet, this was not a new concept but rather something the intelligent could notice. Brunet viewed the Blue Banana as the evolution of historical models such as trade routes in the past. Paris and the French urban areas were excluded from Benet’s analysis due to the economic intolerance of the French. Benet’s objective was to achieve economic amalgamation in Europe, but he thought that France had lost its connection to other European countries. He felt that the French connection was lost when France got rid of the Huguenots who were good at business.

Origin Of The Name

A minister in the French government, Jacques Chereque, noted that the borders of the corridor made it look like a banana, and an artist chose the color blue for the region hence the name blue banana. The media promoted the name blue banana, and the concept grew over the years with the media and local authorities trying to market the areas included in the corridor as prime areas for investment. Like most investments, third parties came up and disregarded the corridor’s boundaries trying to market areas they wanted to develop outside the boundaries, and this was contrary to what Benet intended, as he intended to raise criticism on the French economic practices and his idea was well received.

Areas Likened To The Blue Banana

Some of the areas that are likened to the blue banana include areas around the coast of the Mediterranean located between Genoa and Valencia known as the golden banana or the European Sunbelt. Another one is present in Northern Germany, starting from the coast of the North Sea to Denmark and ending in Southern Scandinavia. The Taiheiyo belt in Japan has the same idea as the blue banana; the belt encompasses areas between Tokyo and Fukuoka. The corridors have attracted immigrants who prefer to settle in the areas considered to be doing well economically and with a high population density. The blue banana corridor is an excellent destination for investors, but then it has some negative effects. With the larger focus being on the areas located in the corridor, the areas outside the corridor face neglect, with time it is thought the corridor may lead to an economic divide in Europe.


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