|The economy today |
The map provides an overview of the greater European economic region, which is shaped by the following factors and geographic typologies:
the predominantly undeveloped, near-natural landscapes in the North and East, with few urban centres;
the densely populated agglomerations in Western and Central Europe;
the patchwork pattern of the Mediterranean region, which encompasses heavily populated areas such as the Po Valley, major cities such as Istanbul, densely populated, extensively utilized coastal strips and areas of less intensive development;
the dominant economic role of the EU and its central territory between London/Paris and northern Italy;
the globally significant urban centres of London and Paris
geographic disparities within Europe and within countries with large land masses (e.g. Italy);
Geospatial signatures in the background indicate the intensity of human space utilization. In keeping with the concept of the human footprint, this represents the spatial realization of a complex indicator, which is identified on the basis of geospatial levels of such factors as population, traffic and transport, mining and land use. The product is an image of the Earth's surface which, as an overview, shows the extent to which a given region area has been formed over and changed by human beings. Very different geospatial types are classified together from this perspective. Thus, for example, the category of less developed, near-natural landscapes include the tundras of north-eastern Europe and the Alpine and Carpathian mountain ranges, the semi-arid regions and deserts of Kazakhstan and large areas of Asia Minor. Major agglomerations, such as Randstad and the Rhine-Ruhr region as well as the Po Valley in northern Italy and large portions of the intensively farmed, heavily tourist-frequented Spanish Mediterranean coast are shown as densely populated areas. Areas of intense utilization include nearly the whole of Germany, with the exception of a few upland regions, as well as such distinctly dissimilar rural areas as Brittany and the Black Earth Region in the Ukraine.
The characterization of economic centres proceeds from an examination of the relative significance of the industries and service sectors they encompass. This overview map was prepared with the aid of general categories, which are also used in this form for the economic overviews of the other continents and thus facilitate quick comparison. Because some economic centres are predominantly industrial, while others are characterized by high-echelon services, a double signature is used. Thus a significant economic centre may be entered in the map with a maximum of three industrial and three service focuses (see Paris).
In addition to this sector-based structure reflecting the orientation of a given economic region, its relative significance as reflected in a global comparison of cities, i.e. its geospatial impact, is also indicated. The map shows on the basis of four gradations whether a given economic centre is of global or continental importance, whether plays a significant role for at least several different countries or is only of national significance. A sample text in the key introduces readers to the system of map designations for economic centres.
Tourist locations and mining centres (which often shape the geospatial character of peripheral areas) complete the description of the economic region. As a rule these designations relate to regions.
On the basis of this categorization of economic regions and centres, a given location, such as Zürich, can be quickly recognized as a service centre of continental significance (financial and corporate-support services) which lies at the point of transition between intensively utilized and relative underdeveloped, near-natural landscapes (Alps). It is also evident, for example, that, although it has a comparable population, Kiev in the Ukraine has considerably less extensive geospatial impact than Zürich. (The economic maps for the individual European regions can be used to derive more specific statements).
The Donez Basin and Baku on the Caspian Sea, for example, are recognizable as mining centres for raw materials used in energy production. This also determines the nature of local heavy industries in these areas (e.g. metallurgy, chemicals).
A network of geographic centres
Through the use of the double signature for industry/services, a hierarchically structured network of geographic centres emerges in which significant political and economic decisions are taken. These centres are linked together by a modern, highly productive infrastructure. The container routes used in maritime shipping and the flight routes in commercial aviation are oriented toward this network of centres, as are international data flows.
M. Felsch, R. Schlimm; Ü: Southard
Keywords: economic centre economy Europe human footprint industrial centre service centre
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