Tabula Regionum Europæ

February 7 2009

tabula_2008_grande

I have no idea whether the Assembly of European Regions does anything else useful, but its website offers this map. Will open in a separate tab.

For some reason, maps, pace Google, still haven’t made it on the web. Why not? If anyone can point to a single good, comprehensive atlas (I don’t count Microsoft’s efforts), let alone historical atlas, I’d like to know.

Perry-Castañeda at Austin only offers scans, nothing Internet-native. The CIA World Factbook maps are clear pdfs, but rudimentary. One used to see maps from a company called Magellan in Santa Barbara. They were simple and often inaccurate gifs. Most maps on the web are amateur creations. A fortiori there are few historical maps. Where are the rich maps of Catalonian or Tamil or Thai history and culture? I may be missing something.

It’s exciting to see Europe as a mosaic of regions, even if some of them have been rather unhistorically renamed. (I did a post recently on Graubünden.)

As industry gets more and more sophisticated, and lighter and lighter, can’t Europe redeploy itself away from megacities and back into its regions and smaller towns? Where a more delicate, eighteenth-century balance between Man and nature is possible?

Europe’s small towns should come into their own again in the hyper-connected world and are, anyway, marvellous ready-made pieces of infrastructure. All kinds of architectural and other traditions are latent in them. I don’t mean at the cultural level of the souvenir shop. They should stop being provincial.

How many “stans” are there in Europe? Three, and all in European Russia. The Republics of Dagestan, Tatarstan and Baskortostan.

I went to Tatarstan in late 1995. Its beautiful capital, Kazan, blew my mind. I sat in the President’s office in the Kazan Kremlin. I remember turning a corner in an entirely uncommercial street and being shocked by a sign in huge gold Roman letters: BANKERS’ RESTAURANT.

Dagestan is larger than Switzerland. Tatarstan is much larger. Baskortostan is larger than Greece.

6 Responses to “Tabula Regionum Europæ”

  1. bingley Says:

    >>As industry gets more and more sophisticated, and lighter and lighter, can’t Europe redeploy itself away from megacities and back into its regions and smaller towns? Where a more delicate, eighteenth-century balance between Man and nature is possible?<<

    Not without a drastic reduction in population. Otherwise by 18th century standards even small towns will be big and there will be even less nature left.

    • davidderrick Says:

      Surely they can get bigger and stay human. Anyhow, no-one wants to abolish cities. And I wonder whether hanging on to nature is not more a matter of planning and zoning than the literal amount of space required by human beings. It used to be said that the entire population of the world could stand on the Isle of Wight. Maybe one should now substitute Anglesey. The best zoners are the Germans, who barely do megacities. When a German small town ends, it ends. There’s little straggle.

      When I was a kid it used to bother me when walled towns in old prints always showed a few buildings outside the walls! What were they doing there?

  2. bingley Says:

    The title of John Brunner’s SF book from the late 1960s Stand on Zanzibar was based on the IoW no longer being enough for a predicted population for 2010 of 7.5 billion. Wikipedia’s estimate for the current world population is 6.75 billion, so Zanzibar is starting to fill up.

    But, yes, more human and better-planned cities are the way to go. Jakarta of course is very human with no discernible planning whatsoever.

  3. davidderrick Says:

    Link to the 2005 version of the map:

    Tabula Regionum Europae 2005


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