art, landscape, photography, travel, world

Monochrome Madness 2-26

click on the photos, to see it in a bigger resolution

More and more people move in the big cities. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, cities tend to be more attractive, than villages or towns. People hoped for easier lifes. Ok, a factory workers life is more constant, than the life of a farmer or a ranger. Farmers are dependant of well-meaning weather conditions: good weather at blooming time, sufficient rain during growing-time and dry weather at harvest time. Rangers instead, pray for healthy livestock and enough rain for good growth of grass to feed the animals. Being a worker instead of a farmer/ranger seemed for many people in those times a much better option to make their living. Although, they also have had to work very hard and often struggled about the different difficulties and depletion, more and more people fled in the big cities to make them even bigger.

Although, machines made the work of farmers and rangers easier, the big cities are still very attractive for many, many people. But, this time the cultural facilities are the attracting things: more cinemas, theatres, restaurants, pub, discotheques and so on. Young people move to the cities, despite the enormous high rents and the high rates of unemployment. They are more likely an unemployed citizen with only little money, than living outside the cities, but with some spare money. On the other hand, the smaller cities around the bigger (attractive) ones, are also quite expensive and the radius is bigger, the bigger the city in the middle is.

Poverty is not only a topic in small towns and villages. It’s much more important in an urban environment. Work is limited. And, the more worker offering their manpower, the lower the wages employers are willing to offer. The lower the income, the more jobs an individual worker has to accept: acquire a second job, work overtime or apply for benefit payments. A government might try to face this by proclaiming minimum wages, which also might result in a higher unemployment rate.

I still live in a small town of about 25.000 citizens (after downsizing from a 200.000 citizen city 24 years ago) and commute an hour twice a day to and from my office location in one of the big cities here in my region. But, I live outside the noise and the pollution. I like, not having to use a car for every errand. Even mid-size cities have so much air pollution caused by cars and trucks, so that many important city roads are closed for vehicles with too high off gas emissions. I’ve made my decision, and I hope, I can stand by it for the rest of my life.

You know, I live in the south-east corner of the Ruhrgebiet (Ruhr area). This area is, according to wikipedia similar to Île-de-France (Paris), Moskow, Greater London, Randstad (Netherlands) and Istanbul one of the regions with the highest density of population: about 2100 inhabitants per square-kilometer. There are living more than 5.1 million people in the inner part of the Ruhrgebiet (4,435 km²) and more than 10 million people in the wider area of about 7,000 km². Our state has 17.6 million people living in 34,110 km² and our country 81 million people living in 357,340 km².

The inner part of this area consists of 11 cities and 4 counties (with 41 small and mid-sized towns). The area spreads 116 km in east-west direction and 67 km in north-south direction. Because of the cities are so big and no city limit is noticeable, this area is also called as a Metropol Region: the cities are melted together and appear as one huge city, although all of them are independent.

The Montan industry was the main industry in the Ruhrgebiet: coal mining and steel production. Unfortunately, there were huge changes in the past decades. Most of the mines are closed and the remaining 2 (out of about 300) mines are being closed by the end of 2018. Over the centuries, about 3,200 coal mines were built, but many of them were carried to end quite soon after their opening. Also the steel production decreased dramatically. More than 1 million jobs got lost since the late 1950s and made this region to be a poor house with the highest rate of unemployment in the whole country. Luckily, the tides were turning. Although the rate of unemployment is still very high (~ 15.3% in Ruhrgebiet, while 6.3 % for the whole country), many new jobs were created in other industries.

You might wonder, why I’m writing this essay about living in urban environments. Leanne Cole asked us for this weeks Monochrome Madness for a themed photo, again. This weeks theme is, you might guessed it, “urban”.

I picked a photo taken at dawn while flying with a balloon over our region. You can see the illuminated streets lancing the city just like veins in a (human) body. And, even the meaning is similar. Main roads branch to smaller roads and end in narrow paths. Goods and people are transported and distributed by using these urban veins. All these streets provide the cities with goods, just like the veins in a body are transporting oxygen and blood plasma through the whole body to keep the body alive.

Btw. you can click on the photos, to see them in a bigger resolution. And you can see them here in a color.

Take care!

click on the photos, to see it in a bigger resolution

7 thoughts on “Monochrome Madness 2-26”

    1. Thanks, Indah!
      Flying a balloon is quite dangerous at rough weather. Thus, the weather conditions are considered very carefully before setting up the balloon. A morning flight starts early, often before sunrise. That’s, becase the sun is the wind engine. Therefore, no later than about 1 hour after sunrise the balloon has to be brought back to earth – or kept up until the evening. The win makes starting an landing dangerous. The huge balloon is an easyy victim for the wind and the basket migh be turned over and passengers migh be hurt (or even killed). For an evening flight, the opposite is true. Starting at around 1 hour before sunset, afer the wind has stopped. But, you have to find a save landing place in the upcoming night. This is another reason, why I’d always choose a morning flight – althouth there is a risk for short-trem cancelation after a night without sleep.

      1. Thank you so much for the tips! I have been wanting to try it out but the ones in the Netherlands could be very costly 😀 and not to mention the danger..The idea to fly in the balloon at night is very tempting especially after seeing you image 🙂

        1. 🙂
          This Friday in Warstein starts the 25th Warstein International Montgolfiade. 3 years ago, I was attending the event. You can find my posts here:
          Currently, I’m considering going there again on Friday,11th (in case, the weather forecast is good and proposes great weather for taking photos) for watching the mass start in the evening and the night glow. You can buy tickets to be a passenger. It’s great!

  1. A very interesting posting! We visited Germany in 2012 but didn’t really see urban Germany. On our Rhine River cruise we passed many picturesque old towns with their magnificent cathedrals but we sailed by most of your Ruhr area during the night. We did spend one rainy afternoon in Cologne but did not venture beyond the old town around the cathedral. After our cruise we spent three days in Osnabruck and toured the small villages (Hunteberg, Stemshorn, Alswede etc.) along the Lower Saxony / North Rhine-Westphalia border where my Theler ancestors lived and so saw a lot of rural Germany. We also stopped in Achen for an afternoon on our way to Belgium and saw another old town with a magnificent cathedral! So most of my memories of Germany are of villages, old towns and cathedrals.

    1. Cologne is the biggest city in North Rhine Westfalia (NRW), my home state. It has about 1 million citizens. Duessledorf, the state capital only has 600,000. Nearly all of these small picturesque towns alon teh river Rhine are located in the state Rheinland-Pfalz, south of NRW. But, you’r right, there are still many rural areas in NRW – fortunately 🙂

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.