By Anupum Pant
Manhattan is a place packed with innumerable skyscrapers and is probably a paradigm that proves how efficiently people can be packed in a city. Or is it? Well, what if I tell you that there is a place which is four times as densely populated as Manhattan and has exactly zero skyscrapers.
50 kilometres from the coastal town of Baru, amidst the beautiful Caribbean lies an island called Santa Cruz del Islote, so tiny that Google maps detects no land around that place. It’s 0.012 square kilometres in area, or just 0.004 square miles. Just water shows even when you are at the maximum zoom level on Google maps. However, shifting your view to terrain, you’ll see a tiny island dotted with hundreds of houses.
In that small area of land, 2 hours away from the mainland, in between the vast Caribbean sea, live a whopping 1200 people. That is a population density of about 100,000 people per square kilometre (300,000 people per square mile). That’s easily 4 times the density of people in Manhattan.
When fishermen first discovered this island about 150 years from now, they loved it because there were no mosquitoes here. Slowly homes started filling in and before they knew, the island was absolutely packed. Today there are 90 homes, 2 shops a school and a restaurant in the island. The most open place in the whole island where people can gather is the size of half a tennis court!
The community is tightly knit, there are no crimes, homes are never locked and of course there’s no place for a police station here, literally. Every one who lives here, quite starkly unlike the people of Manhattan, are very happy with their simple lives.
Interestingly, there’s no place for even a cemetery, so people who die are taken to a nearby island to bury.