Former mines go from coal to cool with music festivals, giant steel art installations—and Europe’s biggest artificial lake district.
The Tate Modern Used to Be a Power Plant? 7 Abandoned Buildings Transformed Into Art-Related Spaces; ArtSpace
From a gin distillery-turned-art center to a “cathedral of power” becoming a “cathedral of modern art,” here are 7 surprising repurposed spaces…
Germany is known for many things – beer, starting world conflicts and, of course, Techno. Germany has always held its Techno roots in high esteem…
The European Prize for Urban Public Space has been aimed to recognize and promote the best works focused on public space renovation in Europe.
In Germany’s Appalachia, the last coal mine is closing.
It’s a sunny October day on the outskirts of the west German town of Bottrop. A quiet, two-lane road leads me through farm pasture to a cluster of anonymous, low-lying buildings set among the trees. The highway hums in the distance. Looming above everything else is a green A-frame structure with four great pulley wheels to carry men and equipment into a mine shaft. It’s the only visible sign that, almost three quarters of a mile below, Germany’s last hard coal lies beneath this spot.
Bottrop sits in the Ruhr Valley, a dense stretch of towns and suburbs home to 5.5 million people. Some 500,000 miners once worked in the region’s nearly 200 mines, producing as much as 124 million tons of coal every year.
Bicycle highways, urban farms and local energy hubs — just some of the ways that yesterday’s smokestack cities are turning into tomorrow’s green spaces.
The Urban Transitions Alliance (UTA), a network that brings together cities in Germany, the United States and China, launched this week to help members learn regeneration tricks from each other.
“What to do with your brownfield sites, how to transition with citizens in mind, create new jobs — these cities have a lot of challenges in common,” said Roman Mendle, Smart Cities program manager at ICLEI, an international association of local governments.
As up to 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are generated in urban areas, cities have to play a leading role in addressing climate change.
Essen’s experiment: can going green revive a post-industrial city economy?; Prathap Nair; The Guardian
The German city is working to shake off the coal dust of the industrial Ruhr, but will green tourism be profitable enough to regain its former economic strength?
The shores of Baldeneysee, a ribbon of a lake that feeds into the Ruhr river near Essen, are busy. Schoolchildren cannonball into the water as sunbathers sit on beach chairs, nurse their beers and watch the paddleboarders pass by.
It wasn’t always like this. “When I was a little boy in the 70s, every morning we used to sweep coal dust and ash off our window panes,” recalls Frank Martini, an Essen resident. “Emissions from the furnaces and ovens of coal and steel industries stained our clothes left outside to dry.”
Germany’s Transition From Coal To Renewable Energy Offers Lessons For The Rest Of The World; Emma Bryce; Ensia
Seventy-seven-year-old Heinz Spahn — whose blue eyes are both twinkling and stern — vividly recalls his younger days. The Zollverein coal mine, where he worked in the area of Essen, Germany, was so clogged with coal dust, he remembers, that people would stir up a black cloud whenever they moved. “It was no pony farm,” he says — using the sardonic German phrase to describe the harsh conditions: The roar of machines was at a constant 110 decibels, and the men were nicknamed Waschbär, or “raccoons,” for the black smudges that permanently adorned their faces.
Today, the scene at Zollverein is very different. Inside the coal washery where Spahn once worked — the largest building in the Zollverein mining complex — the air is clean, and its up to 8,000 miners have been replaced by one-and-a-half million tourists annually.
In Germany, there lies a treasure unlike any other: a coal mine. You might scoff at the idea, but the Zollverein Coal Mine in Germany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the most beautiful coal mine in the world.
Coal mining in this complex started in 1851 and was a vital part of Germany’s history. The famed “black gold” was dug here to fuel Germany’s industrial revolution, and during the Second World War, over 3.6 million tons of coal were produced.
Back then, the Zollverein Coal Mine was one of the most important industrial complexes in Europe, and for the years that followed, several more buildings and refurbishments were added to further increase the productivity of the place. For 135 years, the complex churned and the workers toiled in “Shaft XII” of the complex until it was decommissioned in 1986.