Coal Lake City
Strategy for the evolution and transformation of the city of Bottrop in the Ruhr region
The Ruhr region has for the last two centuries been one of the most important centres for coal mining in North West Europe. Its history has left it with a dramatic heritage. Today it is one of the environmentally most devastated regions in Europe: rubble hills of polluted coal waste shape the topography of the landscape, the ground holds reservoirs of toxic waters and the land on top of the hollowed out mining shafts is collapsing in an unpredictable way. The instability of the landscape threatens all underlying natural and vital systems.
Coal Lake City demonstrates how the Ruhr region can make use of its environmental deficit to shape its future. We imagine that the unstable land on top of the collapsing mining shafts sinks - strategically - to form a city of lakes, inducing new possibilities to generate energy, to close water cycles, to strengthen the social and economic structure, to create zones of retreat for nature and island of condensed urban activities. In doing so the project intends to contribute to a political dialogue on sustainability.
Ruhr region, DE
Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg, Shilesh Hariharan
Algae farm & new technologies (© Ooze)
Designing with fractal cycles (© Ooze)
Cultural heritage of the PROSPER Mine (© Ooze)
Sustainable development, in our point of view, should consider not only the implementation of new processes that are inspired by a new way of thinking in cycles: processes which make use of renewable resources and re-use these. Sustainable development should also take account of the traces that have been inscribed into the environment by human practices, both social and economic, in earlier times. We think that there is no bright future without considering the past.
Coal lake & re-naturalised slag heap (© Ooze)
Community garden & community activities (© Ooze)
The impact of industry on the landscape was vast (© Ooze)
We believe that the uncomfortable and often threatening environmental heritage present in many urban regions of the world can be used in a positive way, that it can form a source of inspiration for strategies which strive to realise a sustainable future. Through establishing a dialogue between the past and the future, the sustainability of regions becomes a political enterprise that is driven by the awareness and urgency of current and concrete problems. And: specific environmental problems hint at the spatial, socioeconomic and cultural structures which have caused them to exist and thus require transformation. The past is the frame of reference within which people are able to understand and act.
Flows and cycles of energy (© Ooze)
Flows and cycles of water (© Ooze)
Flows and cycles of materials (© Ooze)