HomeRepairing post-mining territories through territorial, landscape, architectural and artistic approaches

Repairing post-mining territories through territorial, landscape, architectural and artistic approaches

Réparer les territoires post-miniers, approches territorialistes, paysagères, architecturales et artistiques

*  *  *

Published on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Céline Guilleux


Born out of an ecologically destructive sectoral economy, post-mining territories have come to be stigmatized as developmentally unsustainable, with lasting effects that still have to be addressed. Fragile, often protected, both visible and invisible territories, they offer a contemporary setting where experimenting with the transition towards a post-carbon society shows itself to be particularly relevant. As metonymical symbols of a world in need of repair, post-mining territories solicit the analyses and prospective contributions of our research disciplines: landscape, architecture and urban planning.



Dossier coordinated by Sandra Fiori, Béatrice Mariolle and Daniela Poli


Born out of an ecologically destructive sectoral economy, post-mining territories have come to be stigmatized as developmentally unsustainable, with lasting effects that still have to be addressed. Fragile, often protected, both visible and invisible territories, they offer a contemporary setting where experimenting with the transition towards a post-carbon society shows itself to be particularly relevant. As metonymical symbols of a world in need of repair1, post-mining territories solicit the analyses and prospective contributions of our research disciplines: landscape, architecture and urban planning.

The aim of this new dossier in Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère is to draw an international picture of the most recent contributions which, at the interface of research and project, are interested in post-mining transformations in terms of their spatial, socio-economic, ecological, landscape or aesthetic dimensions.

Building upon works conducted on notions of re-territorialization (Magnaghi, 20032, 20173 ; Poli, 20184), reclamation (Berger, 2002) and recovery (Corner, 1999), the specific questions we seek to put forth are: How does one repair monofunctional territories? In what ways do the tools of the designer, architect, urbanist, landscaper, or artist contribute?

The process of deterritorialization

The “mine spatial system” (Baudelle, 1994)5 was analysed by geographer Max Sorre (1952)6 under the term “physiognomic complex”. Consisting of both the production equipment as well as the essential access roads to the mine and the workers’ homes, the mining site is depicted as an ensemble that develops autonomously through the following: “over-taxation” of working-class towns located on agricultural agglomerations and rural habitats of the mining basin; strengthening the unity of these towns around the idea of “working community” and “solidarity between residents through the trade”; creation of a “moral divide” between populations that are geographically close “those from the mines, and those from the villages, towns and farms”. Similar to their spatial autonomy, mining towns have also been extensively studied as individual social communities (Dubar, Gayot, Hédoux, 1982)7.

In this sense, modern forms of what we call an “extractive economy” (Mazzuccato 2018)8 are described as rent economies, which devastate the environment and generate social enclaves. The exploitation of the ground and subsoil, which ceases when the deposit is depleted or its profitability limit is reached, relies on immediate returns without consideration for the “territorial value added” (Dematteis, Governa 2005)9.

Post-mining, a melting pot of international research

A multitude of research teams are working on this subject through a diverse range of approaches, dealing primarily with issues pertaining to heritage, ecology, landscape, sociology and art.

Among these approaches, heritage currently represents an important issue (Deshaies, 2007)10, as can be seen by the designation of numerous sites (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Belgian) as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or the existence of networks such as the European Mining Heritage Network11. These initiatives often involve the recognition of sites, as well as exceptional or already legitimized architecture with memories and material traces that have been forgotten, neglected or are no longer common. In this context, Marion Fontaine (2016)12 highlights that mining legacies are subjected to “two contradictory temptations”: the removal of material remnants and marks of the industry, on the one hand, and the overvaluation and the staging of “remnants”, on the other.

Other approaches, driven by Environmental Science, consist of establishing public policies for post- mine management, using strategies and techniques for ecological rehabilitation such as soil (reforestation, grazing, etc.) and biodiversity restoration (Tripathi, Shekhar, Singh and D. Hills, 2016)13.

Following these objectives for environmental rehabilitation, landscape research enables a confrontation between landscape and environmental demands, processes of development proposals and the various actors on the ground (Delbaere, Pousin, 2011)14. Within Landscape Architecture Studies and Urban Design Studies, the approach of landscape architects defines itself in way that is both complementary to and out of step with strictly environmental designs. Centred on notions of Recovering Landscape (Corner, 1999)15 or of “post-technological landscapes” (Berger, 2002)16, aesthetic dimensions are positioned as the foundation for landscape projects to achieve the restoration of shape, meaning and functionality.

Ethnographical and sociological works on mining memories are, to a certain extent, at the interface of earlier trends. Seeking to keep a trace of the historical uses and representations, their interest is  to give voice to local communities, rebuild their identity, as well as to show the inherent ambivalence of memorial processes in the context of post-mining management (Rautenberg and Védrine, 2017)17, between the resilient capacities of communities and the survival of social conflicts (Francaviglia 199118; Robertson, 200619 ; Cater and Keeling, 201320).

Finally, by generating different views, artists’ perspectives enrich these approaches by paving the way for the development of “alternative futures” (Lippard, 201421) through creative actions that discuss land abuse in order to raise awareness on the issue. As a system of political thought, ecology gives rise to artistic practices that are linked to environmental issues, such as the Reclamation Artists (Lausson, 2009)22.

Proposed topics for contribution

This call for papers concerns post-mining territories as defined above, that is, those marked by the end of exploitation and the economic activity that depends on it. Nevertheless, other instances of resource extraction, underground or open-air (quarries, gravel pits, gas, etc.), are also of interest, particularly in terms of their impact on landscapes and local populations.

The perspective through which this call to papers envisions the fate of post-mining territories is indeed based on landscape and society restoration, as well as project development relying on communities and the territory’s own resources. At the crossroad between growth of local communities’ “awareness of space” and discovery of territorial heritage, this call for papers seeks to highlight new forms of social and solidary common goods management within project processes.

In this sense, reflective feedback may be academic work, but also action-oriented research involving architectural, landscape, artistic and literary projects.

The two following topics are not restrictive. They wish to show particular interest in exploratory research seeking to highlight the cultural resources of territories and processes of coproduction.

Topic 1: post-mining territories, cultural, evolving and living landscapes

Within this topic, we wish to examine the landscape in its multiple facets: ability to reveal historical and memorial depth, to exceed disciplines (including environmental sciences and knowledge in architectural, urban and artistic creation), to intersect scales (from mine shaft to large territory), to reveal topographic space (from subsoil to dumps, from natural soil to processed soil). In particular, the articles may question the notion of cultural landscape, in the heritage sense of UNESCO, through singular lenses and post-mining reterritorialization approaches.

Topic 2: Post-mining territories, common goods and project processes

This second topic highlights the role that local communities may play in (re)building awareness of place and local projects. By putting residents at the center of project processes, it is about exploring the territory as a social construct, and not just as a product of technical practice or productive transformation. This topic questions the tools for coproduction with local communities and of participative techniques within contexts of territories to be repaired.

Contributions could also question the tools gathered to develop a shared vision, design a spatial reparation project, revealing people and transformed landscapes in a different, more intense light.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

The articles must not exceed 50 000 characters, including spaces. Languages accepted: French, English.

Articles must be accompanied by:

  • 1 biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and / or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).
  • 2 abstracts in French and English.
  • 5 key words in French and English.

Proposals for completes articles will be sent by e-mail before 15 november 2019

to the Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère’ editorial office secretariat-craup@culture.gouv.fr

For more information,  contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales. The journal aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice). These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Thematics folders

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère online issue two or three time a year a thematic folder dedicated to a specific and problematized theme, and which consists of around ten articles in French and English.

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.


The online magazine has 2 headings to accommodate miscellaneous articles, and outside thematic folders.

Research news: Various reports: theses, entitlement to supervise research, reviews of works, exhibitions.

Research materials: interviews, practitioners’ discourses, translations, reference texts...

Proposals may be in French or English.

The texts are evaluated and peer-rewiewed.


1 Frédéric JOULIAN, Yann Philippe TASTEVIN et Jamie FURNISS, « “Réparer le monde” : une introduction », Techniques & Culture, 65-66-1-2, 2016, pp. 14-27.

2 Alberto MAGNAGHI, Le projet local, Sprimont (Belgique), Mardaga, 2003.

3 Alberto MAGNAGHI, La conscience du lieu, Editions Etérotopia, 2017.

4 Daniela POLI, Formes et Figures du Projet Local, Eterotopia, 2018.

5 Guy BAUDELLE, « Le bassin minier du Nord -Pas-de-Calais après le charbon ; la difficile gestion de l’héritage spatial »,

Hommes et Terres du Nord, 1994, vol. 1, no 1, pp. 3‑12.

6 Maximilien-Joseph SORRE, Les Fondements de la géographie humaine. Tome 3 l’habitat, Armand Colin et Cie, 1952.

7 Claude DUBAR, Gérard GAYOT et Jacques HÉDOUX, « Sociabilité minière et changement social à Sallaumines et à Noyelles- sous-Lens (1900-1980) », Revue du Nord, 1982, vol. 64, no 253, pp. 365‑463..

8 Mariana MAZZUCATO, The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy, 01 edition., London, UK, Allen Lane, 2018.

9 Giuseppe DEMATTEIS, Francesca GOVERNA, Territorialità, sviluppo locale, sostenibilità: il modello Slot, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2005.

10 Michel DESHAIES, Les territoires miniers : Exploitation et reconquête, Paris, Ellipses Marketing, 2007..

11 www.miningheritage.org/

12 Marion FONTAINE, « Visible/invisible. Ce qui reste des mines », Techniques & Culture, 2016, vol. 65‑66, no 1‑2, pp. 74‑91..

13 See also, le Journal of The American Society of Mining and Reclamation : https://www.asmr.us/Publications/Journal-of- the-ASMR

14 Denis DELBAERE et Frédéric POUSIN, « Éditorial », Espaces et societes, n° 146-3, 2011, pp. 7-15.

15 James CORNER, Recovering landscape essays in contemporary landscape architecture, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1999.

16Alan BERGER, Reclaiming the American West, 1re éd., New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.


18 Richard V. FRANCAVIGLIA, Hard Places: Reading The Landscape Of America’s Historic Mining Districts, Iowa City, University  of Iowa Press, 1997.

19 Hard as the Rock Itself: Place and Identity in the American Mining Town, David Robertson. University Press of Colorado, Boulder (2006).

20 Tara CATER et Arn KEELING, « “That’s where our future came from”: Mining, landscape, and memory in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut », Études/Inuit/Studies, 2013, vol. 37, no 2, pp. 59‑82.

21 Melanie MEUNIER, « Lucy R. Lippard, Undermining : A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics,  and Art  in  the  Changing  West », Transatlantica. Revue d’études américaines. American Studies Journal, 2, 2016.

22 Adeline LAUSSON, « L’enjeu écologique dans le travail des Land et Reclamation Artists », Cybergeo : European Journal of

Geography, 2009.



  • Friday, November 15, 2019


  • art, paysage, territoire, post minier


  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : audeclavel [at] hotmail [dot] fr

Information source

  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : audeclavel [at] hotmail [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Repairing post-mining territories through territorial, landscape, architectural and artistic approaches », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, July 11, 2019, https://calenda.org/649720

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal