Old industrial cities abound with extensive infrastructures, which however no longer suit the economic purposes, for which they were originally built. However either their demolition or a complete rebuilding of new is often not a viable option, and thus the issue of their smart reuse emerged in urban studies. In this paper we combine literature on restructuring, brownfields, and industrial heritage to assess their significance both as a barrier and asset for future urban development. The main aim is to provide municipalities with an overview of the range of their possible reuses, and problems they might face in doing so. Furthermore, the selected examples show that contemplating new use should be guided by assessment of intrinsic features of the structures on one hand, and by general global trends on other. This new combination of the two might render the new use competitive. For this sake a case study of the old industrial city of Ostrava is employed, as this issue has been particularly pronounced given the city’s strong historical specialisation in heavy industry.