Revitalisation of spoil tips and socio-economic polarisation – a case study of Ruhr area (Germany)

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Abstract

The paper discusses issues about the revitalisation of spoil tips, socio-economic polarisation and social exclusion in the field of municipal recreational activities based on an example of the largest post-industrial region in Europe – the Ruhr area in Germany. Revitalisation of brownfield areas very often leads to the creation of leisure facilities of various types (with a range of entrance fees) and because of this it may mitigate, or exacerbate, the severity of these negative phenomena. In the Ruhr area there are 104 spoil tips of different origins (mine tips, slag heaps, rubbish dumps), sizes and shapes (from conical heaps, through table mountains shaped tips and intentionally shaped for landscape tips, to major tips) and state of preservation. The research has shown that it is possible to use the majority of these spoil tips in the Ruhr area (87 of them) as leisure facilities as they have been changed into green areas, parks, playgrounds, locations for sports activities and tourist attractions after their restoration. Furthermore, they are mostly accessible free of charge and may serve a wide range of people – from locals to visitors, from children to senior citizens etc., regardless of their income. As such they may mitigate the socio-economic polarisation tendencies in the region.

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