In Loos-en-Gohelle, the town’s mining heritage has been transformed into an innovative, and ecologically focused, approach to regeneration of the town.
Between the 1850s and 1980s, the coal mining industries were very active in the town and surrounding areas. The mining business left both environmental as well as social damage, the latter one characterized by a sharp rise in unemployment when the mines closed. The municipality decided to start a project combining ecological, economic and social measures. An emphasis was put on democratic decision making, public debates, and community engagement, in an attempt to counteract the paternalistic management tradition in the mines.
Over time, individual measures and projects have grown into a strong overall framework of development for the town, incorporating economic, social and ecological measures and giving rise to a wide range of activities, including, but not limited to, renewable energy generation, green technology, green renovation and tourism. Green belts have been stimulated throughout the town, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy is promoted, as well as eco-construction. Furthermore, the former mining heaps now are home to cultural organisations and an R&D centre focused on sustainable energy!