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Developing a theoretical framework towards World Heritage recognition of post open-cast mining landscapes

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10:00 AM, Wednesday 31 Aug 2022 (20 minutes)

Fossil resource extraction is a phenomenon which has dominated social and economic aspects of life for many generations and which has drastically changed the visual appearance of landscapes for more than one hundred years around the globe. Based on the radical incisions into the evolved, primary landscape, people were forced to gradually develop what is known today as “post-open cast landscapes”. This landscape typology is shared by people on all continents and hence deserves to be represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List. But what elements are needed to (success)fully tell the story of fossil resource extraction in open-cast mines and the resulting spirit of innovation and learning processes in the field of recultivation and reappropriation? When did this landscape typology start to evolve and how does it reflect changes in the approaches towards the design of post-open cast landscapes throughout the generations? Which are the essential milestones and turning points regarding this new landscaping form? And finally: What makes a suitable candidate to represent this complex and ever-evolving phenomenon on the UNESCO World Heritage List?
Recognizing the cultural value of the diverse innovative post-open cast land uses and the development of socio-cultural responses to open cast landscapes, this presentation outlines the process of developing a theoretical framework for possible World Heritage recognition of post-open cast landscapes, using the case study of the Lusatian post-open cast landscape (Germany). The presentation seeks to explain the starting point of World Heritage nomination processes, focusing on the early conceptual phase which serves as a foundation for later aspects such as attribute mappings, the development of a management plan and questions of protective measures that are necessary for this global phenomenon to be preserved for future generations.

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