Spatial strategy for the Rhenish mining area

  airial view rheinian area © Dominik Ketz / District Government of Cologne

Opencast mine Inden - mining edge with intact fields and settlement structures in the background and view into the opencast mine with blue sky in the afternoon


Spatial strategy for the Rhenish mining area

In the coming years, the lignite-fired power plants whose opencast mines have so far dominated the image of the Rhenish mining area will be gradually shut down. The three open-cast mines Inden, Hambach and Garzweiler will gradually be filled with groundwater from 2030. This change will have a massive impact on the entire infrastructure of the Rhenish mining area. With a long-term view and under consideration of all individual interests of communities, cities, companies and residents, there is a unique opportunity to shape the area of the Rhenish mining district in such a way that it will also meet future requirements for an attractive living and economic area. Companies and research institutions should find their place here, as well as new residential quarters, green spaces and leisure areas. The connection of the newly emerging structures to a modern transport and energy infrastructure is indispensable - for the people of the Rhenish mining district, but also for the existing and newly growing structures in industry and commerce.

This structural change can already build on extensive regional preliminary considerations. In a broad regional discourse, these considerations need to be further developed against the background of current developments and then bundled and implemented in a structured process for the entire area.

A liveable and attractive region is emerging


First of all, the different bases in the region are to be recorded. This diagnosis must also take into account the constantly dynamically changing spatial and thematic relationships. The consequences of this are to be continuously discussed with regard to necessary infrastructures and other aspects. The spatial strategy is not a fixed plan. Rather, it is a dynamically developing guideline for the regional development of the district in the coming years, which becomes more and more sharply defined the more concrete project ideas are advanced in the course of structural change. To this end, the spatial strategy process will continuously involve the various players in the dynamic further development of spatial images.

A successful development process is framed by the following guiding ideas:

  • making use of the specific talents, challenges and opportunities of the region
  • establish a consistent process design for spatial development
  • achieve a spatial and temporal synchronisation of plans and projects and organise a broad and goal-oriented participation process

Fields of action

The following fields of action arise for the work of the territory node Space:

  • Spatial analysis and monitoring
  • Settlement development
  • Economic and commercial property development
  • Open space development and use
  • Assurance of quality, innovation and transfer
  • Polycentric spatial development


The Revierknoten Raum wants to shape the structural change in the Rhenish mining district in such a way that a liveable and attractive region is created. This region should offer people economic, ecological, social and cultural conditions for a good life. A district identity is to be formed through the jointly mastered structural change. The Rhenish mining district is to become a model for the successful conversion of a former coal-mining region - a model for other coal-mining regions in Europe as well.

These goals can only be achieved if the major challenges are seen as a common task. To this end, a process must now be designed that leads to sustainable development in logical and mutually reinforcing steps and that takes account of the spatially different speeds at which structural change is being handled. The process design must provide the framework to ensure that the quality and design requirements can be met. Criteria must be defined for this. Monitoring must also be used in coordination with the municipalities and regional planning. The necessary planning procedures should also be accelerated.

The change to a sustainable future Rhine region must meet the highest design ambitions and quality requirements for all generations and for the environment.

In the short term, planned projects must be qualified for implementation that do justice to the overriding spatial perspective of the region.


January 2020 to September 2022

Funding Bodies and Cooperation Partners

  • Land NRW (funding agency)
  • Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier GmbH (Coordinating Office)