Opportunities and Risks for Regional Development in Former East German Brown Coal Mining Areas: The Case of the “Geiseltal” Mining Area in Saxony-Anhalt
The rehabilitation of former brown coal open mining locations represents an important section of the economic and ecological restructuring process in East Germany, taking place since 1990. The recent progress in rehabilitation has led to large amounts of newly disposable space and thus expands the opportunities for regional development, especially with respect to tourism. But the possible positive effects are at risk because of diverse obstacles. In the case of the former open mining location of the “Geiseltal” in the south of Saxony-Anhalt such obstacles show up in form of a strong identification of the residents with the tradition of mining industry, in form of the expansive interests of nature protection organizations, and in form of inadequate organisational structures of the local public administration. In the case of a tourism-oriented development strategy risks arise concerning the actual duration of the remaining recultivation process and concerning the competition with locations with similar development targets.