A living, evolving cultural landscape
The Mining Basin is a industrial landscape bearing witness to how humankind shaped the environment while mining a natural resource, coal. This is why it fits into the “cultural” category as currently defined by the World Heritage Committee. However it has also been defined as “evolving” and “living”. “Evolving”, because the elements required by the industry (collieries, spoil heaps, canals, housing developments etc.) brought lasting change to the previously rural farmland by way of successive stages. “Living”, because the Mining Basin is first and foremost a territory inhabited by 1.2 million people, which hasn’t stopped changing. While being listed as World Heritage means this heritage needs to be preserved, it is also a decisive step in the renewal of this territory.