New Wine in Old Bottles?

Reimagining Vacated Places in the Face of Upcoming Transformative Challenges in the Phasing out of Coal Mining

Academic Responsibility

Univ.-Prof. Dr. phil. Agnes Förster

Lehrstuhl für Planungstheorie und Stadtentwicklung
RWTH Aachen

Dr. Anika Noack

Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)

Dr. Marian Günzel

Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)

Dr. Juliane Ribbeck-Lampel

Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)

Hanne Selling

Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)

Contact Person

Lennart Göpfert, M. Sc.


Event Type



19.06. and 20.06.2023


Temporary University Hambach

Morschenich Alt


The coal phase-out law of August 2020 poses a number of challenges for the three German brown coal areas (Rhenish, Central German and Lusatian coalfields) in the course of the associated goal of a socio-ecological and sustainable transformation. These challenges include in particular the villages affected by mining-related resettlements, which, according to the current status, are not to be demolished as planned, but nevertheless have already been abandoned to a large extent (e.g. in Erkelenz at the Garzweiler II open pit) or even completely (e.g. Morschenich Alt at the Hambach open pit).

Under the theme “Turn old into new!” and using the village of Morschenich Alt as an example, the course asks how such places can reinvent themselves and what future, innovative concepts of use might be conceivable. What could Alt Morschenich look like in the future and why? Which developments and measures would be necessary and why? How could future residents and visitors experience the place together in the future and possibly also develop and test new and sustainable forms of living together and doing business? And what criteria for success should be applied for a successful and exemplary development of such localities in general?

The event will be held on site in Morschenich Alt and framed by content-related and methodological inputs and discussions as well as a village tour. An important cooperation partner for the BBSR is the Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier (ZRR), which, as a network hub for the bundling of activities on resettlement and village development processes, allows an appropriate embedding and knowledge transfer into the course.

An interdisciplinary approach to the central questions of the course is explicitly desired. Thus, the participants should bring different areas of focus from the fields of urban and regional development, urban design, landscape planning, sociological and ethnological approaches to narrative, planning theory and participation formats, urban planning and urban land use planning, as well as communication and media studies into the independent group work in the manner of a time-limited design studio and jointly create narrative scenarios for the future development of Alt Morschenich.

Learning Outcomes

The goal of the course is, in addition to conveying the specific content on the topics of brown coal phase-out, sustainable transformation, and resettlement and repopulation of abandoned villages, to learn methodological skills in the area of spatial, identity-building storytelling as well as the creative preparation and presentation of design-related work results within a clearly defined task and time window.





Knowledge input on resettlements in brown coal areas due to mining: “Forgotten villages – how those affected perceive and address resettlements in times of the coal phase-out”

Questions and discussion

Walking through Alt-Morschenich under the theme “From old to new. How a place reinvents itself”

Design Thinking: “How do narratives become spatial identities? A different look at success criteria for exemplary transformation”


Presentation of design thinking results or creative process.

Discussion and exchange of insights



Procedure/Working method​

Depending on the course of studies, module and examination, credit points can be achieved through participation. If you would like to take an exam, please make sure beforehand how you can get credit for it in your degree program. Of course, you can also take exams without receiving curricular credit for them. Visit our FAQs for more information.

In the following you will find all exams offered in this course. If you register the examination in RWTHonline, you will also find the assignment to the designations displayed in RWTHonline here:



Protocol with critical analysis  (2 CP, not graded)

Project "Leonardo": Protocol with Analysis

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