Unpublished conference/Abstract (Scientific congresses and symposiums)
Reclaiming the Wasteland – Landscapes and Working-Class Communities in Charleroi
Bianchi, Michaël
2023ICOMOS 2023 General Assembly - Scientific Symposium
Editorial reviewed


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Keywords :
Cultural Landscapes; Charleroi; Industrial Heritage
Abstract :
[en] Charleroi's landscapes were massively transformed during the industrial revolution and until the 1950s. The agrarian network present at the beginning of the 19th century gave way to industries, coal mines and mountains of extraction waste (slag heaps) which redrew the horizon. Working-class housing districts were built in the direct vicinity of the production sites, exposed to the nuisances of industrial activity. The end of this activity left the land and the working-class communities abandoned, and unemployment set in for good. Despite the economic decline, these communities remained in their places of life. Abandoned industrial sites were gradually reinvested by nature and, for some, by new social practices. In the 1970s, when an opportunity opened up to exploit the materials from the slag heaps, certain neighborhoods opposed the destruction of these landscapes. These associative approaches led to the partial classification of the sites concerned, temporarily protecting them from exploitation. Today, the majority of these lands belong to private companies that aim to develop them. While various citizen practices tend to identify them as public spaces, development and construction projects are emerging. Before these sites are progressively overtaken by urbanization, we propose to evaluate the possibilities of a heritage classification that would preserve their potential for use by the communities involved. In this respect, we are inspired by the valuation model developed in New Zealand by Janet Stephenson, in particular to take into account the relationship of indigenous communities with their landscapes in the context of land planning projects (Cultural Values Model). Our intervention will present an intermediary stage of this research, including the first results of field surveys and the ethical, legal and political perspectives of such an approach.
Disciplines :
Art & art history
Author, co-author :
Bianchi, Michaël  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Unité de Recherches de la Faculté d'Architecture (URA)
Language :
Title :
Reclaiming the Wasteland – Landscapes and Working-Class Communities in Charleroi
Publication date :
Event name :
ICOMOS 2023 General Assembly - Scientific Symposium
Event organizer :
Event place :
Sydney, Australia
Event date :
from 31/8/2023 to 9/9/2023
Audience :
Peer reviewed :
Editorial reviewed
Additional URL :
Available on ORBi :
since 22 November 2023


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