Loos-en-Gohelle was one of the main mining cities in France’s northern “Nord-Pas-de-Calais” coal mining basin. In this former agricultural village, 7 mine shafts and 8 spoil tips had transformed the landscape since the 1850s. When the mining activities stopped in the 1980s, they left a legacy of damage on two levels: environmental and social. Mining companies were not only providingjobs to a large part of the population, but they also influenced most of the mining communities’ lives, because of a very paternalistic management tradition.
The city had to take a very important decision:they could either try to attract other industries to replace coal-mining, thus repeating the same old dynamic that caused the crisis they had to deal with, or they could try a whole new path. They decided to choose the most forward looking option, and today Loos-en-Gohelle is a textbook case on how a city can free itself from its dependency on fossil energy.