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Urban Mining – Turning Wasteland Into Industry

An in-depth work method against superficiality.

Humans are still absorbed by their search for special materials, precious metals, oil or rare earth elements. But the most important raw materials of future generations are creativity and collaboration. They will decide the success or failure of entire societies.
As the descendant of a miner’s dynasty from the former coal field of Hausruck in Austria, I know the detailed work method and nearly archaeological approach of workers in the mines. I use a similar method for my urban investigations: Backgrounds are explored, correlations examined and local features are viewed in the context of historic and current events as well as global conditions.

This extracts raw materials that are indispensable to the constant renewal of society. Treasures that are bartered as insights, utopias or innovations instead of being fossilized. The goal is to tap into urban mines, conceive creativity-fostering spaces by means of new concepts, and redevelop brownfields.
The goal of urban mining is to define claims, acquire prospecting rights and create a collaborative organization, in order to jointly install new drilling rigs and develop urban mines – knowing that space, ecology, capital, tolerance, lifestyle and (hi)stories draw talent, form an innovative production system and thus position Austria and Europe as a conveyor for creativity on an international level.

The sign of the bear

The two places that affected me most both carry a bear in their coats of arms. Growing up in the municipality Ottnang am Hausruck, just like my friend and President of the National Council, the late Barbara Prammer (†), I was shaped by these roots. The municipal crest shows an upright bear with a miner’s lamp, referring to the former lignite extraction in my home town Thomasroith.

Berlin, my chosen home for many years, also shows a standing bear on its seal and in its coat of arms. The tension field between province and metropolis became a territory; the upright bear with a miner’s lamp turned into the logo and symbol for an effective radius and work method.


Chris Müller