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Lignite District

Contributing to about one-third of Germany’s total lignite production, mining in the Lusatian Lignite District has been a main economic driver in the region close to the Polish border. Since the beginning of the 20th century, mining activities have drastically turned the region into an industrial landscape. 

The industrial revolution saw the development of energy sectors, especially the lignite industry as extensive open-pit mining and coal power plants, which were key drivers of urbanization, that fueled the growth of cities and settlements, and radically transformed the area’s landscape. 

Following the Reunification Process in the early 1990s and its structural changes, the region found itself economically disadvantaged, leading to a decaying urban fabric and high vacancy rates. From 1989 to 2021 the population shrank by 30%. Hence, to ensure future prosperity, the DUST project plans to engage with the region’s youth.  

While unfavourable demographic development is one of the main political challenges, sustainability offers several opportunities. In 2020 the federal government decided to end lignite extraction and coal-based energy production. 

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