coal-mining industry; coal-mining town; coal regions; environmental risks; Smart Shrinking; three-dimensional brownfields


The processes of active restructuring in the mining industry of many countries have entailed the physical closure of enterprises, accompanied by measures to mitigate their environmental and social impacts. Brownfields that emerged in districts with developed mining industries are predominantly perceived through a stereotypically flat, superficial, and narrowly literal lens. Adhering to such an approach is risky both in terms of ecology and in the aspect of economic losses incurred in territories with concentrated localization of mines. The article provides substantiation for the importance of perceiving brownfields within a threedimensional space, with due consideration given to geological deformations, dynamics of underground water and gas flows, and the potential of gravitational and geo-thermal energy. The authors propose interpreting brownfields as either oper ating or abandoned industrial sites with buildings and infrastructure facilities on the ground surface, as well as natural landscapes that are negatively affected by geological, hydrodynamic, and gas-dynamic processes characteristic of the disturbance of the subsoil due to underground or open-pit mining operations. The reuse and recycling of industrial waste accumulated within brownfields alone cannot ensure the survival of coal-mining towns. Similarly, depopulation cannot be halted solely through economic instruments. Thus, the strategy for the development of coal-mining towns should entail ‘enlightened’ restructuring in line with the ideas of ‘Smart Shrinking’.

JEL: O18, O38, Q32, R11.

Author Biographies

Danylo CHEREVATSKYI, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv

Danylo, DSc, Senior Research Fellow, Head of Department, Institute of Industrial Economics

Vlad MYKHNENKO, Peter’s College, University of Oxford

PhD, Associate Professor of Sustainable Urban Development, Department for Continuing Education & St. 

Myroslava SOLDAK, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv

Candidate of Economic Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, Scientific Secretary, Institute of Industrial Economics


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Received: October 11, 2023.

Reviewed: October 29, 2023.

Recommended: November 6, 2023.




How to Cite

CHEREVATSKYI, Danylo, et al. “THREE-DIMENSIONAL BROWNFIELDS: THE TRAGEDY OF THE MINING COMMUNITIES”. Journal of European Economy, vol. 22, no. 4, Feb. 2024, pp. 556-70, doi:10.35774/jee2023.04.556.