Reclaiming Mined Land Ain't Easy, But Someone's Gotta Do It

When it comes to mining the land for just about anything, you can rest assured that the dug-up plot is going to need a little help in a few years. But little acreage gets it. In fact, in the United States alone, new mining will create more than 100,000 square miles of land needing reclamation by the year 2230. On top of that, an estimated 500,000 abandoned mines need attention. Sadly, few places outside of North America, the European Union and Australia have fully developed standards and programs for reclaiming mined lands.

But now the Harvard Design School is asking why. Its Project for Reclamation Excellence, or P-Rex, has taken on the challenge of critically examining and promoting design as a catalyst for excellence in reclaiming altered landscapes of natural resource extraction through replied research, communication, and education...

P-REX partners with municipalities, state and federal agencies, universities, foundations, and corporations involved in design, engineering and environmental services, mining, property development, and manufacturing groups in order to implement its multidisciplinary research program. The motivation for P-REX is the recognition that domestic and international natural resource extraction and development will rapidly increase over the next millennium as industrial production and consumption globalizes.

An exhibition of the group’s work, currently showing at the HDS gallery, uses cartographies, mappings, images, movies, microbial displays, computer simulations, biotic experiments, and physical models, to show reclamation as a rapidly growing area of landscape production with substantial diversity and richness of fields. Via I.D. ::P-Rex [by MO]