JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (4): 884-894.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20200411

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The transformation of Zeche Zollverein in the Ruhr area: Experience of multi-agent governance

ZHANG Chu-lin1, LIU Yun-gang2   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2018-12-28 Online:2020-04-28 Published:2020-04-28

Abstract: Transformation of industrial districts has attracted much attention for long. The Ruhr area in Germany, which used to be a pillar of the industrial economy in the past and is a robust cultural and economic region now, is always a typical case. Based on field visits and semi-structured interviews, this paper takes Zeche Zollverein in Ruhr as an example, trying to find out how multiple agents take part in and cooperate with each other during its transformation and to summarize its mechanism of multi-agent governance. It is found that during the transformation in Zeche Zollverein, administrative, social and market powers actively participate and interact in the protection and development of industrial culture, financing and investment, renovation of buildings and environment, daily operation and management as well as social life and space activation. In the framework of multi-agent cooperation in Zeche Zollverein, different levels of governments combine top-down management and moderate decentralization, acting as a backbone; the public are important elements in the activation of social life while social organizations share public affairs with governments and citizens enjoy participating in public activities; market economies form a virtuous circle between their self-development and the regional transformation. From single subject controlling to multi-agent cooperation, the transformation of governance framework in Zeche Zollverein is a remarkable enlightenment for industrial districts in China. Under the realistic conditions of our country with Chinese characteristics, governments tend to be responsible for every stuff in cities and get overburdened. Learning from Zeche Zollverein, they can try to break away from the idea of "all-around arrangement", and to cooperate more with and release some functions to the society and the market, attracting them to locate in the district and develop themselves on their own initiatives, so as to promote regional transformation jointly.

Key words: Zeche Zollverein, multi-agent governance, transformation, Ruhr area