Groundwater Mining in Contemporary Urban Development for European Spa Towns

Piotr Langer


Mining activity is usually associated with heavy industry, the degradation of space, and areas with a clear industrial character. In fact, mining can be associated with other functions such as health resorts, recreation, and leisure. In the case of spas specializing in balneotherapy, medicinal underground waters "mineral and thermal" are extracted from local deposits using mining methods in borehole mines. Mining activity is not the main direction of development of these places, but it remains absolutely essential for maintaining the spa function and offering services in the field of recreation, rest, and tourism. The article focuses on the relationship between mining activity and the basic function of spas; the spatial relations between urban development and the spa zone; the range of mineral and thermal water use (natural resources obtained from underground deposits using the borehole method); and above all; the manner of exposing mining facilities in spa space and explaining the importance of these elements. The basis for the discussion featured in the article is constituted by the results of an original study carried out by the author, employing field research, in 2018 at the Institute of Cities and Regions Design, Faculty of Architecture of the Cracow University of Technology. Research work was performed in a dozen South-German statutory spas (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and Saxony). Four cities representing a much wider group of spa centres were selected for detailed analysis: Bad Buchau, Bad Saulgau, Bad Aibling, and Bad Schandau. It was shown that the selected cities were directly related to the mining of groundwater but, at the same time, differed significantly in terms of the studied features. The study's conclusions may be useful in programming the development of spa towns operating on the basis of underground medicinal waters, as well as in the creation of concepts and projects on an urban and regional scale.


Doi: 10.28991/HEF-2020-01-01-01

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Green Architecture; Spa; Landscape Design; Public Space; Groundwater Mining.


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DOI: 10.28991/HEF-2020-01-01-01


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