Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

Major Professor

Archana Sharma

Committee Members

Samuel Rogers, Jennifer Franklin



This proposal is a study of coal-mining in Southern West Virginia; its impact on the landscape; local economy and culture; and presents an alternative land use to address the loss of a major industry in a rural county.

The study began with understanding the process of mining; from the actual extraction to the end product, electricity. Looking at the past provided a historical metric for the Coal Company - Mine Worker dynamic. Case studies created benchmarks for both appreciating and improving upon the issue. Constructing a timeline that tracked political, social and natural occurrences gave scope to the interrelationships of government, industry and the working class. Current reclamation practices take into account the physical changes made to the land, but not the void the loss of industry will create in the local economy. Recognizing coal mining as an important part of Appalachian culture means re-envisioning reclamation, and understanding more than the land needs to be restructured when a mine closes.

Coal mining reclamation has been studied by engineers, ecologists and political bodies more so than by the design community: architects, landscape architects and artists. However, the designer’s training for not just research and analysis but synthesis of ideas and collaboration between disciplines that could provide the next step for a changing industry.

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