(CNN)A city in western Germany may soon be home to a rather unusual pedestrian light.
The typical walking figure -- found on lights across the country -- could be replaced with a miner, complete with lamp and safety helmet.
Regional news website "Der Westen" launched a campaign for the change in Duisburg this week, calling for "a pedestrian light that reminds us of our culture and life in the Ruhr region."
This industrial region of Germany was once home to hundreds of mines, with thousands of local men heading underground every day. But the pits have now all but disappeared.
Jens Hapke, spokesperson for the Ruhr regional association, is delighted by the idea. "The miner is a symbol of this region's industrial past, and of someone who's dependable and down-to-earth and who seizes opportunities."
And Duisburg is not alone in wanting to make a point with its pedestrian lights.
Berlin has long been home to the East German "Ampelmann" (traffic light man), a relic of the city's divided past.
While in Berlin in the mid-1990s, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, Markus Heckhausen -- who founded and now runs the firm Ampelmann -- spoke with many frustrated former East Germans who felt they were witnessing the disappearance of their country.
"One person I met told me that although he still lived in the same house, he felt as if he was living in a foreign country," Heckhausen said. "He no longer felt at home."
Noticing that the East German pedestrian lights were much brighter and better than the West German ones with which they were being replaced, he started a campaign to keep them.
It was about the preservation of a piece of history, he explained.
The squat, hatted figure has since acquired global cult status and can be found on an array of branded products, from mugs and t-shirts to deck chairs and scented candles.
"The history is still there," said Heckhausen, "just no longer at the forefront. It's now a symbol of t