From Brownfields to Green Streets - A Proposal to Develop a Multi-Agency Collaborative Decision-Making Process for Solving Small Scale Brownfield Urban Redevelopment Issues

EPA Grant Number: SU831876
Title: From Brownfields to Green Streets - A Proposal to Develop a Multi-Agency Collaborative Decision-Making Process for Solving Small Scale Brownfield Urban Redevelopment Issues
Investigators: Lutzenhiser, Loren , Messer, Barry , Fish, William
Current Investigators: Lutzenhiser, Loren , Messer, Barry , Henry, Clark , Morehead, Grant , Kibler, Kristen , Barewin, Lesley , Meyer, Vanessa , Fish, William
Institution: Portland State University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: October 1, 2004 through May 31, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


(1) Technical challenge to sustainability: The prevalence of brownfield properties across the United States has reached epidemic proportions. Created from lack of market interest, preference for easily developed land, fear of legal liability, and lack of resources, brownfields pose obstacles to sustainability on every level. Brownfield sites pose a constant threat to the natural environment with contamination remaining in soil, groundwater and structures. They also threaten the health of adjacent communities. Without activity, these sites do not provide employment for residents or tax revenue for municipalities, and they accelerate the steady progress of inefficient land use, or urban sprawl. This issue is not isolated to the sites themselves. The detrimental effect of these sites has a ripple effect to the properties around them, creating districts of disinvestment, unabated contamination, and employment and economic dead zones.

(2) Innovative design approach: This project will develop strategies for interim use of these sites, including micro-enterprises focused on innovative ideas that further sustainability objectives (e.g., recycling projects, alternative fuels, and community building).

(3) How challenge and design relate to sustainability: Interim use of a brownfield site will catalyze its redevelopment by bringing active cleanup efforts, economic opportunity, and public and private attention to sites previously ignored. For example, a former gas station can host a bio-diesel production business. Operation of this business can fund the bio-remediation project addressing petroleum contamination left by the previous occupant. Once risk is managed, investors have incentive to pursue infill development, slowing trends toward urban sprawl.

(4) Strategy for measuring results: Results can be measured in terms of jobs and tax revenue created, acres recycled land, acres of greenfields saved, construction jobs leveraged and realization of community developed vision plans.

(5) How implemented in university context: Teams of multi-disciplinary graduate students working through a one-year seminar will assist property owners with elements of small scale brownfield redevelopment, with a supporting public participation program.

Supplemental Keywords:

Brownfields development, interim use, sustainability, redevelopment, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Economics, Brownfields, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, coalition formation, brownfield sites, urban regeneration, redevelopment, collaborative decision making, collaborative resolution, urban waste management, environmental decision making, decision making, advocacy coalition framework, environmental remediation, risk assessment , clean-up strategies, community based environmental planning, environmental assessment, environmental policy, community participation, environmental protection, stakeholders, environmental education

Relevant Websites:

Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report