The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

The Impacts of Brownfield Redevelopment Both Economically and Socially



At an alarming number of 450,000 brownfields in the United States (as estimated by the USEPA), they have become an important part of urban redevelopment. Out of the 450,000 brownfields estimated, Detroit, Michigan is home to about 1,000 of them (MDEQ 2017). This paper will emphasize the role of brownfield redevelopment in Detroit with the national level. Brownfield sites are often contaminated with hazardous pollutants, which hinder their full potential usage. Revitalizing these sites would prove to be beneficial for the surrounding neighborhoods, positively impacting both environmentally and socially. Under the CERCLA and Brownfield Law, the redevelopment and revitalization of these brownfield sites are actively promoted through grant funding. However, the environmental remediation and redevelopment of brownfields are not easy tasks. Liability and regulation reliefs, along with economic incentives are needed to attract communities, policymakers, and public and private organizations. Though, once they are attracted, the result of the remediation is beneficial. Cleanup of brownfield sites increases nearby housing values and positively impacts the welfare of the communities nearby (Haninger 2017). It also helps provide a space that fosters community, which increases the perceived value of properties in that community (Kotoval 2016). Additionally, a case study conducted in New Jersey (Greenberg et al 2000) showed that brownfields located in neighborhoods with high crime rates and poor and unsafe living conditions, seriously impact their surrounding neighborhoods and residents’, as well as the governments’, perception of those sites. Cleaning up brownfields would have a clear positive impact socially of those who live around them.

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