Brownfield Restoration

A classic brownfield site

The benefits of redeveloping brownfield sites are well documented:

  • Increase property value and local tax base
  • Reduce the need to develop greenfields
  • Achieve cost savings by using existing infrastructure
  • Mitigate public health and safety concerns
  • Improve the downtown/community image

This field guide will start by exploring what brownfields are and how you can get started with brownfield redevelopment in your community. It will walk you through creating a brownfield inventory to contribute to regional planning and culminate with a local site assessment that could eventually lead to the redevelopment of a site your community. To get started explore the tabs below:



Common challenges faced by rural communities working with brownfields:

  • Rural geography with abundant green space, inaccessibility
  • Rural demographics – sparse population, out migration, poverty
  • Limited and inconsistent resources – capital and technical expertise
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Local community resources
  • Public perception, misinformation and fear

Suggestions for overcoming theses challenges:

  • Designate a Local champion
  • Include Community involvement at every step
  • Educate community leaders through local media, site visits, forums, planning sessions
  • Present best practices from nearby redevelopments
  • Take risks and be innovative, flexible and have a redevelopment vision
  • Constantly seek Grant Opportunities

Useful links:

Official Brownfields Definition from EPA
Brownfields Center at the Environmental Law Institute
Public Participation in Brownfield Redevelopment: A Framework for Community Empowerment in Zoning Practices
New York City’s Brownfield Cleanup Public Participation Plan