Where have all the brownfields gone? : lessons for Chicago 15 years in
Author(s)Ekerdt, Molly H. (Molly Heinzmann)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The Chicago Brownfields Initiative was born of a high profile and well-respected public planning process to change the "brownfields" project from one that relied on liability to one that relied on private investment to clean up and redevelop contaminated surplus land. Its recommendations successfully shaped many of the state and federal tools in use 15 years later. Today, despite a large portfolio of unremediated brownfields, the project has lost its visibility and urgency. Using interviews with program stakeholders past and present and other materials, the thesis examines why the program's political cachet waned and the problem narrowed to focus on real estate development apart from broader disinvestment challenges. Using data from the Illinois Site Remediation Program and other Chicago geospatial data, this thesis shows that the results of an incomplete Initiative were mixed, specifically the geographic distribution of site remediation and the success of publicly initiated projects. The case of the Initiative provides insight into the complexities of environmental, economic development and redevelopment policy in the City of Chicago and why a truly "green" city is difficult to achieve. This thesis argues that the City of Chicago, in the context of a region experiencing similar economic and environmental questions, is poised to transform the urban brownfields project again, from a real estate scheme to a multi-faceted system that does not wait for investment, but shapes demand to guide clean-up and redevelopment in the city.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2009.Includes bibliographical references (p. 143-152).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.