Evaluating the community benefits of brownfields redevelopment
Author(s)Dyke, Tracy A. (Tracy Alexandra), 1973-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Brownfields --abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination -- have garnered much attention from planners, politicians, and the media in recent years. Many brownfields are located in distressed neighborhoods, where they can lead to a downward spiral of disinvestment and declining quality of life for local residents. Policy makers and city officials hope that remediating and redeveloping brownfields will provide such public benefits including reduced health risks, jobs for local residents, revitalized neighborhoods, enhanced municipal tax bases. However, little research has been undertaken to document the actual benefits of brownfields revitalization. Those studies that have estimated the benefits of brownfields redevelopment have tended to examine projects through a narrow lens of certain economic development benchmarks, or have aggregated benefits across the nation, thus complicating project-by-project comparisons. In addition, many state policies designed to encourage brownfields redevelopment do not require a detailed evaluation of the public benefits of proposed projects. Although public funding to provide incentives for brownfields redevelopment is quite limited compared to need for project subsidies, few state brownfields programs base public funding allocations on the degree to which potential projects would provide public benefits. This research examines five brownfields redevelopment case studies, each in a different state and with a different type of redevelopment. The results from the case studies suggest that the benefits of brownfields redevelopment are indeed broader than those measured by -the traditional benchmarks. Expanding the scope of project evaluation techniques to include community-based social, environmental, and economic benefits would provide a different picture of project success than evaluations based only on metropolitan or regional level economic benefits. This thesis identifies areas where new benchmarks could be developed, and suggests how this information could inform the prioritization of projects that require public subsidies.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2000.Includes bibliographical references (p. 81-85).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.