Sustainable Brownfields Consortium


Research Results


Technical Assistance Guidebook

Meant for policymakers, developers, community members and others, this short guidebook addresses the elements and benefits of, and best practices for, green redevelopment of brownfields, as well as how to support green redevelopment of brownfields in one's community.

Green Redevelopment of Brownfield Sites: A Brief Guide to Benefits and Best Practices (Dec. 2013)

Brownfields and Public Health

This report, by Professors Marilyn O'Hara Ruiz and Serap Erdal, examines changes in Cook County, IL brownfields in terms of socio-economic deprivation indicators, vegetated land cover and incidents involving leaking underground storage tanks. 

Remediated Brownfields in Cook County, IL: Neighborhood Characteristics and Impact of Brownfield Activity (Dec. 2013)

As a case study, Drs. Erdal and O'Hara used risk indicators to evaluate the public health impacts of brownfields cleanup at 10 sites in Cook County.

Public Health Evaluation of Brownfield Sites Using Risk Indicators: Case Study of Ten Sites in Cook County (posted Feb. 2014)

The public health team interviewed residents of a brownfields-impacted community about their perceptions of health risk.

Community Risk Perception Survey Findings: Harvey, IL (posted April 2014)

Economic Impacts of Brownfields Cleanups

Joshua Linn published a paper estimating the effect of brownfields sites receiving a "No Further Remediation" letter from a state environmental agency, as part of its voluntary site remediation program, on nearby property values.

The Effect of Voluntary Brownfields Programs on Nearby Property Values: Evidence from Illinois (discussion paper - August 2012). Published in Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 78, Nov. 2013, pp. 1-18, downloadable from

Life-Cycle Analysis of a Sustainably Redeveloped Brownfield Site

Thomas Brecheisen, doctoral candidate, and Dr. Thomas Theis conducted a life-cycle analysis of a sustainably redeveloped brownfield, the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT). It analyzes the material and energy flows of different stages and aspects of the redevelopment. This life-cycle analysis is a counterpart to Dr. Christopher De Sousa's best practices case study of CCGT in the section below.

The Chicago Center for Green Technology: life-cycle assessment of a brownfield redevelopment project. By Thomas Brecheisen and Dr. Thomas Theis. Published in Environmental Research Letters, March 21, 2013.

Sustainable Redevelopment of Brownfields Case Studies

Professor Christopher De Sousa is studying brownfield sites that have been or are being redeveloped in a sustainable way. The resulting case studies focus on projects that are recipients of funding under U.S. EPA's Brownfields Sustainability Pilots program (many of which are in the process of being redeveloped) and on a number of innovative, successful, completed projects around the country referred to as "Best Management Practice" sites. The case studies aim to identify best practices for sustainable redevelopment of brownfields, including the underlying policies and practices that enabled these redevelopments to be undertaken and/or completed.

From Brownfields to Parkland - Elmhurst Park and Fresh Kills Park, New York, NY: Sustainable Brownfields Revitalization Best Practices (posted December 2013)

Heifer International, Little Rock, Arkansas: A Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (posted January 2014)

The Chicago Center for Green Technology: A Sustainable Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (posted September 2012)

Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley: A Sustainable Re-Industrialization Best Practice (posted January 2012)

As part of this project, Dr. De Sousa also wrote a book chapter about the Menomonee Valley redevelopment, entitled "Creating the green industrial district: Transforming Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley from a blighted brownfield into a sustainable place to work and play.” It is included in the book Sustainability in America's Cities: Creating the Green Metropolis, M. Slavin, Editor, published by Island Press, 2011.

South Waterfront District, Portland, OR: A Sustainable Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (posted October 2012)

Atlantic Station, Atlanta, Georgia: A Sustainable Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (posted January 2013)

Brockton Brightfield, Brockton, Massachusetts: A Sustainable Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (posted May 2013)

Montgomery Park Business Center: A Sustainable Brownfield Redevelopment Best Practice (January 2014)

Artspace Commons, Salt Lake City, Utah: A Sustainable Brownfield Revitalization Best Practice (July 2014)

Moran Center, Burlington, Vermont: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted January 2012)

Tabor Commons to Café Au Play, Portland, Oregon: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted February 2012)

June Key Delta Community Center, Portland, Oregon: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted January 2012)

Holmes Road Landfill (Houston Solar Project), Houston, Texas: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted May 2012)

Anvil Mountain, Silverton, Colorado: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted June 2012)

Greenville Workforce Housing Project/Sustainable Reuse of a Former Gas Station and Supermarket, Greenville, SC: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted June 2012)

Langdale and Riverdale Mills Redevelopment, Valley, Alabama: A U.S. EPA Brownfields Sustainability Pilot (posted July 2012)

Brownfields Sustainability Pilots Data Matrices and Benchmarks

Also as part of the Brownfields Sustainability Pilots case studies, Dr. De Sousa developed data matrices of pre-development data for each site. These are intended to present an informal pre-development snapshot of conventional and sustainability-oriented information for each of the pilots and their surrounding neighborhoods. He also developed a list of recommended benchmarks for pilot recipients to collect. This information should help the projects with tracking sustainability progress on a range of indicators.

Allen-Morrison, Lynchburg, VA: Data Matrix

Anvil Mountain Neighborhood, Silverton, CO: Data Matrix

Commercial Street, Springfield, MO: Data Matrix

Focus: Hope, Detroit, MI: Data Matrix

Greenville Workforce Housing Project, Greenville, SC: Data Matrix

Haynes Recreational Center, Laredo, TX: Data Matrix

Houston Solar Project, Houston, TX: Data Matrix

Jackson Square, Boston, MA: Data Matrix

June Key Delta Community Center, Portland, OR: Data Matrix

Langdale Mills, Valley, AL: Data Matrix

Moran Center, Burlington, VT: Data Matrix

Samoa Peninsula, Humboldt County, CA: Data Matrix

Tabor Commons, Portland, OR: Data Matrix

The Waterfront, Allentown, PA: Data Matrix