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The Dynamics of Brownfield Redevelopment

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box #3140, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Department of Geography, State University of New York at Buffalo, 105 Wilkeson Quad, Buffalo, NY 14261, USA
Decisio Consulting, P.O. Box 1466, Portage, MI 49081, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2011, 3(6), 914-936;
Received: 11 February 2011 / Revised: 17 June 2011 / Accepted: 20 June 2011 / Published: 23 June 2011
PDF [712 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Negligence of former industrial sites (“brownfields”) has adversely impacted urban landscapes throughout the industrialized world. Brownfield redevelopment has recently emerged as a sustainable land use strategy and impetus for urban revitalization. This study presents a system dynamics model of the redevelopment process that illustrates how delays compound before realizing financial benefits from investment in these core urban areas. We construct a dynamic hypothesis, in which brownfield redevelopment activities are dependent upon funding and in turn bolster tax base through job creation. Drawing on previous studies, barriers to brownfield redevelopment are explored, including fear of liability, regulatory concerns, and uncertain cleanup standards and funding mechanisms. We model a case study of redevelopment in the State of Michigan (USA), which is informed by data from the Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and U.S. Conference of Mayors brownfield surveys. Stock-flow structures represent phases of redevelopment, with diverted streams for sites in which no contamination was found (false alarms) and those with excess contamination level. The model is used to examine the point at which cumulative tax revenues from redeveloped areas exceed cumulative expenditures on brownfield redevelopment under different levels of funding availability. View Full-Text
Keywords: brownfields; brownfield redevelopment; dynamic modeling; urban development; urban modeling; urban planning; site contamination; sustainable development brownfields; brownfield redevelopment; dynamic modeling; urban development; urban modeling; urban planning; site contamination; sustainable development
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

BenDor, T.K.; Metcalf, S.S.; Paich, M. The Dynamics of Brownfield Redevelopment. Sustainability 2011, 3, 914-936.

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