"Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together" webinar materials now available

Thank you to everyone who attended SGA’s Sustainable Communities Network “Brownfields Redevelopment, Community Revitalization, and Regional Planning: Making It Work Together” earlier this week.

We heard from Adhir Kackar and Stacy Swartwood of the Environmental Protection Agency on how the federal government is working to streamline investments in community brownfield redevelopment and regional planning efforts, particularly through the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. We then heard the stories and lessons learned from the community of Ranson, West Virginia already working on brownfield cleanup in conjunction with other economic development projects from Dawn Seeburger, Environmental Resources & Consulting.


Stormwater management, green infrastructure and the challenges of redevelopment

Smart growth strategies are a key part of protecting water quality. Compact, mixed-use development means fewer paved and impervious surfaces, which helps reduce environmentally damaging stormwater runoff. Walkable neighborhoods with transportation choices mean fewer vehicle miles traveled, which helps reduce air pollution that falls into rivers as rain. And redeveloping greyfields or brownfields can significantly improve the environmental performance of a building site, while accommodating growth that might otherwise occur in greenfields.

Green infrastructure – including green roofs, rain gardens, tree plantings and permeable pavement – can go even further to protect water quality. Environmental advocates (including Smart Growth America) support rules that would require green infrastructure for new development projects as a way to protect waterways and water quality. But should redevelopment projects be subject to the same regulatory requirements for stormwater as greenfield development?

Because redevelopment already benefits water quality, and because it already faces greater regulatory and site-specific hurdles than greenfield development, many advocates argue no. Several groups, including Smart Growth America, have expressed concern that holding redevelopment projects to the same stormwater standards as greenfield development will raise the cost of these projects and discourage developers from reusing already-developed land. Water quality groups counter that evidence is lacking to support this fear, and that other regulatory factors are more significant in making development decisions.


Guest Post: Who loves abandoned Wal-Marts and K-Marts?

rock bottom rollback, originally uploaded by sssteve.o. Doug Simpson shares one education company’s exciting efforts — presented last Friday at the Louisiana Smart Growth Summit — to breathe new life into abandoned big box retailers. AUGUST 20, 2010 – An Alabama-based adult education company seeks out vacant “big box” retail sites and shopping malls to … Continued


New brownfields bill would encourage sustainability and revitalize communities

Since 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program has helped communities across the country assess and clean up thousands of those contaminated, vacant properties known collectively as “brownfields,” leveraging more than $14 billion in public and private investment and contributing to the creation of more than 60,000 jobs in the process. Over the last several months, Smart Growth America has been working as part of the National Brownfields Coalition to help reauthorize this vital program, with a series of amendments to improve it.