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Smart Growth and Brownfields

How and where growth occurs can have significant environmental impacts. Redeveloping and reusing infill and brownfield sites in a way consistent with the principles of smart growth can minimize these impacts. Smart growth encourages the redevelopment of brownfield properties as pedestrian friendly and transit accessible, built compactly with a mixture of land uses, and with access to public spaces, parks, or plazas. Using smart growth principles in brownfield redevelopment can create greater benefits from the reuse of infill sites, reduce demand for land for development on the urban fringe, and improve the regional air and water quality. Brownfield redevelopment is an essential component of smart growth, as both seek to return abandoned and underutilized sites to their fullest potential as community and economic assets.

Incorporating smart growth approaches at both the policy and site-specific levels can help expedite brownfields redevelopment and leverage greater benefits from their reuse. A smart growth strategy that looks at the larger economic and regulatory contexts for redevelopment to change investments in land use, transportation, or infrastructure can help make brownfields and other infill sites more attractive for redevelopment.

Smart Growth and Brownfield Grants

In 2002, 2003, and 2004, EPA awarded grants to help communities remove barriers and incorporate smart growth into planning, revitalization, and/or redevelopment efforts. The grants emphasized projects that feature innovative community actions and successful smart growth implementation and brownfields redevelopment that can be replicated across the country. Currently this program is not offering any new grants; any future grants will be announced on the Smart Growth Grants Web page.

Read about the 2004 grant recipients.

Read about the 2003 grant recipients.

Read about the 2002 grant recipients.


On August 9, 2012, EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities and the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization held a joint webinar on Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grants: Opportunities for Local Governments and Nonprofits. View the presentation.

For more information

For more information about smart growth and brownfields redevelopment, please contact Adhir Kackar (kackar.adhir@epa.gov) or 202-566-2846.

For more information see EPA's brownfields clean-up and redevelopment programs Web site.

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