2020 Environmental Benefits of Brownfields Redevelopment— A Nationwide Assessment
This study looked at the environmental benefits that accrue when brownfield sites are used for redevelopment. It is a technical report completed in 2020 prepared under contract from EPA’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization.
The study found that when housing and job growth is accommodated by redeveloping existing brownfields sites, the expansion of paved impervious surfaces and average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per capita/per job are reduced as compared to accommodating the same amount of growth on previously undeveloped sites.
The analysis employs a standard land use allocation model across 50 metro areas to compare two future redevelopment scenarios. The model estimates the air and water environmental impacts resulting from new growth under two scenarios for the period between 2013 and 2030 in 50 metro areas across the United States.
The analysis provides a direct comparison of the environmental impacts between growth at brownfield sites and growth in non-brownfield areas (e.g., outside of the urban core or on undeveloped properties). It also notes that as redevelopment occurs over time, the differences between the brownfield redevelopment scenario and the trend growth scenario may decline because there will be fewer brownfields remaining for redevelopment.