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Land Revitalization Basics

What is land revitalization?

Land revitalization is the sustainable redevelopment of abandoned properties. The program encourages communities and land owners to reuse and redevelop land that was previously contaminated and turns it into public parks, restored wetlands, and new businesses. Revitalizing an area cleans up a community to make it safer, greener, and offers more jobs to its residents. 

What is the Land Revitalization Program?

EPA's Land Revitalization Program promotes the integration of sustainable reuse considerations into all cleanup and redevelopment decisions. Whether a property is an abandoned industrial facility, a waste disposal area, a former gas station, or a Superfund site, the Land Revitalization Initiative seeks to turn these places into productive, sustainable, and welcoming environments. 

Land Revitalizations programs at EPA:

How does EPA encourage sustainable reuse?

EPA's Land Revitalization Program fosters strong partnerships with communities to address environmental issues, promote sustainable redevelopment, and encourage public involvement in area-wide planning, to enhance economic development, create green jobs, and maximize the efficiency of site cleanup efforts. Technical assistance, outreach and limited funding are available to assist communities in transforming their previously contaminated sites into sustainable redevelopment projects. The program documents and shares these projects to encourage other communities to revitalize their sites. 

The Land Revitalization Program brochure displays the priorities and approaches of the program. 

Why is revitalizing contaminated property and formerly contaminated property a good idea?

Often times contaminated sites and properties are in advantageous locations that are accessible to infrastructure and close to people, which make them good candidates for revitalization projects. Past activities and potential environmental issues at many sites are already well documented, which minimizes future surprises regarding unknown or undiscovered contamination issues. EPA has informational, financial, legal, and technical revitalization tools to assist you in redeveloping your site or property. In addition, some federal, state and local government agencies offer incentives such as grants or loans to encourage development of contaminated and formerly contaminated properties.  

How can I begin revitalizing a property?

Each revitalization site or project is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to return a formerly contaminated site back into reuse. This is due to different types of sites that EPA and states clean up and manage, using different legal authorities and requirements. For example, brownfields sites are cleaned up and managed using a different legal authority than a superfund site, and the liability protections, funding opportunities, etc., are very different.

As a result, there is no single “revitalization formula” to apply across the different types of sites. Each site will require unique or tailored revitalization tools and approaches. However, there are site-specific steps that can be undertaken that will allow you to take advantage of appropriate revitalization tools and resources to redevelop a site.

The following questions will help you begin to put the pieces together and identify the appropriate land revitalization information for your site as well as take advantage of available revitalization tools and resources.