The United States Conference of Mayors defines the term “brownfield” as an abandoned or underutilized property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by either real or perceived environmental contamination. This description applies to a wide variety of sites including, but not limited to, industrial properties, old gas stations, vacant warehouses, former dry cleaning establishments, abandoned residential buildings which potentially could contain lead paint or asbestos. Under the new law, sites that contain petroleum products as well as mine-scarred land are also considered brownfields. Brownfields are located in almost every community in the United States.
The seventh Brownfield’s report documents the problems of brownfields redevelopment faced by local communities throughout the United States and identifies the fleeting opportunities lost when properties remain idle and abandoned. For the first time, this report quantifies some of the benefits from brownfields redevelopment efforts across the country with cities responding their positive results from land recycling and the return of brownfields to productive uses.