University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Overcoming Barriers to Brownfield Redevelopment

Professor Margaret Dewar, Urban and Regional Planning Program, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Professor Rochelle Lento, University of Michigan Law School

Professors Dewar and Lento received CLOSUP funding for this project on brownfield redevelopment.

Finding ways to encourage redevelopment of contaminated, often abandoned, sites--"brownfields"--in cities has become a major policy issue in Michigan and in the nation. Urban residents and elected officials see the reuse of such land as important to improving the quality of urban life and to reducing the pressure to develop natural lands at the fringe of metropolitan areas. Both the policy debate and the academic discussion have focused narrowly on dealing with cleanup of contamination. However, as this project will demonstrate, redevelopment of urban land has always faced more barriers than contamination, and cleanup alone will not lead to reuse.

Through research on Detroit, this project identifies a broader range of barriers to the redevelopment of centrally located, contaminated land in metropolitan areas. Further, the project investigates ways to overcome several barriers to redevelopment in Detroit with emphasis on improving the city's procedures for selling its land.  | 
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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy