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Project Title: Best Management Practices and Benefits of Sustainable Redevelopment of Brownfield Sites.

Funding Agency: US Environmental Protection Agency, Brownfields Training, Research and Technical Assistance Grant Program. Project Lead University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Environmental Science and Policy; Sub-PIs UW-Milwaukee Chris De Sousa and John Braden UI-Urbana.

The focus of this project is to identify best management practices and provide technical assistance for sustainable brownfields redevelopment. Various research projects will be undertaken by members of the three universities involved to analyze the environmental, public health, and economic benefits of sustainable brownfields redevelopment. UWM will be coordinating three sub-projects, including: (1) the 2011 Menomonee Valley Benchmarking Initiative; (2) a study of Best Management Practices for sustainable brownfields projects; and (3) a review of 16 brownfields sustainability pilots recently announced by the EPA.

For more information contact Chris De Sousa

Project Title: Residential brownfields development, sprawl, and sustainability: A demand side perspective.

Funding Agency: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Graduate School Research Committee Award

The purpose of this research is to study the demand for housing built on previously vacant, underused, or reclaimed land in Milwaukee, and to assess the impact this is having on urban sprawl and sustainability.

For more information contact Chris De Sousa

Project Title: Assessing the impact of brownfields redevelopment on residential property values and real estate conditions.

  • Funding Agency: USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station
  • The aim of this research project is to measure and compare the impact of different forms of brownfields redevelopment (green space, industrial, commercial, and residential) on nearby residential property values and real estate conditions in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.
  • The research approach will incorporate both quantitative and qualitative methods; that is, a hedonic method will be used to quantify nearby property value effects, while interviews with relevant public and private sector stakeholders will be used to gather information on the perceived impacts to local real estate conditions.

For more information contact Chris De Sousa or Changshan Wu (Geography).

Project Title: Increasing residential development activity on urban brownfields: An examination of redevelopment trends, developer perceptions, and future prospects.

  • Funding Agency: National Academies: HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Urban Scholars Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • The purpose of this project is to address four critical research questions:
    • What have been the patterns of residential brownfield redevelopment activity in Milwaukee and Chicago in terms of scale, character, value and other key market variables since 1995;
    • Why is brownfield redevelopment perceived as being less cost-effective and more risky than greenfield redevelopment for profit and affordable housing?
    • Is government intervention important in this domain and, if so, to what extent and in what ways?
    • What implications does the project have for mapping out a strategy for future redevelopment issues in the cities of Milwaukee and Chicago specifically, and what broader implications does it have for redevelopment generally?

For more information contact Chris De Sousa.

Project Title: The Role of Nonprofit Organization in the Greening of Urban Brownfields: A Comparative Examination of Management Approaches and Outcomes.

  • Funding Agency: Helen Bader Institute for Non-Profit Management, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Faculty Nonprofit Research Grant.
  • The study will seek answers to the following research questions:
    • What is the mission of US national nonprofit organizations vis-à-vis urban greening?
    • How are these nonprofits organized and how do they operate within the redevelopment process, in terms of ascertaining their degree of involvement, leveraging community support, interacting with public and private sector stakeholders, financing projects, etc.?
    • What particular challenges do they face and how are these overcome?
    • What types of outcomes have they achieved and is their organizational effectiveness improving?

For more information contact Chris De Sousa.

Project Title: Curbing Industrial Decline or Thwarting Redevelopment? An Evaluation of Chicago's Planned Manufacturing Districts.

  • Funding Agency: University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Graduate School Research Committee Award.
  • Project Goals:
    • To evaluate the effectiveness of a zoning initiative used in Chicago to address land-use conflicts on brownfield properties. Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs) address the problem of industrial displacement, a phenomenon that occurs when land uses incompatible with industrial development are introduced into industrial areas, often through gentrification. A PMD is a special zoning designation designed to prevent industrial displacement by prohibiting the rezoning of industrial land for non-industrial uses. This project will evaluate the three PMDs in Chicago that have been in effect for 13 years or longer. The specific objectives of the research are:
      • To determine whether the PMDs have been effective as a tool for retaining industrial firms and employment.
      • To measure private investment activity by industrial firms within the PMDs.
      • To determine whether land values within the PMDs have stabilized since the PMDs were established.
      • To identify public infrastructure investments and other public improvements within the PMDs.

For more information contact Joel Rast.

Project Title: Unearthing the Benefits of Brownfield to Green Space Projects: A Study of User and Community Perceptions and Reactions

  • Funding Agency: USDA Forest Service, North Central Research Station.
  • Project Goals: To investigate the perceived benefits and outcomes of three brownfield to green space projects (Ping Tom Park & Senka Park in Chicago & Mill Ruins Park in Minneapolis) from the perspective of users and community members. The specific objectives of the proposed research are:
    • To investigate the benefits that the greening of brownfields brings to project users by gathering information on the users themselves, the types of activities taking place, and assessing whether these projects are fulfilling their needs;
    • To identify the perceived on- and off-site benefits and problems that these projects bring to the surrounding community;
    • To discover ways to enhance these benefits by gathering information on what users recommend for additional park facilities, recreation programs and greening projects and identifying any concerns or criticisms related to these projects;
    • To examine both the ensuing benefits and the nature of project users in relation to the community at large.

For more information contact Chris De Sousa.

Project Title: Brownfield Redevelopment in Canadian Cities - Examining the Role of Local Government

  • Funding Agency: Consul General of Canada, Washington D.C., Canadian Studies Research Program
  • Project Goals: to gain a better understanding of the nature of the brownfields problem in Canadian cities and to investigate the role of local government in dealing with it "on the ground." The specific objectives are:
    • To gather information on the scale and character of the brownfields problem and of redevelopment activity in Canadian cities over the last half decade;
    • To investigate the factors contributing to the creation and redevelopment of brownfields in those cities, as well as the barriers and benefits associated with such redevelopment;
    • To examine the role of local government in managing and facilitating redevelopment activity, as it relates to regulatory, financial, technical, and other issues;
    • To collect information from local government officials regarding the actions of other public- and private-sector stakeholders in the redevelopment process and additional support they require for furthering redevelopment activity; and
    • To collect available information on brownfield redevelopment performance or outcomes (e.g., land cleaned up, property redeveloped, jobs created, etc.).

For more information contact Chris De Sousa.

Project Title: Milwaukee's Brownfields: Redevelopment and Environmental Equity?

  • Funding Agency: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Graduate School Research Committee Award.
  • Project goals: (a) To examine whether there are environmental equity issues associated with the redevelopment of brownfields that have been supported by public funds in Milwaukee (using Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping analysis based on federal, state, and local brownfields lists, and US Census Bureau and other public geo-referenced socioeconomic and related data); (b) To research private-sector developer experiences concerning brownfield redevelopment in Milwaukee (based on developer interviews). The specific objectives of this research are:
    • To systematically evaluate the experience of those private-sector developers who have redeveloped brownfields using public funds, in terms of which sites were selected, why, the actual obstacles encountered, and the mechanisms for overcoming them;
    • To determine whether the spatial distribution of redeveloped brownfields highlights problems of environmental inequity, in terms of the extent to which redevelopment supported by public funds has/has not occurred in the most distressed neighborhoods;
    • To ascertain the insights of private developers about the potential for redevelopment of the less marketable brownfields in the most distressed neighborhoods.

For more information, contact Linda McCarthy.


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Last Updated: October 11, 2008

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