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Redeveloping for Resilience

16 Jun 2022 2:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Colette Santasieri, PhD

With sea level continuing to rise, storms becoming stronger and more frequent, and flooding occurring more often than ever, communities are seeking ways to become more resilient to the negative impacts of climate change. Many of these same communities are plagued with vacant, former industrial and commercial properties that are either contaminated or perceived to be contaminated (aka brownfields). Some communities are tackling the problems of climate change and brownfields simultaneously by viewing the redevelopment of brownfield sites through the lens of resilience.

The City of Hoboken is vulnerable to flooding from coastal and intense rainfall storm events. The City has employed a comprehensive water management strategy focused on "Parks as Defense" to mitigate flood risk. This historically industrial city is using three brownfield sites as the platform to create resilience parks. Other cities including Camden are eying former gas stations and other brownfields to mitigated flooding by creating rain gardens. 

The benefits of redeveloping brownfields for community resilience are many. From an environmental standpoint, contamination is remediated, public health concerns are lessened, and floodwaters are captured and then slowly released. Redeveloping brownfield sites for community resilience also address social equity issues. Minority and low income communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change. These same communities also contain a disproportionate amount of brownfield sites. Ridding environmental justice communities of brownfield sites, alleviating flood water impacts, and creating new land uses enjoyed by the community are positive outcomes in redeveloping for resilience.

The NJ Brownfields Assistance Center @ NJIT will be hosting a Redeveloping for Resilience webinar on Wednesday, June 29th at 10:00am. The webinar will showcase how some NJ communities have redeveloped brownfield sites into multi-purpose land uses that manage floodwaters and provide other community benefits. The webinar will also address land constraints and opportunities for implementing resilient development practices on brownfield sites. To view the webinar either in real time or post event, visit the NJ Brownfield Assistance Center’s website: https://www.njit.edu/njbrownfields/news-and-events

Posted June 16, 2022


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