Integrating “Livability Principles” in Brownfields Redevelopment

Reprinted with permission from Kara A. Allison, APR, of Hull & Associates, Inc.

Have you applied for federal brownfields funding lately? Perhaps you’ve noticed an increasing emphasis on incorporating sustainable concepts, equitable development, and other livability-focused activities into these funding proposals. It’s a shift in approach designed to support growing stronger, more sustainable communities nationwide, and if you want to secure federal funding for your future brownfields projects it’s time to start paying attention to the details now.

The Partnership for Sustainable Communities – an interagency partnership formed in 2009 between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – works to coordinate federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money, and reduce pollution. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals – which we’re now seeing with increased frequency in federal brownfield funding applications.

So just the very nature of even implementing a brownfields project puts a community on the right path to incorporating the “livability principles” identified by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, right? Not quite. But here are a few ways to start thinking about how to encompass every aspect of the Livability Principles in planning your next brownfield redevelopment project:

  • Provide More Transportation Choices – Set your local brownfields task force loose on researching information for an infrastructure assessment study to help make recommendations for improved and additional community transportation alternatives, including ways to increase walkability in target corridors and neighborhoods.
  • Promote Equitable, Affordable Housing – Include recommendations in remedial action plans about whether assessed sites could be used to improve and grow the community’s stock of affordable, energy-efficient housing, particularly for sites assessed within any neighborhood improvement areas.
  • Enhance Economic Competitiveness – Focus on and conduct assessments at key sites, which will increase opportunities for economic competitiveness by identifying brownfields for future cleanup. Market restored properties to new and expanding businesses which will in turn create both construction and permanent jobs in the community. 
  • Support Existing Communities – Use outreach activities and public meetings in the targeted community to leverage information and gather input into the brownfield redevelopment process. Include local organizations, residents, and businesses from the impacted neighborhoods to support your grassroots, early brownfields planning initiatives.
  • Coordinate and Leverage Federal Policies and Investments – Apply for and leverage multiple sources of federal, state, and local grant funding for brownfields. Use logical steps in layering the available sources of public funding (planning, assessment, cleanup, and reinvestment) to help secure and attract private funding to keep growing investments in your local brownfields initiative.
  • Value Communities and Neighborhoods – Begin assessing brownfield sites in the most impacted core of your community. It not only provides the ability to restore a sense of community pride in the targeted corridor, but within the community as a whole. An added bonus: you’ll see a ripple impact on the greater regional area and the opportunity to leverage broader support for your local community brownfield initiative.
HULL & Associates, Inc. is a project development and consulting firm specializing in the Alternative Energy, Brownfields, Environmental, Shale Oil & Gas, and Waste Management markets, with seven offices strategically located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Re: Brownfields, Hull’s more than 25 years of experience includes successfully securing and leveraging funding, assessment, remediation and redevelopment projects. Kara A. Allison, APR, is HULL’s Brownfields Market Leader.

Want to know more? Contact Kara at 614.793.8777 or

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