Kenneth H. Kastman
Should We “Rebrand” Brownfields?
The term brownfield gets a bad rap. Yes, the formal definition includes a connotation of negative environmental perception, but there have been so many positives resulting from brownfields. Perhaps we should coin a new term that speaks to the positives.
Let’s look at the other terms the industry has been using. Grayfields has a dingy dark connotation. Brightfields is upbeat, but limited to an energy focus. Anything with “re-“ accentuates the current negative: redevelopment, implies lack of development; reinvigorate, implies lack of vigor; renew, implies old; revitalize, implies lack of vitality.
A term like transit oriented development (TOD) was a good approach to naming something well. Many of the properties near urban train station are brownfields, but the focus on transit and development captures the positive aspect. Smart growth is nice but it smacks of “dumb” growth, but maybe there is a lot of unplanned dumb growth in our cities, so that term probably...
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