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Brownfield Redevelopment For Sustainable Communities Within Canada

1789 words - 8 pages

Within Canada, brownfield redevelopment is a vital component in creating sustainable communities because it supports present-day land realities through the utilization of current infrastructure, inclusion of new green technologies and greenfield conservation. Brownfields are known as a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination. They include decommission refineries, former railway yards, crumbling warehouses, abandoned gas stations, and other commercial properties where toxic substances may have been used or stored (National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, 1). In Canada today there are about 30’000 ...view middle of the document...

brownfield redevelopment lowers municipal infrastructure costs (Nat’l Rnd Tbl on the Env. and the Econ., 3). The results of such efforts are seen in Canada through projects such as the community facilities in the Artscape Wychwood Barns Project and the GO train station in the Port Credit Village Project. These projects and others, compared to the statistics on development of greenfields, clearly display the added benefits of reusing infrastructure. Moreover, as a result of taking advantage of existing structures, municipal money saved can be put towards the implementation of technology to support the goals of sustainability. This involves the inclusion of green architecture, efficient technologies and green spaces. Christopher Holmes, an environmentalist and real estate developer located in Quebec, describes a variety of ways to make efficient buildings through ancient and modern methods (The Great Warming). The Artscape Wychwood Barns Project is a prime example of the types of efficient technology used and their benefits. Additionally, brownfield projects produce such benefits as the decrease of suburban sprawl. Suburban sprawl, according to Jane Jacobs, is a term used to understand the outward spreading of a city typically onto rural land (146). Thus, brownfield redevelopment protects greenfields from being used for new development. Finally, in order to being redevelopment on a brownfield, the process of remediation must occur. With the standards set by the government, remediation effects the environment by stopping or preventing negative effects of the contaminated land on ecological resources. Thus, sustainability is met through the removal of contamination that effects our environment. Overall, brownfield redevelopment creates a healthier environment and more sustainable society.

Utilizing Current Infrastructure
Given the often strategic location of already built-up areas, redeveloped brownfield properties can take advantage of existing infrastructure needed for the operation of a society. According to the Worldwatch Institute, “human life in cities are structured by infrastructure: water and food supply, sewers, transportation and communication networks, technologies to improve air quality, and buildings to house people and production” (17). Therefore, it is necessary to include these aspects in any development projects. Yet, brownfield redevelopment, compared to greenfield development, is handed the opportunity to take advantage of current infrastructure. When developers take advantage of the current infrastructure on brownfield redevelopment sites, they remove the costs of constructing new water and sewage systems, telecommunication lines and other necessary infrastructure (Nat’l Rnd Tbl on the Env. and the Econ., 3). This is especially beneficial because infrastructure is largely unalterable. For example, “streets and water pipes are expensive, long-term commitments, shaping urban form for decades to come” (Worldwatch Institute, 17)....

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