The Case of the Lagoon of Venice
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Anna Alberini, Paolo Rosato and Margherita Turvani
Chapter 9: Developer Preferences for Brownfield Policies
Anna Alberini, Alberto Longo, Stefania Tonin, Francesco Trombetta and Margherita Turvani 9.1 INTRODUCTION This study examines different market-based mechanisms and other incentives intended to promote the environmental remediation and reuse of ‘brownfields’. Brownfields are ‘abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial properties where real or perceived contamination complicates expansion or redevelopment’ (Simons, 1998). They were created through two concurrent factors: the downsizing and plant closings that started in the 1970s as the economy of the US and of Western European countries moved away from manufacturing, and the passage of legislation that holds responsible parties liable for the cost of cleanup at contaminated sites. It is often argued that such legislation – in the US, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, 1980) – has created disincentives to the redevelopment and reuse of potentially contaminated sites, as liability for the cost of cleanup has been construed to extend to lenders and property owners (Fogleman, 1992). In response, the latter have shied away from potentially contaminated properties. Brownfield cleanup and reuse, however, are attractive to communities and policymakers for three reasons. First, they reduce the adverse effects of the site’s soil and water pollution on human health and ecological systems. Second, they help stop the conversion of agricultural land and rural sites to urban uses and other development patterns that generate environmental problems, congestion and sprawl. Third, they promote economic growth in inner cities and are, therefore, potentially important components of sustainable growth. Accordingly, federal, state and local initiatives have been recently...
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