Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

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

In complex natural resource systems, modifications or disruptions tend to affect many and diverse components of the ecological system, settlements and groups of people. This book uses the Lagoon of Venice – a unique natural resource, wildlife habitat, centre of cultural heritage and recreational site – as an example of one such system that has been heavily affected by human activities, including the harvesting of natural resources and industrial production. The contributors explore the Lagoon’s potential for regeneration, examining public policies currently under consideration. The aim of these policies is to restore island coastlines and marshes, fish stocks, habitat and environmental quality, defend morphology and landscape through the strict control of fishing practices, and to protect the islands from high tides.

Chapter 9: Developer Preferences for Brownfield Policies

Anna Alberini, Alberto Longo, Stefania Tonin, Margherita Turvani and Francesco Trombetta

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation


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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