Brownfields Practicum: Regeneration of Brownfield Lands

This course concerns the reclamation of sites altered by prior industrial or commercial uses and in particular those that are derelict, environmentally hazardous and located within neighborhoods and/or close to residential communities. The subject matter addresses recent advances in the legal, regulatory, environmental, economic, and community landscape as well as the remediation of despoiled land in a manner that reclaims and redevelops these sites for future sustainable uses. Of interest to the instructor is how these advances can inform more progressive and creative planning and design work, and conversely, to what extent sustainable planning and design work can direct the regeneration and reuse of these urban environments.

GSD 6323 introduces students to the foundations of brownfields regeneration and reuse as well as the science and applied technology of waste site cleanup, and connects brownfields redevelopment to broader issues in environmental policy and planning such as environmental justice, public health and sustainable development. The class will review the current regulatory, economic, environmental, community, public health and development conditions of brownfields, through site visits, classroom presentations and discussions with relevant stakeholders from federal, state, city and community agencies, as well as other professionals from the environmental engineering private sector. A component of this year’s course will be the influence of brownfields internationally in design and development practices. Through a practice component (the practicum) class members working in teams apply this general brownfields knowledge to particular challenges in the field on behalf of a city government in the local area of Boston or through a team research project and gain hands-on experience in applied environmental and economic development research and analysis, community brownfield practices, and sustainability planning.