Delta Institute’s Margaret Renas and Ben Shorofsky were recently published in the 2016 proceedings of Geo-Chicago: Sustainability, Energy, and the Geoenvironment. Their paper, titled “Community-Based Prioritization of a Brownfield Site Inventory for Redevelopment,” describes Delta’s work in conjunction with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) to prioritize vacant lots for redevelopment. The goal of the project was to use a dual quantitative and qualitative approach to narrow down a large list of 62 brownfields in the Little Village neighborhood to an approachable list of 10 for short-term redevelopment. The quantitative approach utilized a rubric assessing site data as a first step in the narrowing process. The second step was a qualitative approach involving interviews and interaction with stakeholders to better assess the goals of the community.
Overall, the project was successful not just in creating a shortlist of high-priority brownfields but also in assessing what types of reuse would be valuable to the community. Creating that high-priority shortlist was facilitated through a new rubric developed by Delta to score brownfields on nine areas such as infrastructure amenities and land characteristics. This rubric provided a distinct score and short summary for all sites, a major improvement in efficiency and clarity compared to past methods without a rubric. Assessing reuse involved parting from traditional private sector redevelopment by putting community engagement at the center of the process. Input came from formal interviews, open community meetings, and informal conversations at every stage. This, in tandem with the new rubric, made the selection of brownfield priority sites efficient and engaging.
Read the published technical paper here: https://bit.ly/lvbrownfieldpaper
Read about how the method in the paper became the project strategy in Little Village:
Executive Summary: https://bit.ly/lvbrownfieldsummary
Full Document: https://bit.ly/lvbrownfieldstrategy