Built Environment

New York State Case Study - Public Art and Artist Housing in Downtown Revitalization

Creating space for public art and artist housing can have profound results for downtown revitalization. See this unfold in several NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) communities in this case study. 

Interconnection: Plugging RE-Powering Sites Into the Electric Grid

EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative encourages the reuse of formerly contaminated lands,
landfills, and mine sites for renewable energy development, when such development is aligned with
a community’s vision for the site. Renewable energy development on these properties requires
interconnection, a multistep technical, administrative, and financial process that enables a renewable
(or conventional) energy generator to interconnect to the electric grid and supply power. 

Creative Placemaking on Vacant Properties: Lessons Learned from Four Cities

What would you think if you saw an abandoned house painted entirely gold? Or stumbled upon performance art, led by young people, on a long-vacant lot? Incorporating the arts into place-based community development can spark fresh interest in vacant property. At the same time, creative placemaking, as a community-centered process, is a powerful tool to support equitable revitalization. This Center for Community Progress report offers practical guidance for communities curious about how to leverage the power of creative placemaking to transform vacant properties.

SMART Parks: A Toolkit

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation presents SMART Parks: A Toolkit, a compilation of technologies that can be used in parks to make them SMART.

The toolkit is meant for park managers, designers, advocates, and anyone who wishes to learn how technology can be incorporated into parks. Some of the featured technologies are completely new. For others, the novelty may be in the use in a park setting or in combination with newer technologies.

Planning with an Eye Toward Implementation: What All Communities Can Learn from Using a Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Approach

Why is an area-wide planning approach to brownfield reuse beneficial, especially to former manufacturing communities?  How have communities successfully nudged their brownfield-affected neighborhoods toward renewal? How can area-wide planning create lasting outcomes?


These questions, and a desire to distill the answers into a clear set of takeaways, are what drove Groundwork USA’s brownfields technical assistance team to develop its newest report.

Earth Day Initiative’s LEED v4 Lessons Learned

LEED or is a well known system for grading the greenness of buildings, organized by United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Since v3 in 2009, the new verious has undergone a major revision.  See the Earth Day Initiative's assessment of the changes and what they mean for green building certification moving forward.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding and Community Engagement

This guide is intended to encourage partnerships between park agencies and stormwater agencies aimed at promoting the use of green infrastructure on park lands. Green infrastructure can help to maximize the environmental, economic, and social benefits of parks. By building strong partnerships, agencies can improve park lands and access to parks, better manage stormwater, increase community resiliency to shifting weather patterns, and provide funding to implement and maintain park enhancements that benefit the community.

Briefing Paper: Impact of Brownfields on Urban Revitalization in California

Every day we witness the devastating effect that brownfields can have on a community’s landscape. The very existence of these derelict properties shrouded in some toxic mystery can have a suffocating effect on the community spirit.

Every one of the estimated 90,000 brownfields in California is a missed opportunity for an affordable housing development, a public park or a commercial complex that most likely will be built elsewhere. Consequently, unrestored brownfields serve only to fuel development on our remaining open landscapes.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Prepared Workbook: Process for Risk Evaluation, Property Analysis and Reuse Decisions

Property acquisition is among the actions that local governments might take to bring about a desired reuse. This could involve retaining the property for some long-term public use, or assuming temporary ownership in order to clear title or otherwise prepare the property for transfer to private developers. Other non-acquisition options — such as leasing, transferring tax liens, or providing incentives — might also be used to facilitate redevelopment.

Design + Remediation Exhibition

The Design +Remediation Online Exhibition compiles a series of international design projects selected for their innovative application of a green solution to prevailing environmental obstacles. Each of these sites of environmental issue was remediated using novel techniques that contained areas of concern within the new site design, thus, eliminating the highly counterproductive process of removal.