CCLR’s Announces New Sustainability Showcase Challenge
Feb 23, 2023

CCLR’s Announces New Sustainability Showcase Challenge

Land reuse practitioners are constantly innovating to find, develop and implement new ways to  offset the negative impacts generated during  redevelopment and bring value to communities impacted by brownfields. This work is vitally important as our society grapples with the challenges of climate change, inequality, and environmental destruction and degradation. To celebrate this work, CCLR is proud to announce the Sustainability Showcase Challenge. The Challenge will highlight innovation in land reuse that preserves and supports people, planet and resources.

Why we created the Sustainability Showcase Challenge: 

We wanted to create a platform to share l projects that successfully integrated resource conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem conservation and community protection.  Why reinvent the wheel when others have great stories to share about what has worked on their projects? Solutions should be shared far and wide to extend the benefits. And the innovations that work best should be viewed as best practices. Through the Sustainability Showcase Challenge, we will develop case studies, webinars and conference panels, and resources that share the benefits of the solutions you have found to work.

CCLR’s Tracking of Sustainability:

CCLR has participated in thousands of infill and reuse projects during our 25 years of operation. Every time a property can be remediated and reused, it provides a more sustainable benefit to a community compared to adding to fringe or sprawl growth.  Through our technical assistance, education, and event efforts, CCLR has the opportunity to see first hand what land use practitioners are doing to mitigate climate impacts and protect vulnerable populations. 

How the Challenge will Showcase Sustainability:

First, we surveyed the field to determine what to focus on within the broad  definition of sustainability. We stripped the layers and chose to focus on efforts that address the central tenets of sustainability: environment, people and the economy including climate resiliency and the local communities impacted by reuse. We included every step of the reuse process from planning to build up,  and how sustainability can be integrated throughout the process. The Sustainability Showcase Challenge will review projects on their efforts in our main areas:

Resource conservation: Have you found solutions that reduce use of water, energy or materials during remediation, construction, and end use? Does your project incorporate recycled, reclaimed or living materials? Clean soil banks, reusing demolition materials as fill, and utilizing the amazing cleaning potential of native plants and trees to remove contaminants from the soil all improve sustainability are all examples of resource conservation during the remediation process. Through excellence in design and material use, such as integrating solar, rainwater harvesting, heat pumps, and other efficiency practices, practitioners will continue to conserve resources long after project completion.

Climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience: Projects should consider how to minimize their emissions and air pollutants during the reuse process to reduce environmental impacts. Reducing truck traffic and miles driven can go far to reduce a project’s direct greenhouse gas emissions. Improving walkability, access to transportation, and putting housing near jobs reduce a project’s ongoing emissions, as do solutions that connect communities to innovative transportation solutions such as electric vehicle ride shares.

As extreme weather, drought, and natural disasters continue to grow in severity and frequency, brownfields can provide space for solutions. Open space can also serve as a buffer for flooding. Tree cover can reduce extreme heat. Building design can keep occupants cooler in summer and warmer in winter, further reducing energy-intensive air conditioning and heating use. There are many ways to stack these benefits on top of one another, leading to designs that serve multiple purposes and that solve more than one problem.

Ecosystem and land use conservation: Sprawl is partially a result of a lack of clean, buildable, affordable land closer to jobs and other opportunities. Brownfield redevelopment helps open up more connected sites for development, preserving greenfields. The Sustainability Showcase Challenge will spotlight projects that integrate practices that improve the area. Brownfields themselves can be restored into open space. Native species can be reintroduced, biodiversity supported, and ecosystems rejuvenated, providing recreational and educational opportunities for surrounding communities. Other examples could be: Land swaps, protection agreements and pledges ensure that undeveloped lands stay that way long into the future.

Community Revitalization and Protection: Projects must address the needs of people in order to be sustainable. If projects aren’t developed with strong community input,  they risk deviating from environmental and community revitalization goals.. Communities where redevelopment occurs are at risk of gentrification, or the creation of resources that benefit others, such as jobs they lack training for, or homes they cannot afford. Through community engagement and thoughtful planning, brownfield redevelopment can strengthen and lift up existing residents, planting seeds of revitalization that will extend far into the future.

How to Submit a Project:

Start your submission today! Project information is submitted via our Google form. Before applying, be sure to have all the information for your application ready, including information on solutions, cost facts and funding, and an analysis of benefits, and up to three visuals. Your visuals should be named: SubmitterLastName_ProjectName_Number i.e. Harrison_RiverCommons_1. 

A copy of the form is below for your reference and submission planning.

If you have any questions or need more information contact [email protected]

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