The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's Brownfield/Land Reuse Health Initiative helps communities incorporate health considerations in land reuse decisions. People can turn vacant or underused land into places that benefit the whole community. ATSDR works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state and local officials, developers, and communities to include health in these types of projects.
Emeryville, California is a small city in the San Francisco Bay Area that faced the challenge of redeveloping partially abandoned and underutilized industrial properties, while protecting environmental and public health. In the early 1970's, it suffered from high crime and unemployment rates, high vacancies of non-residential properties, and perceived extensive groundwater contamination.
There are approximately 120 land banks and land banking programs throughout the nation. Land banks are public authorities or special purpose non-profit organizations created to act as legal and financial conduits to transform, hold, manage, repurpose, and develop vacant, abandoned, tax-foreclosed, and other problem properties that have been discarded or underutilized by the private market.