Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Brownfield and Land Revitalization

Environmental policies combined with community development strategies can reduce environmental, public health, and financial risks by encouraging safe reuse of brownfields instead of the conversion of undeveloped land.

Policy Overview

The public sector plays a critical role as a catalyst in projects involving site assessment and cleanup. Providing grant and technical resources to communities, local or regional governments, and their community partners can jump-start the site assessment and cleanup process. Public support that covers community involvement and assessment and seeds cleanup costs makes brownfield properties more economically competitive when compared to using greenfields. A range of policies and programs are in place to achieve these goals. Targeted grants can provide vital up-front resources to pay for critical activities such as site assessment, remediation, demolition, or property preparation that can be furthered through tax incentives that reimburse developer assessment, cleanup, and other costs. A range of private, nonprofit/quasi-public, and public sector institutions lend money for specific site cleanup activities, including construction and improvement. All these approaches can enhance project financing, to make it easier for developers to address site cleanup capital needs.

How to Apply this Policy

Brownfield, land revitalization, and sustainability policy implementation by federal, state, and local governments takes various forms, depending on the policy approach and goal. Typically, brownfield grants are made to public or nonprofit partners. Other types of federal funding, like that for community development or housing improvements, can take different forms-such as block (or formula) grants based on statutory criteria or project grants for specific activities. Brownfield grant funds, such as assessment or cleanup, can complement these other investments. In addition to the property-specific assessment and cleanup, the U.S. EPA funds other organizations to provide general and targeted assistance to communities. Technical assistance can help fit site-specific work into a community or regional planning context. It can help communities forge partnerships with State or Tribal environmental, health, community development, or other organizations engaged in sustainable redevelopment needed to help them realize their vision. To provide technical support and assistance, public agencies may wish to support academic or other community organizations that provide technical assistance, providing a broader capacity base for sustainability. Tax exemptions and direct loans and loan guarantees can make capital more available (and sometimes more affordable) by reducing risks and supporting redevelopment that can be more environmentally sustainable.

Contact Information
Ann Carroll
Phone: +1 (202) 566-2748

For additional information, please see: for numerous examples of financing incentives in action.