Brownfield Redevelopment: New Interdiciplinary Challenges

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In the Federal Republic of Germany, 120 hectares of land are 'consumed' daily (84 hectares in the old, 36 hectares in the new federal states) for settlement and traffic; 50% of these areas are sealed at this (Statistical Federal Office, according to Department of the Environment 1998). The high land consumption results from the economic structural change and the expansion of urbane centers. This will increase furthermore also within the next few years in all Europe. At present, those industrial areas in Europe which are affected by the structural change in the coal and steel industry make the greatest share in derelict land. Military conversion areas have joined recently in Germany (withdrawal of troops of the Allied forces).

While on the one hand new trade and residential areas are planned on the 'green meadow' (a kind of area resources entropy), the share of unused traffic, trade, and industry areas is increasing. A solution concept to the reduction of the land consumption and protection of essential area resources is a consistent recycling of derelict land (also called brownfield redevelopment). „Land“ as a resource will be conserved and the land consumption reduced, already existing infrastructure can be re-used.

In practice brownfield redevelopment is still unstructured, concerning individual, not transferable cases, and handicapped by numerous hindrances, which represent cost and liability risks for the investor. Brownfield redevelopment is synonymous for a whole row of working steps. These begin with the preparation of the construction site of a property and end up with the successful marketing and changed use. It touches upon a number of different subjects and legal aspects and is a new interdisciplinary challenge, for the practice and science (as well as for teaching and training). It is important to design instruments for the re-use of sites in a quick and practical way, so the cooperation of a multitude of professional disciplines is demanded: architecture, planning, engineering, sciences, law, insurances, financing.

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