Challenge Of Brownfields: Regenerating Industrial Landscapes Requires
2, 2000 -- A national movement is under way, combining
the best efforts of communities, businesses and government, to clean
up and reclaim the country's numerous pollution-scarred landscapes
known as brownfields. These former industrial sites, often in poor
areas, present complicated challenges and usually aren't toxic enough
to receive massive federal aid. A varied group of University of
Virginia faculty members, all affiliated with its environmentally-conscious
School of Architecture, are closely involved with this national
effort. Each site has its own history, problems and solutions, they
point out. But a new public-private partnership is emerging, and
today brownfield sites are even being looked at as community resources,
the U.Va. experts say. The sites can combine the memory of the past
and the dreams for the future of the community.
Architect Julie Bargmann and a New Kind of Vision
alternatives to the traditional cosmetic methods of "cap, cover,
hog and haul" which have been the standard ways of dealing
with contaminated landscapes, landscape architect Julie Bargmann
is working with engineers and scientists, using emerging technologies
such as phytoremediation (using plants that take up heavy metals
into their bodies) and bioremediation (soil washing and soil flushing)
in the design of earthen and planted forms. Her methods take into
consideration the constant evolutionary flux of the landscape. Today
toxic brownfield sites are being looked at as resources.
has worked on and studied brownfield sites in Virginia, Pennsylvania,
Wyoming and Michigan. She uses an "integrated holistic"
approach to the design and ecology of reclaiming polluted land and
waterways. This semester her students are studying design solutions
for a polluted manufacturing site in Front Royal, Va. "Given
the complex layers of industrial sites, I realize that I am giving
myself and my students a tough assignment," Bargmann
"Imagine what the place was, and what it could be. Understand
the industrial processes and
remediation technologies. Scale over bureaucratic fences while fighting
for design intentions. Invent a landscape for which there are hardly
any precedents. In short, take a pile of contaminated dirt, figure
it out, then make something with it."
more information or interviews contact Julie Bargmann at (804) 924-6465.
Institute for Sustainable Design
Institute for Sustainable Design is currently collaborating on developing
regulations for reclaiming land destroyed by mountaintop mining
in West Virginia. Diane M. Dale, director of the institute, is working
on the legal issues with a team of soil scientists, geologists,
hydrologists, civil and mining engineers to ensure new homesteading
regulations will reestablish the lands biodiversity and make
these sites suitable for people to live on. "Demonstrating the value
of applied academic research in moving the state of brownfield issues
forward is integral to the goals of the Institute," Dale said.
Institute for Sustainable Design was created by architecture professor
William McDonough, one of the nations leading environmental
visionaries and former dean of the school of architecture, to create
viable alternatives to conventional design and practices. He advocates
innovative design approaches and restorative action based on principles
of sustainability that recognize the interdependence of ecology,
equity, and economy.
more information or interviews contact Diane Dale at (804) 924-6454.
Institute for Environmental Negotiation
important component in the remediation of a contaminated site is
the community. Often the community is at odds about the degree and
kinds of contamination, the goals for reclaiming the site and the
procedures necessary to return the land to an economic and environmentally
viable state. Frank Dukes, associate director of U.Va.s Institute
for Environmental Negotiation, works with communities as an impartial
environmental dispute resolution specialist. With a "Just-In-Time"
grant through the EPAs Brownfields Economic Redevelopment
Initiative, he is currently working with the town of Shenandoah,
Va., in a national pilot program to envision future needs and uses
for the Big Gem Brownfield project, an iron furnace that was in
operation until 1910 in the center of the town.
more information contact Frank Dukes at (804) 924-2041.
Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298