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Brownfield Redevelopment and Public Health

What are Brownfields?

“Brownfields” are typically commercial or industrial properties that are more difficult to buy, sell and redevelop because of the costs and liabilities associated with potential environmental contamination. Examples of brownfields include former manufacturing facilities, gas stations, dumps, and businesses such as printers or dry cleaners.

Because of Rochester, NY’s rich industrial history, there are many possible Brownfield sites throughout the city. The State of New York supports several programs to help cities and private developers reuse these properties in productive ways. For more information on brownfield programs in the City of Rochester, visit:

Redeveloping Rochester: Brownfields and Public Health

In 2014, the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) teamed up with the City of Rochester to develop a fact sheet on brownfield redevelopment in Rochester and public health. This information is designed to help residents understand how brownfield redevelopment may impact public health and guide residents on how to be involved in the cleanup and redevelopment process.

Redeveloping Rochester: Brownfields and Public Health

Redevelopment and Community Health Toolkit

In 2015,  the COEC developed a Redevelopment and Community Health Toolkit focused on the ongoing and expected brownfields redevelopment projects in several Rochester neighborhoods. Redevelopment is often thought of in terms of “environmental” change, including changes in buildings, businesses, transportation, parks, trails, air and water quality, and land use. The process of redevelopment affects all aspects of community life, and thus can have multiple direct and indirect effects on health. This toolkit was written primarily as a resource for community groups and leaders, who often have questions about innovative ways to promote community health in their neighborhoods throughout these changes. We have collected resources from Rochester and beyond to address some of these questions.

This Toolkit includes materials to help community groups shape redevelopment projects and other changes in their neighborhoods by connecting redevelopment and other plans, projects, and programs to community health. The materials in the Toolkit address housing, jobs, food access, economic security and other topics. In these materials, we provide short summaries of research related to each issue, experiences and examples from other cities, contacts to relevant local resources, and suggestions for community action to promote health.

Redevelopment and Community Health Toolkit