German-American Conference Introduces New Solutions for Redevelopment of Brownfields

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the US EPA:

German-American Conference Introduces New Solutions for Redevelopment of Brownfields. Experts from Germany and the U.S. meet from the 18th to the 19th of April in Berlin. Further cooperation planned.

Berlin/Germany. The revitalization of derelict industrial properties - brownfields have been given relatively high political attention in both Germany and the U.S. By finding new uses for brownfields properties a variety of environmental, social, urban planning, and economic challenges can be confronted. An emphasis on redeveloping brownfields sites is a high priority in Germany, as demonstrated in the Federal Government's National Sustainability Strategy, which aims to reduce the loss of open space nation-wide from 93 hectares to 30 hectares per day by the year 2020. An important role in meeting these goals will be played by the local authorities and practitioners and their influence over 130,000 hectares.

At a two-day conference in Berlin, a variety of international experts will meet to discuss the results of a several previously organized workshops that have taken place on the subject of sustainable brownfields redevelopment. The workshop will conclude with a panel discussion of participating ministries, cities, and private sector representatives. Practical applications of new instruments will be discussed. The conference has been organized by the German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu) and the University of Stuttgart, VEGAS, Research Facility for Subsurface Remediation. The second day of the meeting will emphasize the newly developed brownfields tool "Sustainable Preservation to Brownfields Recycling."

The second day of the meeting will emphasize the newly developed brownfields tool "Sustainable Preservation to Brownfields Recycling." This theme was the focus of a joint research effort "Keys to Sustainable Brownfields Recycling," that was worked out together by the US EPA and the Federal Ministry of Research and Cooperation. The contents and structure of the results of the first applied tests from previous collaboration will be shared.

A German-American team will present at the conference two new instruments for sustainable brownfields development:

- a Brownfields Guide and Start-up-Plan "Brownfields" for the Federal Republic, and

- SMARTe for the US brownfields practitioners (SMART = Sustainable Management Approaches and Redevelopment Tools).

These newly developed tools will be immediately presented by the particpating practitioners and touch on the planning, economic, social, and ecological aspects of redevelopment. Experiences from model sites in Germany and the U.S. were incorporated into the Start-up-Guidance. A close covering to the practice of revitalization was achieved by model sites at Leipzig, Duisburg, Saarbruecken, Lennestadt and the region around Freiburg.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the US EPA want to continue their successful cooperation in the area of sustainable brownfields redevelopment. On the German side, the bilateral cooperation will be linked to the "National research program for the sustainable land use (REFINA)". Further cooperation and exchanges with Americans are planned. Common interests of both parties are the continuation of work on sustainable brownfields redevelopment under variable framework conditions and goals, as well as redevelopment in a regional context, and conversion of brownfields into attractive open spaces.

Background information concerning the new tools

Start-Up-Plan Brachflaeche:

The German Start-Up-Guidance bundles know-how for successful and sustainable brownfield redevelopment. It supports the parties involved in brownfields projects in the preparation of development concepts and describes the interplay between the planning, economic, social and ecological aspects of brownfields revitalization. The Start-Up-Guidance makes it possible to create a Start-Up-Plan, a target-group specific, integrated project and business plan tailored to a specific brownfield. Start-Up-Guidance and Start-Up-Plan are addressed to property owners, investors and banks, real estate developers, politicians, residents and other affected parties, municipalities, public authorities, organizations, the scientific community, professionals in the field, and those required to carry out clean-ups. Examples for pilote testings of the tool "Start-Up-Plan" are a former slaughterhouse area in the city of Aachen and the area of a former watch production enterprise at Villingen-Schwenningen.


The US SMARTe is an internet-based decision instrument that allows all parties involved in the redevelopment of a brownfield to develop and test future reuse scenarios. SMARTe bundles broadly based knowledge bases and analysis tools for different components of the brownfield redevelopment such as planning, environmental risk management, economic viability as well as social compatibility and acceptance. In this way, SMARTe is a holistic decision and analysis system that couples the planning- and engineering work on a redevelopment project with public communication and discussion among all of the involved parties.

Notice: translation of main parts by Dale Medearis, US EPA

For further information:

Dipl. Ing. agr. Thomas Preuß

Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik/ German Institute of Urban Affairs

Arbeitsbereich Umwelt und Verkehr/ Section Environment and Transport

Straße des 17. Juni 112

10623 Berlin

Telefon + 49 30 39001-265


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