Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Abstract: Brownfields/Benefits Session

Title: Restorative Environmental Justice: Assessing Brownfield Initiatives, Revitalization, And Community Economic Development In St. Petersburg, Florida.

Joseph W. Dorsey, Ph.D.

Abstract: Since the 1970s businesses have been leaving urban areas in order to build on cheaper real estate and/or to cluster in industrial parks. Many of these companies were polluting industries and their departure from previous locations, many times, left behind structures containing pollutants and hazardous waste in storage or in the local soil and water. These abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial or commercial facilities are called “brownfields.” It is likely that residents and wildlife living in close proximity to these contaminated sites may have suffered adverse environmental impacts.

Brownfield initiatives emerged from a movement seeking to reverse the tide of pollution production, inner city decay, and urban sprawl. Through brownfield redevelopment efforts across the nation, cities, such as St. Petersburg, Florida, are being rejuvenated by property owners who are divesting in their environmentally impaired assets and reinvesting in community economic development. Policies created by federal, state, and local governments are being implemented to clean up and recycle thousands of acres of contaminated property, create jobs, prevent pollution, and preserve green space.

Restorative Environmental Justice (REJ) as a concept highlights the ethical value of widening the scope of corporate organizational culture to include residential stakeholders. Restorative Environmental Justice taps into the recovery and re-distributive components of brownfield redevelopment. The notion of Restorative Environmental Justice provides opportunities for corporate decision-makers and public officials to rectify or ameliorate situations that disenfranchised or harmed particular communities in the past by investing in community redevelopment areas (CRAs).

This research paper will assess the current status of brownfield initiatives, urban revitalization, and community economic development in St. Petersburg, Florida as a case study with environmental policy implications for the State of Florida. Factors to be discussed include investments in enterprise zones, community redevelopment areas, new jobs, affordable housing, property ownership, the redistribution of resources to the poor, and raising the standard of living and the quality of life in disadvantaged neighborhoods in order to achieve some level of “restorative environmental justice.”

Joseph Bruss Developed Session

No comments: