Brownfields redevelopment : voices from the community economic development movement

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Southern New Hampshire University
This was research was undertaken to understand the framing of brownfields redevelopment issues from the point of view of community economic development (CED) practitioners. The research specifically interviewed staff of community development corporations (CDCs), which form part of the larger CED movement. The investigation sought to reveal why CDC staff consider brownfields as being problematic and to what or to whom they attribute the problem (diagnostic framing), the solutions they offer to the problems (prognostic), and the justification they give for calling to action the redevelopment of brownfields (motivational framing). Essentially the research sought to understand the collective action frame that community development corporations (CDCs) do or do not articulate with respect to the redevelopment of brownfields, by analyzing views expressed by various CDC staff that participated in the interviews. Understanding CED practitioners' perceptions is fundamental to the practice of CED and to the process of influencing policies that will support the CED practice. CED is an important link of social and economic development and one of the ways the practices can begin to effect change in society is through making its values explicit. This research contributes towards this goal. The major findings of the research are that CDCs as organizations are motivated to redeveloping brownfields so as to achieve the following goals: affordable housing; neighborhood revitalization; to mitigate against safety, crime and drug issues; and to address health concerns. But there was little consistency in patterns to suggest that CED practitioners were actively engaged in recruiting adherents, constituents, bystander publics, or antagonists to get involved in the redevelopment of brownfields. (Author abstract)