Citizens’ Perspectives on Brownfields Redevelopment Projects

This new research is by Shevon Jean Letang of Montclair State University in New Jersey. The full title of the paper is “Citizens’ Perspectives of Access to the Decision-Making Process as a Factor in Acceptance of Brownfields Redevelopment Projects in Passaic County New Jersey”.

Public controversy concerning public and environmental health risk issues and community access to the decision-making process surrounds brownfields redevelopment in the United States.

Brownfields redevelopment is a smart growth urban policy program initiative mainly intended to revitalize blighted urban cores and produce beneficial outcomes that ultimately enhance citizens’ quality of life.

Traditionally, brownfields projects successes have been highlighted mainly from developers and municipal authorities’ perspectives and exclude “grass roots” peoples’ perspectives.

One hundred and twenty nine citizens residing near three redevelopment projects in three municipalities, responses were analyzed from a survey conducted to determine the relationship between their perspectives of access to the decision-making processes and project acceptance.

Statistical results revealed differences in respondents’ a) perception of access to the decision-making process; b) their acceptance of the projects.

Mostly, respondents did not feel empowered in the decision-making processes. This affected their support of the outcomes. Interviews with local public officials revealed differing perspectives of success from those of the citizens.

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