Brownfields Revitalization Anti-Displacement Strategies (BRADS) Program

Brownfields redevelopment can be a holistic tool to promote social justice, environmental quality, and public health, and spur economic activity in overburdened communities that have been disproportionately impacted by historic and on-going discriminatory land use decision-making. A cleaner and healthier environment, higher property values, a bolstered local economy, job creation, sustainable community development, and advances in social equity are just some of the potential benefits of land revitalization and reclamation. However, the outcomes of redevelopment efforts are complex phenomena and require closer investigation. Redevelopment often leads to involuntary displacement of existing residents who do not benefit from the redevelopment, which raises the important question of “Who really benefits from brownfields revitalization?”

Both renters and homeowners with limited financial resources are affected by these changes through rising rents or property taxes, which can lead to involuntary displacement. Compiling observations from multiple communities, it is evident that displacement trends are present in brownfields communities. Anti-displacement strategies can prevent or mitigate the gentrifying and involuntary displacement effects of brownfields redevelopment. Equity-oriented efforts such as zoning practices (elimination of single-family zoning and inclusionary zoning), affordable housing incentives in exchange for public financial support and benefits, cooperative housing and economic models, tenant protections, property tax moratoriums, job training, and community-engaged decision-making are some of the policies that are being implemented.

Through research, technical assistance and outreach, the Brownfields Revitalization Anti-Displacement Strategies (BRADs) Program is a national resource and technical assistance hub that provides guidance and training in developing and applying equity-centered and economically inclusive anti-displacement strategies. Tools and resources will be available through the BRADs website to address displacement and gentrification as part of brownfield redevelopment practices.

The program is funded through a cooperative agreement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) entitled “Minimizing Displacement Resulting from Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup and Reuse” (Ref. Award Number: 84074501).