Brownfields Conference to Land in Chicago

Brownfields are economic and environmental blights to any community, and the challenge of remedying them is a daunting one. A property is considered to be a brownfield if it is vacant and any redevelopment would be complicated by the presence of contamination, whether real or perceived. That last part is important; the mere perception of hazardous materials is enough to keep many developers from even considering a site.

brownfieldAssuming a firm could look past the blemishes of a brownfield, any actual contaminants on site need to be dealt with thoroughly before any construction can begin. This can be cost-prohibitive, and brownfields therefore tend to stay in a rut of perpetual disuse, perhaps all the while leaching chemicals onto neighboring property or into the groundwater.

Clearly, these sites need to be rectified. Since 2003, the International City/County Management Association and the Environmental Protection Agency have jointly organized the National Brownfields Conference. Their goal is to bring together developers, local government leaders, end-users of redeveloped brownfields sites and investors to discuss the problems surrounding brownfields and come up with some solutions.

This year, Brownfields 2015, will be held in Chicago from September 2-4 at the Hilton Chicago. This conference has grown from a relatively low-key event into the hub of information sharing and networking for a wide variety of topics related to sustainability.

Brownfields 2015 promises something for all levels of stakeholders and practitioners. The heart of the conference is an educational program of speakers, discussions, mobile workshops, a trade show, films and other learning formats that are calibrated to provide attendees with case study examples, program updates and useful strategies for meeting brownfield challenges head on. One highlight of the conference is the Economic Redevelopment Forum (formerly the Brownfields Transaction Forum), which brings together site owners, investors, developers, end-users and state and local economic development officials to lay the groundwork for potential revitalization deal-making.

You can visit www.brownfieldsconference.org to register today.

Image: Sarah Belham

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