BALANCE 4P: Balancing decisions for urban brownfield redevelopment. Technical report of the BALANCE 4P project of the SNOWMAN Network coordinated call IV.
Land take as a result of urbanization is one of the major soil threats in Europe. One of the key measures to prevent further urban sprawl and additional land take, is redevelopment of urban brownfields: underused urban areas with, in many cases, soil and groundwater pollution. The latter issue can be a bottleneck for redevelopment of brownfields instead of green fields. A difficulty for brownfield redevelopments is that in urban projects the responsibilities, tools and knowledge of subsurface engineering and urban planning and design are not integrated; they depend heavily on each other but work in sectors. The urban designer usually deals with opportunities for socio-economic benefits while the subsoil engineer deals with the technical challenges of the site. Balance 4P suggests a holistic approach to brownfield redevelopment that (i) recognizes all phases of the urban redevelopment process which are influenced by the planning conditions set by laws, regulations, policy and institutions; (ii) acknowledges multiple subsurface qualities in the brownfield redevelopment project; (iii) promotes knowledge exchange between the surface and the subsurface sectors, across disciplines within each sector, and over time, about the subsurface qualities of the specific project; (iv) focus on the urban redevelopment project by identifying strategies for redevelopment that can fulfil a good quality of the built environment; (v) assesses the three P’s (People, Planet, Profit/Prosperity) in each urban redevelopment phase; and (vi) puts the Process in focus rather than specific instruments by focusing on identification of WHO should be involved in the knowledge exchange process and HOW it can be mediated. The developed decision support framework is aimed to guide project teams willing to implement a more holistic approach in practice. The framework includes four steps carried out in iterative manner: (1) stakeholder analysis, (2) generation of redevelopment alternatives, (3) sustainability assessment of the alternatives, and (4) synthesis of the assessment results, including uncertainty analysis. The guidance describing the steps in the decision support framework and activities within each step can help to structure the decision process and provide support to project teams. The anticipated advantages of the holistic approach are redevelopment plans that allow for smart, cost-effective and sustainable solutions in the implementation process by making explicit use of subsurface information and knowledge in the planning process, and possibilities for more long-term sustainable planning with regard to the subsurface by increased awareness of the subsurface as a resource and the associated risks and possibilities.