BALANCE 4P: Balancing decisions for urban brownfield redevelopment – case studies. Case study report of the BALANCE 4P project of the SNOWMAN Network coordinated call IV.
This report presents three case studies from the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders) and Sweden, i.e. Merwevierhavens, Alvat and Fixfabriken respectively. The case studies were carried out to explore the possibilities for inclusion of subsurface and sustainability assessments in early planning phases of the brownfield redevelopment process. Stakeholder analysis and the System Exploration Environment and Subsurface (SEES) method were used (i) to identify relevant stakeholders, including subsurface experts, and (ii) to generate redevelopment alternatives with their help in workshop settings and individual consultations. Further, sustainability assessments of the redevelopment alternatives were performed using a number of instruments covering a wide range of sustainability aspects. In particular, Multi-Criteria Analyses, Cost-Benefit Analyses and methods for assessment of ecosystem services were used in the Alvat and the Fixfabriken case studies. In addition, a Social Impact Analysis was performed for the Swedish case. In all three countries, available subsurface information is not systematically treated in the planning process due to established planning culture and insufficient support in policy, law and regulation. The SEES methodology provided important insights to planners on potential benefits of including subsurface knowledge in the early planning phases. Examples of lessons learned from the cases are that direct communication and stakeholder interaction is more efficient than documents, and that it is important to take time and to prepare subsurface information in an approachable form. Further, qualitative and semi-quantitative sustainability assessments seems more useful than quantitative ones, because of data availability constraints in early phases of the redevelopment process and thus high uncertainties in the assessment results, but also due to communication aspects. The lessons learned from the cases is an important input for recommendations on a more structured holistic approach for knowledge exchange between subsurface and surface sectors, and for inclusion of subsurface and sustainability assessments in the planning process.