Land is a finite resource: this is a compelling factor when planning for a more sustainable urban future. Urban brownfield sites present an opportunity for planners to balance land-use development, social change and environmental drivers. Such land associated with disused transportation facilities is of particular interest in urban planning because the areas affected are usually large, accessible, and central. Disused transportation land has the potential to foster the economic development of central urban areas, including the regeneration of inner cities, and to help restrict consumption of greenfield spaces.
This research and the associated Arup report Sustainable regeneration of unused transportation territories: understanding land as a resource (available online at www.arup.com) develops a framework for sustainable regeneration and revitalization of disused transportation land at different scales. Focusing on Europe, the report reviews geographical and temporal trends in land use and, through a series of case studies, considers the importance of transportation brownfield sites for development in cities, and challenges and strategies for the future.
A statistical review of land use, densification of the built environment, and urbanization over time demonstrates the significant impact of urban land use in Europe.
In Europe during the period from 1900 to 2010, the growth of urbanized land was 200%, and the density of the urban population changed by 120%.
Population density in cities is a fundamental factor variable that can be influenced to foster a sustainable development.
De-industrialization has created many brownfield sites across Europe and especially in its cities. There are various types of derelict urban land, with differing soil pollution, perceived pollution, prior use, acreage, location and accessibility.
The re-use of brownfield sites, especially land formerly used for transportation facilities, can present an opportunity for urban regeneration and revitalization without consuming greenfield land.
The Arup report Sustainable regeneration of unused transportation territories: understanding land as a resource can be used to engage mayors and municipalities on the topics of sustainability, master planning and design. The report can be used as a guide for municipalities, public institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) seeking a sustainable perspective for urban renewal approaches and actions at the city scale in Europe.
This research combined diverse subjects and a wide variety of information that can help support the collaborative work of masterplanners, designers and architects involved in development of former transportation sites in urban settings.