The estimated 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. come in all shapes, sizes and histories. Some are manifested as abandoned buildings and properties contaminated from industrial wastes and building materials, the lingering evidence of a former industrial glory. Others are former commercial properties such as vacated gas stations, dry cleaners and other abandonments. Brownfields can be found in urban, suburban and rural communities.
The U.S. Infrastructure and Jobs Act invests $21 billion in environmental cleanup and remediation programs, aimed to address legacy pollution and contamination, including $1.5 billion specifically for grants and loans within EPA’s brownfields program.
Colette Santasieri leads NJIT’s Technical Assistance to Brownfield Communities program, which provides free technical assistance to state, regional, county, tribal and local government entities and nonprofit organizations interested in learning about, identifying, assessing, cleaning up and redeveloping brownfield sites in EPA Region 2. She also leads the NJ Brownfields Assistance Center @ NJIT which focuses its technical assistance and resources on New Jersey’s brownfields challenged communities.
Cleaning up and redeveloping these properties into community assets is a massive opportunity, one that can catalyze economic development, increase local tax revenue, facilitate job growth, improve social equity, utilize existing infrastructure, take development pressures off undeveloped, open land, and both improve and protect the environment.
Santasieri has led multidisciplinary teams of planners, engineers, scientists, architects, economists, cultural resource experts and students. She has a well-rounded and experience-driven perspective when addressing the challenges and opportunities facing governments, regions and communities in their efforts to be sustainable and resilient.
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Colette Santasieri Executive Director, Center for Community Systems, NJ Brownfields Assistance Center @NJIT, and NJIT Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities Program
Santasieri steers projects, programs and research in environmental, infrastructure, and land-use planning and community revitalization.