Carnegie Mellon University

Brownfields In My Neighborhood

Brownfields Neighborhood


After students have a good understanding of brownfields and the benefits to the community that can be achieved through redevelopment, they will look at their own neighborhood to determine if any properties may be considered brownfields. This work can be extended to include a look at the historical uses of the land, and the efforts, if any, that are underway to fix the problem.


Many activities will be ongoing through the school year, following the completion of the brownfields activities.

  1. A “Brownfields News” book will be maintained. Students will bring photographs, news articles and other information that they find about brownfields.
  2. A list of local brownfields will be kept and studied. Students will be instructed about the safety issues related to investigating brownfields (i.e. they should not dig up soil that may be contaminated, etc.) but will be encouraged to find out about vacant properties that may pose an environmental hazard for the community. The most likely properties to be studied are vacant gas stations, vehicle repair shops that have gone out of business, and old manufacturing sites. Investigations can include interview of people in the community to learn about the prior use of the land and any attempts that have been made to clean it up. 
  3. Officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, the local Redevelopment Authority, Housing and Urban Development and other agencies can be contacted to learn more about redevelopment of brownfields in the community.