The environmental legacy of past industrial and agricultural development can simultaneously pose serious threats to human health and impede reuse of contaminated land. The urban landscape around the world is littered with sites contaminated with a variety of toxins produced by past use. Both public and private sector actors are often reluctant to make significant investments in properties that simultaneously pose significant potential human health issues, and may demand complex and very expensive cleanups. The chapters in this volume recognize that land and water contamination are now almost universally acknowledged to be key social, economic, and political issues. How multiple societies have attempted to craft and implement public policy to deal with these issues provides the central focus of the book. The volume is unique in that it provides a global comparative perspective on brownfield policy and examples of its use in a variety of countries.
This volume on brownfields reclamation is a much welcomed scholarly endeavor and an impressive achievement. While much research involving brownfields and urban environmental problems function with imposed definitions and disparate analyses, this research provides a much needed holistic and integrated approach to brownfields specifically, but also the larger urban environmental policy arena in general. Though focused, the major achievement of this exceptional effort is its treatment and placement of urban environmental challenges within a larger context that recognizes and evaluates pollution, people, and place in a comparative and adaptive manner never before done. Such an approach is a major theoretical and practical breakthrough for both scholars and practitioners seeking to assess, evaluate, and resolve urban environmental policy issues. Yet, the greatest triumph of this research is the comparative approach that further underscores the contemporary nature of urban environmental challenges by recognizing that these issues are in fact common across urban areas across the globe. While the international community has recognized our shrinking world across financial, political, and social sectors, this research injects urban environmental policy issue into that global community conversation-a long overdue advance. Hunter Bacot, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA