Investigating sustainable land use: possible implications for brownfield regeneration policy

Tang, Yu-Ting (2011) Investigating sustainable land use: possible implications for brownfield regeneration policy. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Since the publication of the Brundtland Report, ‘sustainable development’ has become a popular yet contested concept among governments, international organisations and the private sector. To implement sustainable development, institutions attaining different objectives interpreted the definition in the Brundtland Report in various ways. These interpretations sometimes contradict each other.

Brownfield land is the legacy of industrialisation and urbanisation. Brownfield regeneration has been considered a tool to rebuild sustainable communities. Similar to the concept of sustainable development, countries define the term brownfield land or ‘brownfields’ in different ways. Therefore, utilising brownfield regeneration to pursue sustainable development became an intricate matter.

This study has developed a framework to define brownfield land to improve the quality of brownfield regeneration policymaking by analysing qualitative and quantitative evidence on the use of land and sustainability.

The analyses of sustainability indexes revealed that the types of strategies applied by countries to achieve sustainability depend on their progress in development and on population density. At the same time, data also showed that the population density of a country influences the ways the term ‘brownfields’ is deinfed in the regenerating policies. Therefore, population density, as an indicator of development density, is a useful differentiator of brownfield definitions in the policies that may or may not lead to the successful regeneration. Furthermore, the concept of development densities may change based on the geographic scales of concern as well as the development of technologies that allow higher development densities without compromising the quality of life.

Taiwan and England are both countries with high population densities. Preserving greenfield land and enhancing social capacities in the countries are important to maintain sustainability. However, the two countries perceive brownfield land at the opposite ends of the spectrum. England sees all previously developed land as brownfield land, while Taiwan considers ‘brownfields’ to be the result of industrial pollution. The textual analysis of parliamentary debate and news reports, in addition to the statistical analyses of land use, showed that neither definition has effectively tackled the issues of preserving greenfield land or improving social equality. In countries with higher development densities, to prevent further destruction of greenfields, and to increase the social capacities, the brownfield definition should help to focus regeneration efforts on the derelict urban land that requires interventions to bring back sustainable communities.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Nathanail, C.P.
Bradshaw, R.P.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 12380
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012 08:53
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 13:42

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