Integration of the subsurface and the surface sectors for a more holistic approach for sustainable redevelopment of urban brownfields

Jenny Norrman, Yevheniya Volchko, Fransje Hooimeijer, Linda Maring, Jaan-Henrik Kain, Richard Bardos, Steven Broekx, Alistair Beames, Lars Rosén

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a holistic approach to sustainable urban brownfield redevelopment where specific focus is put on the integration of a multitude of subsurface qualities in the early phases of the urban redevelopment process, i.e. in the initiative and plan phases. Achieving sustainability in brownfield redevelopment projects may be constrained by a failure of engagement between two key expert constituencies: urban planners/designers and subsurface engineers, leading to missed opportunities and unintended outcomes in the plan realisation phase. A more integrated approach delivers greater benefits. Three case studies in the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden were used to test different sustainability assessment instruments in terms of the possibility for knowledge exchange between the subsurface and the surface sectors and in terms of cooperative learning among experts and stakeholders. Based on the lessons learned from the case studies, a generic decision process framework is suggested that supports holistic decision making. The suggested framework focuses on stakeholder involvement, communication, knowledge exchange and learning and provides an inventory of instruments that can support these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-889
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1 Sept
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016.This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license


  • Brownfields restoration
  • soft re-use of land
  • options appraisal
  • decision support
  • sustainability assessment
  • sustainability linkages
  • conceptual site models


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