Close up of a person's hand wearing glove planting plant in soil.

Redeveloping Brownfield and Land Reuse Sites to Benefit Communities

ATSDR Is Transforming Communities Across the Nation

Brownfields and land reuse sites are areas that may be contaminated with chemicals from past or current uses. The ATSDR Land Reuse Health Program works with cities, towns, and neighborhoods to help redevelop these sites. We turn them into spaces such as schools, parks, and gardens, protecting residents from dangerous substances and improving public health.

vector graphics of vacant lots and houses, old gas stations, abandoned factories and polluted waterfronts
Vacant lots and houses
Old gas stations
Abandoned factories
Polluted waterfronts
three arrows
vector graphic of new buildings
New buildings

Creating healthy and safe community spaces

vector graphic of gardens
Community gardens

Making it easier to get healthy foods

Parks and trails for walking and biking
Parks and trails for walking and biking

Increasing physical activity and safety

Brownfields Can Harm Your Health

There are over 500,000 brownfields and land reuse sites in the U.S. These sites range in size from less than one acre to thousands of acres. Living near them can lead to health problems.

vector graphic of chemical spill

Environmental damage

vector graphic of a broken down house

Poor housing quality

vector graphic of people in poor air quality

Poor air quality

vector graphic of a chain link fence with a keep out sign

Lack of options for physical activity

vector graphic of a convenience store

Limited access to healthy foods

vector graphic showing a person's lung

Higher risk of disease (like cancer and lung disease) and earlier death

ATSDR Is Helping Communities Rebuild

Our most important job is working directly with community members. We answer questions, provide resources, and stay involved as long as we’re needed.

Brownfields and Reuse Opportunity Working Network volunteers
We form Community Partnerships.

ATSDR and its group of expert volunteers — the Brownfields & Reuse Opportunity Working Network (BROWN) — share knowledge and consult in the field with developers, officials, and others.

Screen shot of ATSDR Action Model Toolkit website.
We create tools and resources.

These materials help people assess the effects of brownfields and land reuse sites, and they allow communities to track their successes during and after redevelopment.

Sawyer Community Alliance receiving grants for improving community health in areas with brownfields and land reuse sites.
We help communities get funding.

ATSDR awards grants for improving community health in areas with brownfields and land reuse sites.

Success Stories
The Land Reuse Health Program has led over 60 projects to improve community health all over the United States. Here are a few examples:
U.S. map showing the locations of the National Brownfields/Land Reuse Health Initiative projects in each state.
Boise, Idaho

Before: Abandoned church formerly used as a meth lab

After: Center for children’s art education

Center for children’s art education in Boise, Idaho
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Before: Abandoned brass factory

After: New school and homes

New school and homes in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Graniteville, South Carolina

Before: Land devastated by a 2005 chlorine spill

After: Community Gardens

Community gardens in Graniteville, South Carolina
Mulberry, Florida

Before: Brownfields in a medically underserved area

After: Community health clinic

Community health clinic in Mulberry, Florida

We’ve also assisted on over 400 other sites — consulting with communities about possible exposures and contamination from brownfields.

Want to make your community healthier and safer by renewing and redeveloping it?

To learn more about the Land Reuse Health Program, visit:
or email us at

View Page In:pdf icon PDF [2M]
Page last reviewed: October 20, 2021