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Brownfield Redevelopment versus Greenfield Development: A Private Sector Perspective on the Costs and Risks Associated with Brownfield Redevelopment in the Greater Toronto Area

  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


This paper examines the nature of the economic costs and risks involved in brownfield versus greenfield redevelopment in the Greater Toronto Area (Ontario, Canada) from a private sector perspective, and assesses the potential effectiveness of different policies and programmes designed to attenuate associated costs and risks. Through interviews, case-studies and an analysis of hypothetical development scenarios, it has been found that the perception that brownfield redevelopment is less cost-effective and entails greater risks than greenfield development, on the part of the private sector, is true for industrial projects in the province, but not for residential ones, which were found to be feasible, given the assumptions of the present study. Furthermore, the study has found that the attractiveness of residential brownfield projects can increase considerably with minor policy changes, but that promoting industrial redevelopment will require a more vigorous approach that employs a variety of environmental policy and economic development measures.

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