How brownfield sites kill places and people: an examination of neighborhood housing values, foreclosures, and lifespan

John I. Gilderbloom, Wesley L. Meares, William Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study examines the effects of Environmental Protection Agency brownfield sites on housing values, foreclosures, and premature deaths in Louisville, Kentucky, between 2000 and 2008. While previous research has focused on the impacts of brownfield sites on neighborhood housing values, little research has been done on the impact of these hazardous sites on foreclosures and premature deaths. We utilize ordinary least squares regression to analyze the net impact of brownfield sites on neighborhoods. We find a significant association between brownfield sites and lower neighborhood property values, and increased foreclosures and premature deaths. Furthermore, using a case study of Louisville’s East Russell neighborhood, we demonstrate the possible benefits of a brownfield site remediation. Based upon the findings from the regression and the case study, we offer policy prescriptions that help address the fiscal and social costs of brownfield sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Urbanism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2016



  • community development
  • housing
  • neighborhood values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

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