Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Applied sciences, Brownfield sites, Redevelopment


Dr. Edwin Tam




Significant economic, legal and environmental concerns present obstacles to the redevelopment of thousands of brownfields in Canada, which have the potential to stimulate economic growth, community revitalization, and urban renewal. Individually analyzing the threats and opportunities associated with redevelopment of each single site results in spending of significant amounts of resources. To overcome this limitation, the dissertation has developed a methodology for effectively classifying brownfields on the basis of a broad set of factors including contaminants, infrastructure and ecological conditions, revenue opportunities, community pressure and anticipated land uses, so that they can be analyzed categorically. Building on a review of existing classification systems, this dissertation provides a structured means for integrating the objectives of multiple stakeholders (e.g., municipality, developer, regulator, community) in a comprehensive manner. The classification system is designed to be transparent and straightforward and accounts for different redevelopment opportunities. The brownfield sites are evaluated based on attributes of the site and their suitability towards various potential redevelopment opportunities. Even though the system is applicable to all the stakeholders, municipalities are given a special emphasis as they represent a balance among various stakeholders' interests in any brownfield revitalization effort. The applicability of the developed classification is demonstrated using an illustrative example of a site entitled ABC automotive service garage with detailed calculations and flow diagrams. This classification methodology enables the greater understanding of issues specific to different brownfield scenarios, encourages the effective use of policy and resources, demonstrates the tradeoffs and has the potential to serve as an educational and communications tool.