Journal article

Community perception of redevelopment changes and its impact on brownfields redevelopment success

North America

Citizens can be resistant to environmental changes which may be disruptive to their ideology, affections, and rootedness to place. Changes may be even more disruptive if citizens perceive them to occur too rapidly. How communities assess these changes in their neighborhoods is linked to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with initiatives executed. Satisfaction is one mechanism by which individuals respond to environmental and social changes because it embodies judgmental and cognitive processes in how they assess policies that affect their well being. This research purports that citizens’ acceptance of brownfields redevelopment is related to their perception of community improvements.

This research therefore uses public satisfaction as a measure in assessing the perception of success of three brownfield redevelopment projects in Passaic County New Jersey. Their perception of satisfaction results after they have objectively assessed attributes of their social and physical environment. This research uses a variety of quantitative tools with supporting qualitative documentation to explain the effects that the community changes have on the neighborhoods’ perceived success of the redevelopment projects. A survey of 129 respondents residing near three brownfields redevelopment projects in three municipalities in Passaic County New Jersey was conducted. The purpose was to discover the relationship between changes in the built environment and social neighborhood and the level of acceptance or satisfaction with the redevelopment project. Affected citizens’ sentiment of what is valued in a prospective and actual redevelopment exercise was sought. To complement the respondents’ ‘observed changes’ public officials, were questioned and Council Minutes were reviewed in each municipality. Minutes dated from before to after the redevelopments and also newspaper reports were perused for mention of any changes that could be attributed to the redevelopments. The results of this survey indicate that citizens regard improvements in the built environment as well as the social environment as highly significant criteria in evaluating brownfields redevelopment beneficial use. Citizens have high expectations from these brownfield redevelopment projects and tend to be more responsive and supportive when more than one observed positive and less negative changes in the built environment were observed. Brownsfield redevelopment projects received ratings that are more positive when the end use is consistent with citizens’ values and lifestyles and not detract from it. Therefore, this research gives insight to policy makers of how this policy is impacting neighborhoods and to provide guidance to assess how they are progressing towards achieving a major brownfields sustainable goal which is improvement in citizens’ quality of life. 

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