We examine the spatial and socioeconomic characteristics of a sub-set of brownfields, represented by sites removed from the
CERCLIS (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
and Liability Information System), or Superfund, inventory.
The study area (six Northeastern US states) has a mix of manufacturing,
farming and recreational activities, and is densely populated.
Environmental concerns, including urban sprawl, are
growing. A spatial econometric approach is used. Contrary to
expectation, brownfields are not located predominantly in
minority-dominated urban core areas, at least in the study area
and as far as delisted CERCLIS sites are concerned. Instead, there
is a higher incidence of such sites in urban fringe and low-income
areas, regardless of racial composition. An implication is that existing
remediation activities must be expanded to include areas
not currently targeted by policy makers. Such areas should include,
for example, not just urban core areas but also those facing
urbanization pressures, whether or not they have traditionally
been considered urban. The results should be useful in policy formulation
in the study area and in other areas where local environmental
quality is closely linked to land use decisions, and contribute
to more sustainable land use.