What is a brownfield?

You see them every day. Brownfields are those vacant or underused sites that aren’t being redeveloped because people are afraid they might be contaminated from previous industrial or commercial uses. Some are contaminated, some aren’t. But if banks, developers, or the public are afraid of these sites, or if property owners can’t get loans to reclaim or use them, then they end up neglected.

To help overcome these problems, the New York State Department of State created the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program, which provides financial support for communities that have many brownfields to create local plans for redevelopment.

In 2010, the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center worked with CUP and design studio DoubleTriple to produce a brochure that would explain the state’s program and the local planning process to residents and industry in the neighborhoods around the Newtown Creek. The goal of the planning process was to engage a broad range of stakeholders to participate in shaping a vision for future development that would allow the area’s industries to grow while improving access to the waterfront.

We produced a short, mailable pamphlet that broke down brownfields and the BOA process, and even recounted the area’s industrial history.

Resources & Links

The Newtown Creek Brownfield Opportunity Area is a community-based economic development planning process focused on the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites along Newtown Creek.

The Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center is a nonprofit developer of industrial space.

Riverkeeper is a nonprofit dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of New York City and Hudson Valley residents.

The Newtown Creek Alliance is a community organization dedicated to revitalIzing, restoring, and revealing Newtown Creek.

The New York State Department of State runs the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program, with technIcal assistance provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Funding Support

This project was completed with the assistance of state funds provided through the Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program.


  • CUP
  • Project Lead
  • Christine Gaspar
  • Project Support
  • Anusha Venkataraman
  • Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center
  • Project Coordinators
  • Paul Parkhill, Cassandra Smith
  • DoubleTriple
  • Designer
  • Phillip Niemeyer