|From:||Richard Hoffman <Rhoffman@urbandevelopment.com>|
|Date:||26 Jan 1998 07:14:35|
|Subject:||Brownfield Benchmark Research|
I am conducting research on brownfields for the Council for Urban Economic Development in D.C. My project is an attempt to develop a methodology for benchmarking brownfield projects and to gather this direct, measurable data for approximately 50-100 sites. I would be grateful for any advice or resources that the members of this newsgroup could provide with respect to the benchmarks I have proposed, efficient ways to collect this data, and sources for more information. Below are my initial thoughts on benchmarking. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, -Rich Hoffman Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED) ******** I have used three categories of benchmarks: 1) economic, 2) environmental and 3) social, while recognizing the overlapping nature of these benefits. Our focus will be on economic benefits. Hopefully, measuring the impacts of brownfield redevelopment will provide economic development practitioners and other decision makers to weigh investments in brownfields with other economic development options. 1) ECONOMIC In this section, I will use traditional tools of quantifying economic development. 1. Public Sector Contribution How much money did the public sector contribute for each component of the project (e.g. site acquisition, remediation*, infrastructure, redevelopment)? What mechanisms were used (e.g. loan guarantees, bond financing, tax increment financing)? 2. Private Sector Contribution How much money did the private sector contribute for each component of the project? How was the funding raised? 3. Leverage of Funds An essential measure is the amount of private funding leveraged by public investment. 4. Jobs Define a "job" as a person who has been employed for at least 6 months in a full-time capacity. a. Quantity For each project, only measure direct jobs, both created or retained. Direct jobs are those that are associated with the project itself. I may also choose to consider indirect jobs when evaluating the aggregate figures. Indirect jobs are those that result from (or spin off from) the direct jobs and private sector investment. Because of the difficulty in obtaining this number, we rely on a standard multiplier. b. Quality Characterize the quality of the jobs by using average salary as a proxy. Derive this figure by obtaining the total payroll and number of employees from each employer. I may also use criteria such as job longevity, turnover, and % of employees above minimum wage. c. Job Attribution Calculate the cost to the public sector of job creation. For this statistic, I will use DIRECT jobs and ALL public funding. I can also calculate jobs created per primary public funder to compare with other studies. 5. Tax base The total cost of the project minus the remediation costs will serve as a proxy for the increase to the local tax base. 2) ENVIRONMENTAL I will use the public and private sector investment in remediation (from data above) as a gauge of the amount of environmental clean up. Our assumption is that the more money spent on clean up, the more remediation is accomplished. I will need to factor the land's end use into this equation to get an accurate picture (e.g. industrial use will not require same amount of remediation as residential). Where available, I will apply an EPA risk measurement (e.g. incidence of cancer/1 million people). Any suggestions for this? Another important measure is the creation of amenities, such as parks. We will discuss this if applicable. 3) SOCIAL One of the benefits of brownfields projects is to serve as a catalyst to distressed communities. While it will be impossible to quantify such vital qualities as a renewed sense of hope and empowerment, the following measures will serve as indicators of these benefits: % of jobs from local residents (we will cull this data from the total jobs statistic above), with a comparison to % of local jobs of a greenfield project if available. >From this data, I may calculate commute cost savings if any supporting studies have been completed (e.g. from the Federal Mass Transit Administration, EPA or Transportation Research Board) to give us insight into the attendant environmental and economic benefits of increased usage of existing infrastructure and avoided highway costs (e.g. accidents, congestion). I will collect demographics data to provide a portrait of the local community in which the project is based and indicate whether these communities are benefitting from the project. Data will include: whether or not the neighborhood is in a specially designated zone (e.g. Enterprise Zone), labor force characteristics such as unemployment rate, population and per capita income; and socioeconomic characteristics such as % below poverty level and % minority. Another social benefit of brownfields projects is to serve as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. Data on tax base improvement, public investment in infrastructure, and indirect jobs created can be a proxy for this measurement, although imperfect because of the difficulty in isolating the impacts of a brownfield project from other economic influences. The percentage of local residents hired for jobs may offer insight into the issue of gentrification and the extent to which the project is helping the local area. 4) GENERAL DATA Finally, I will collect the following information: 1. Location and neighborhood demographics 2. Major players (public, private, and non-profit sectors). I will assess whether the project is driven by the public or private sector. 3. Date project completed and date of survey/data These figures will determine the "measurement window" of each project, a critical number as the benefits of public investment often increase dramatically with time. 4. Description and size of project. 5. Key factors (e.g. new owner signs a covenant not to sue) and gauge of the importance of public sector involvement. Thanks for your help!
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