The purpose of this project is to display how many Brownfields are within a 10 mile radius of city parks and households in the city of Detroit, Michigan. “A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse, of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.” ( 2016). The reason why the data is spatial is because two of the major industries for GIS is natural resources and health and human services. Brownfields affect public health and they can also cause damage to the environment. Spatial data describes the absolute and relative location of geographic features, it is important to know the location of the number of brownfields in Detroit by city parks and households. The locations of the brownfields in Detroit were determined by the website “”. The locations of the city parks and households were determined by data that was previously uploaded to the ArcGIS software. A GIS is relevant for this kind of project because in order to answer the project’s question of “how many brownfields are within a 10 mile radius of city parks and households”, the location of brownfield sites have to be determined along with the location of city parks and households in the city of Detroit. The benefits of a GIS are the user can map where things are, map quantities, map densities, find what’s inside, find what’s nearby, and map change. The maps will display a visual representation of an area, they will also highlight relationships between elements of that space such as locations, regions, and themes.


Application & Case Studies:

A GIS is used for the project by using the ArcMap and the ArcCatalog application. The ArcMap application is the ArcGIS application for making maps and analyzing data. The ArcCatalog application was used for data management. One of the tools that was used for the project was the ArcToolbox window which contained geoprocessing tools models, and scripts organized in one interface. ArcToolbox was used within the ArcMap application. From the ArcToolbox application the overlay and proximity geoprocessing tools were used for the parks that are located within a 10 mile radius of the brownfield sites. Within the overlay tool the intersect geoprocessing tool was used for the project. Within the proximity tool the buffer tool was used. In order to view and analyze the data for the project four maps were created from the ArcMap application. Within the customize window toolbars option the draw tool was used to make the title for the maps. Within the insert window the legend and north arrow tools were inserted on the maps. The four maps that were created, viewed, and analyzed for the project were the study area, buffer analysis, map overlay analysis, and data display. The study area was the city of Detroit. The study area is a map layer (polygon feature) that defines the study area, it is stored in the geodatabase. The buffer analysis contains the buffer which are the city parks that were located in close proximity to the brownfield sites. The map overlay contains the buffer intersect, symbols for the brownfield sites, parks, and households. The data display contains the summary statistics which were the number of households and the parks that are located within a 10 mile radius of the brownfield sites.


Literary Review

The two sources that were used for the project are Reclaiming brownfields: a comparative analysis of adaptive reuse of contaminated properties and The Brownfield Economic Redevelopment Initiative.  The authors of Reclaiming Brownfields are Richard C. Hula and Laura A. Reese. The reason why Reclaiming Brownfields is relevant to the project is because the explanation of environmental policy is within the book. Knowledge of environmental policy is helpful when considering the cleanup of many brownfield sites throughout the city. The effects of environmental contamination on human health are also explained within the policy explanation section of the book. Also within the policy section the author asks three questions and those are “what do policies look like, what strategies are used to promote redevelopment and what is the role of community preference” (Hula 2012). The most important question in regards to the project is the question about the role of the community preferences, the reason why is because in order for brownfield sites to be cleaned up and redeveloped communities and neighborhoods have to be involved. City parks are seen as outdoor recreational centers in the city. The neighborhood and community play an important role when it comes to the environmental protection of city parks that is why city parks and household data were used in the project.


The other publication that was used for the project was the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative, Proposals Guidelines for Brownfields Cleanup. The Environmental Protection Agency is the author of the document. “The EPA awarded cooperative agreements to states, and political subdivisions (including cities, towns, and counties) to capitalize Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund (BCRLF) pilots. The purpose of the BCRLF is to enable states, and Indian tribes, and political subdivisions to facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties. Financial assistance provided to a BCRLF recipient may be awarded in an amount up to $1,000,000 per eligible entity” (U.S. 2001). The reason why the publication is relevant for the project is because the city of Detroit does have a need for brownfields and economic redevelopment. The background section of the document addresses the issue of brownfield sites across the country. Economic development and the redevelopment of brownfield sites are connected, the reason why is because it will more than likely cost millions of dollars to clean up and redevelop many sites throughout the city, the exact location of which brownfield sites pose the most danger to the community will be helpful when considering a financial budget for the cleanup and redevelopment of the sites. If Detroit ever gets the opportunity to become a recipient of the BCRLF program technology such as ArcGIS will have to be used when considering the location of the sites. The sites that pose the most danger are those located in close proximity to households and parks, the ArcMap and ArcCatalog application will be used for analyzing and viewing this information. Attribute tables within the ArcMap application are useful when viewing the location of the households and parks near the brownfield sites. Also terminology such as environmental policy and economic development procedures are explained in the document, the terminology is helpful when considering the location of brownfield sites for redevelopment and cleanup.


The GIS software is an excellent choice for constructing maps for viewing and analyzing the location of brownfield sites throughout the city of Detroit. Without the software the tasks would be difficult and tedious. The GIS allows you to see whatever you want to see “land features, elevation, weather and climate zones, forests, political boundaries, population density, per capita income, land use, energy consumption, mineral resources, and a thousand other things-in whatever part of the world interest you. GIS lets you search for places that have features you’re interested in, find information about these places, and discover new patterns in the data or observe existing ones” (Law 2013). Applications such as ArcMap and ArcCatalog were used for the project. Geoprocessing tools such as overlay and proximity that are located within the ArcToolbox window were helpful for the creation of buffers, polygon features, and summary statistics. The GIS software creates maps that reveal trends, patterns, and answers that are not easily detected in other data formats.


  1. Brownfields.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 25 July 2016. 
  2.      The Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative: Proposal Guidelines for Brownfields Cleanup. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Solid Waste and Emergency Response, 2001. Web.
  3. Hula, Richard C.. Global Urban Studies : Reclaiming Brownfields : A Comparative Analysis of Adaptive Reuse of Contaminated Properties. Abingdon, GB: Routledge, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 25 July 2016.
  4. Law, Michael, and Amy Collins. Getting to Know ArcGIS. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.