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PHILADELPHIA-Land recycling has increased 43% this year and is expected to continue to gain momentum, according to a joint study by Exton, PA-based XL Environmental, an environmental insurance provider, and Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council, an association of public and private economic development professionals.

The current study examines news reports of land reuse activities, published between July 2001 and June 2002. The coverage was found to encompass 428 specific land reuse programs involving at least 160,000 acres, or 224 square miles of property in 43 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This compares with 346 projects covering 112,000 acres reported in a similar study the previous year.

Concerns about urban sprawl, job creation and cleaning up polluted properties are giving brownfields redevelopment momentum, according to the report. “National legislation, new financial incentives and more government and public support continue to push land recycling activities to new levels,” the report says.

This year and last, six states – California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – had the highest number of sites under current or planned redevelopment.

Land recycling initiatives are moving beyond industrial use to also include mixed-use, office, residential and cultural/recreational use. Just 21% of the sites identified in this year’s report are being redeveloped for industrial use, compared with 38% in last year’s report.

While communities were found to be increasingly supportive of redevelopment, concerns over health and safety hazards, over-development, use of public funding, and gentrification remain.

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