Vita Nuova has maintained a consistent presence at EPA‘s Brownfields Training Conference since its inception. Last month in Detroit, we contributed to another exceptional conference, leading sessions at Brownfields University and participating in panel discussions and roundtables throughout the week. This unique conference brings together experienced brownfield professionals and newcomers, fostering public-private partnerships and innovation that drive the ongoing revitalization and redevelopment of communities nationwide.
Vita Nuova’s Interactive Workshops: VN spearheaded two educational sessions at Brownfields University. In the first, “Are You ‘Revitalization-Ready?,’” Jim Rocco, Elaine Richardson, and Milton Reed of VN led an interactive workshop with EMS Inc. on collaborative redevelopment processes. Attendees learned how to prepare properties for reuse and assemble brownfields investment packages to attract public and private funding. They also heard from Tim Conder of NorthPoint Development about several exciting projects underway in the greater Detroit area. The second session, “Site Planning and Design – Join Us at the Brownfields Studio!,” featured VN’s Nicole Henderson, EPA’s Aimee Storm, and others discussing the role of planning in brownfield site reuse and addressing key stakeholder concerns in redevelopment projects.
Honoring a Visionary: One of the standout moments of the conference was the recognition of VN member and NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate professor Barry Hersh. At the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR) Leadership Breakfast, Hersh received CCLR’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Thought Leadership award, praised for his pioneering vision in serving as a leading voice for the reuse of contaminated urban land. His illustrious career as a developer, planner, and researcher garnered well-deserved acclaim. A sincere congratulations to Barry!
Navigating the Energy Transition and Exploring New Markets: The conference also featured the hot topic of energy transition. At the CCLR breakfast, VN President Michael Taylor moderated a session exploring how brownfield leaders are adapting to the evolving energy landscape with esteemed panelists, including EPA Special Advisor Jon Grosshans, NorthPoint’s Andy Mace, and AC Power’s Annika Colston.
VN also spearheaded a roundtable titled “Energy Transition and New Markets: Piecing Together the Transformation,” led by VN’s Jim Rocco, EPA’s Jon Grosshans, and DTE Corporation’s Khalil Rahal. This discussion dug into the complexities of navigating the rapidly evolving landscape. It also explored the potential to redevelop coal, petroleum, and chemical sites for renewable energy and related uses.
Strategies for Transforming Neighborhoods: Vita Nuova’s involvement culminated in a dynamic discussion titled “What Does It Take to Rebuild a Neighborhood?” featuring community development experts David Stebbins (VN), Rebecca Gandour (Buffalo Urban Development Corporation), and Jerome Shabazz (Overbrook Environmental Education Center and JASTECH Development Services, Inc.). They shared profound insights into the art of rebuilding neighborhoods, emphasizing strategies to attract investment and drive transformative change in micro-markets and communities.
Recognizing Patricia Overmeyer and EPA’s Brownfields Program Team: No tribute to the success of this conference would be complete without acknowledging Patricia Overmeyer (Deputy Director of EPA’s Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization) and her team. Their unwavering dedication and hard work have been instrumental in shaping the conference’s triumph and the enduring success of the EPA’s Brownfields Program. We eagerly anticipate future conferences and continued collaboration and innovation to ensure the revitalization of communities nationwide.