Definition of brownfield in US English:



  • attributive (of an urban site for potential building development) having had previous development on it.

    Compare with greenfield
    • ‘Coun Cuthbertson wrote that his party is committed to maximising the development of brownfield sites in York.’
    • ‘Removal of acres of greenfield sites in areas like Huntington and Haxby, set aside for development by Labour, and the allocation of more brownfield sites for development.’
    • ‘He said: ‘House prices might well remain much the same, but we could see the development of brownfield sites.’’
    • ‘He switched direction in the mid-80s, spotting the potential of brownfield sites for development.’
    • ‘There is too much building on our brownfield sites, especially in Lower Morden.’
    • ‘We would prefer to see in-fill development on brownfield sites rather than building on our precious green belt.’
    • ‘A house building firm which specialises in the development of brownfield sites is expecting to create more than 40 new jobs on the back of a 50 per cent growth in turnover.’
    • ‘We have enough development on brownfield sites to meet our housing targets.’
    • ‘Three-quarters of these would be built on brownfield sites - previously developed land or conversions of mills.’
    • ‘A house building firm was praised for its development of brownfield sites at the official opening of its new offices.’
    • ‘The city council is currently undergoing a review of parts of the UDP following new government guidelines surrounding previously developed, brownfield sites.’
    • ‘And instead of greenfield sites, which are supposed to be officially protected, being targeted to add to existing urban sprawl, new development should focus on brownfield sites in order to spur the renewal process.’
    • ‘On the contrary, we strongly support residential development on brownfield sites like Whitley Street, helping to protect open countryside and revitalise our towns.’
    • ‘The Government's preference for the use of urban and brownfield land for housing development must not be at the expense of other employment and economic objectives of the Plan.’
    • ‘However, given the lengthy plan period ahead, in my opinion, it is too early to rule out the small shortfall being met by development on brownfield land within the urban area.’
    • ‘He agreed a restriction under the draft local plan, which allows only limited housing development on brownfield sites outside the framework boundary, is expected to be deleted from the plan in October.’
    • ‘According to new figures, only 48 per cent of new housing developments were built on brownfield sites between 1998 and 2001.’
    • ‘He was there to see the 86-acre brownfield development site - York Central - in his role as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.’
    • ‘Government guidance encourages the development of previously used or brownfield land and infill urban sites such as back gardens and parking lots before development on open or greenfield land.’
    • ‘‘The government encourages more building on brownfield sites but it's getting to the point where we're building on the majority of them,’ she adds.’


  • A former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination.

    • ‘Also during Whitman's tenure, Congress approved legislation to reclaim abandoned, polluted land known as brownfields, a victory since the law had been in the works for almost 10 years.’
    • ‘The government's approach to military brownfields has advantages over its civilian counterpart, says James Kovalcik, CH2M Hill's vice president of BRAC programs.’
    • ‘The least expensive land houses the neighborhoods of the lowest income populations and sits next to brownfields.’
    • ‘The restoration of these sites, called brownfields, to an environmentally acceptable state must conform to rigid federal and state standards.’
    • ‘‘Some brownfields are industrial sites and are still polluted’ says Lovaas.’
    • ‘The Sierra Club strongly supports restoring brownfields to productivity, generally new industrial and commercial uses.’
    • ‘To redirect private investment into cities and older suburbs, we need to provide sufficient funds to clean up toxic urban brownfields.’
    • ‘Today these former industrial sites, known as brownfields, cover much of the northern half of the area.’
    • ‘Most investors shy away from brownfields because environmental laws assign liability to a broad range of parties, including the present owner.’
    • ‘‘Many communities are converting landfills, brownfields, quarries and abandoned rail yards, mines and other degraded sites into golf courses,’ Morrish said.’
    • ‘Typical habitats demanding reconstruction are landfills, leveed salt ponds, brownfields, or mine wastes.’
    • ‘Since it was created 11 years ago, the city's New Homes program has released deeds to about 1,600 vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties, including brownfields.’
    • ‘Remediation normally involves the same contaminants as are found on military bases, but brownfields usually are smaller and permitting and funding are often handled at the state or local level.’
    • ‘A panel further explored the complexities of building on brownfields in general and at the rail yard in particular.’
    • ‘Scarred brownfields and littered lots are undergoing verdant transformations, providing healing space for humans and habitat for wildlife.’
    • ‘To its credit, New Jersey started cleaning up its brownfields and preparing its transportation infrastructure years ago to attract overflow from Wall Street.’
    • ‘The president is spending up to $250 million a year to clean up brownfields, those abandoned industrial sites blighting our cities.’
    • ‘The problem of brownfields is pervasive and affects cities of every size.’
    • ‘On the commercial side, brownfields have also drawn some attention from the Washington Group.’
    • ‘Yes, he preserved much land, cleaned many brownfields, and set stronger standards for air and water quality.’