UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban recycling / reviving : the contribution of brownfield interventions to a more sustainable urban design Belausteguigoitia, Jone


The thesis argues brownfield interventions represent a significant opportunity to contribute to sustainability and quality of life in the city, particularly those located in urban areas. It is rooted in the concern about the presence of derelict and underused sites within urban areas together with the current need for more sustainable urban design and planning. The thesis explores the brownfield challenge in the contemporary post-industrial city and its potential to formulate a more sustainable urban design. With this as a basis it develops an evaluative framework based on the physical analysis of the sites before and after intervention. The application of the framework to four brownfield interventions within the city of Bilbao, a European middle size city with a significant amount of brownfield land, suggests that brownfield interventions - a process of urban recycling- can effectively contribute to reviving the city, with desirable consequences beyond the sites themselves, at a district scale, and to the city as a whole. At the same time, the framework reveals opportunities yet to be achieved in current brownfield intervention practice. The thesis concludes arguing for a new perspective to the brownfield challenge based on the identification of the sites, the evaluation of their potential, and the optimization of the contribution of brownfield interventions to urban sustainability and quality of life. Based on the overall framework, it proposes a series of design recommendations and an evaluation tool to inform design when dealing with interventions on brownfield sites in urban areas.

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