Brownfield Development Over the Last Several Decades  Essay

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Brownfield Development

Over the last several decades, China has been going through tremendous amounts of economic growth. Since the 1990's, various Chinese cities have seen an increase of 380 million people. While the economy, has expanded by five times as measured in GDP growth. However, the nation has also been experiencing challenges associated with the need for housing and sustainable development. One possible strategy for dealing with these issues is brownfield development. In the United States, this has been shown to be an effective tool for dealing with urban blight and managing growth inside a particular region. ("Urban Sustainability Index")

To determine if this kind of strategy can be effective in China requires measuring possible benefits. This means looking at specific cities in comparison with each other. Once this takes place, is when specific insights will be provided as to how China can deal with future economic development. Over the course of time, these ideas could be implemented as a blue print in addressing growth related issues. ("Urban Sustainability Index")

Current Situation in China

The current situation in China is expected to become worse for the housing market. This is because there is a tremendous amount of migration into urban centers. According to the United Nations and the World Bank, China is expected to see an increase in the population of large cities from 629 million to 1 billion by 2030. To deal with these challenges the government has been supporting programs that are focused on encouraging sustainable development. This is accomplished through maintaining some kind of balance in managing natural resources and the real estate markets. The combination of these factors has created a situation where it appears as if a program could address these issues. Yet, there is also the possibility that these resources could be squandered if not managed effectively. To determine if this approach can work, requires comparing the impact of brownfield development in cities that are embracing these challenges. While at the same time, it is looking at regions that are not utilizing these strategies. ("Urban Sustainability Index")

Moreover, the continuing amounts of economic sprawl are increasing the chances that there will be more brownfields in the future. To adjust with these challenges the government needs to implement an approach that will carefully examine these issues. As a result, there are several different cities that will be compared with each other. These include contrasting Shanghai, Beijing, Shantou and Wuhan. The main reason why these areas were selected is because they have been experiencing the highest levels of economic growth since 1985.

Evidence of this can be seen in the below table which is illustrating the overall amounts of economic growth in these areas.

Table 1: Population Growth of Shanghai, Beijing, Shantou and Wuhan since 1985


Population Increase


9.7 million


6.4 million


3.0 million


4.8 million

("Analysis, Tables and Figures")

These different cities will provide an excellent way of comparing brownfield development with one another. The reason why, is because these regions are experiencing tremendous amounts of population growth and there are programs in some locations Once this takes place, is when we can look at specific ideas that will highlight the effectiveness of these policies.


To determine the impact brownfield development in China requires focusing on supporting or refuting a hypothesis most notably:

The development of brownfields will have the ability to limit the impact of urban sprawl by effectively focusing resources. At the same time, it is reducing crime and limiting urban blight. This ensures that Chinese cities have some kind of effective strategies for dealing with the challenges they are facing.


To focus the research, there will be a concentration on several different research questions to include:

How brownfield development is helping urban centers?

What are the positive and negative impacts of brownfield development throughout the region?

How can this kind of strategy be used by the government to deal with the underlying challenges?

The combination of these factors, will help to support or refute the hypothesis that was presented earlier.

Brownfield Redevelopment in Shanghai, Beijing, Shantou and Wuhan

During the last ten years, China has been receiving tremendous amounts of foreign direct investment capital. This is because the large population base and shifting economy are presenting multinational corporations with the ability to increase their profit margins. As time has went by, the total amounts of funding have increased and then fell to lower levels. This is when the underlying trends have flat lined (which has led to less volatility in the last three years). A good example of this can be by looking at the below table. This is illustrating the total amounts of foreign direct investment capital in China since 2001.

Table 2: Foreign Direct Investment Capital in China since 2001


Foreign Direct Investment Inflows


$26.14 billion


$34.17 billion


$41.08 billion


$43.66 billion


$44.01 billion


$41.48 billion


$37.87 billion


$27.51 billion


$23.43 billion


$27.04 billion

("Foreign Direct Investment in China")

These figures are showing how FDI has spiked and fallen to similar levels as 2001.

As a result, the Chinese government has been supporting programs that are designed to encourage future economic growth. Under this plan, many of the industrial manufacturing centers are being relocated to regions on the outskirts of major cities. This is supposed to reduce congestion and create specific zones for various kinds of daily activities to occur (i.e. residential, commercial and industrial). Many of the areas that are left behind have been developed into locations for residential housing. (Xin)

However, the lack of oversight and inconsistent approach has meant that select brownfield development efforts are occurring on sites that are not safe. What is happening is no efforts were made to ensure that various environmental issues have been dealt with (such as: the dumping of toxic wasted on the site). This is problematic, because it can turn many residential communities into hazardous waste zones (which will have an effect on economic growth). These factors will cause the lack of affordable real estate to remain an elusive goal (leading to higher prices in many urban areas). Once this happens, is when there will be vast disparities in the housing market (which will make it difficult for government officials to address). This means that a consistent approach must be taken, that is focused on dealing with various environmental, safety and growth concerns. (Xin)

Research on Brownfield Development

The city of Shanghai has been aggressively involved in efforts to develop many from industrial brownfields into urban areas. One example where this is taking place can be seen inside the city of Houtan Park. This is 14 acre former industrial site that is in the process of being developed into a middle class residential community. What make this approach so unique is that everyone is taking a different approach when it comes to this development. ("Shanghai Houtan Park")

This is because there has been an emphasis on dealing with the challenges of the site (i.e. flooding from the Huangpu River and contaminated waste). The combination of these factors must be dealt with to ensure that the site can turn into a viable community in the future. The results of this project, is that the strategy is addressing the lingering environmental and physical challenges with the location. ("Shanghai Houtan Park")

This means that in the future, there will be higher levels of price appreciation. While at the same time, this site could be used as a blue print for conducting future development projects throughout China. As a result, this information is illustrating how this type of strategy can be effective in addressing a host challenges related to the location. ("Shanghai Houtan Park")

The Study of Brownfield Redevelopment in Shanghai, Beijing, Shantou and Wuhan

To effectively study the various brownfield redevelopment efforts there will be a focus on what tactics are currently being utilized and its impact. This will be accomplished by examining different government, scholarly and web-based resources (through a process known as qualitative research). This is when actuaries will look at different sources and determine the underlying trends in brownfield development. Once this takes place, is when researchers can provide specific insights as to the impact and the long-term effects of these efforts on specific regions. ("Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research")

To determine what approach is working the best, there will be a focus on the programs that have been introduced for each of the different cities (in comparison with their problems). Those areas that are not concentrating on these efforts, is when there will be an emphasis on how these kinds of growth problems could impact the region (from their lack of economic development). This will serve as foundation for conducting the actual study and understanding what factors are impacting various stakeholders. ("Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research")

The use of Quantitative Tools

To correlate the findings with each other, there will be an independent survey conducted. This will be accomplished by sending…

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