Vision 3 Goal

Brownfields

Artboard 4

As the city’s need for space grows, we must use our existing stock of land more effectively. Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment represents one of our best opportunities to engage communities and reclaim land for development in the city. It also offers an opportunity to simultaneously benefit the environment, improve the health of our neighborhoods, and attain more equitable and sustainable economic development.

IndicatorNumber of tax lots remediated since January 1, 2014
Latest Data756
(January 2014–March 2018)
Previous Data577
(January 2014–March 2017)

As the city’s need for space grows, we must use our existing stock of land more effectively. Brownfield cleanup and redevelopment represents one of our best opportunities to engage communities and reclaim land for development in the city. It also offers an opportunity to simultaneously benefit the environment, improve the health of our neighborhoods, and attain more equitable and sustainable economic development.

The NYC Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP)—the nation’s only City-run land cleanup program—aims to clean up contaminated land to eliminate exposure to environmental toxins and alleviate social inequality caused by disproportionately high occurrences of brownfields in low-income neighborhoods. Since 2014, this program has continued its impressive growth, becoming one of the largest land cleanup programs in the country. The VCP has facilitated environmental remediation of hundreds of contaminated vacant lots across the city, achieving stringent state standards for land safety, enabling redevelopment and community revitalization, and achieving our OneNYC land cleanup and revitalization goals two years ahead of schedule.


Launching the nation’s first urban clean soil exchange to help protect the environment

In May, the City will launch PURESoil NYC. To lower public exposure to contaminants in shallow urban soil, PURESoil NYC will make locally-sourced clean soil available to nonprofit organizations for use in community settings. The program will also make NYC more resilient to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. PURESoil NYC will utilize the purest soil from the NYC Clean Soil Bank (CSB) and “upcycle” it for these specialized uses. The CSB is the only urban soil exchange in the U.S. It obtains clean native soil excavated from deep below the ground during construction of new buildings and transfers it to other projects in NYC.

Completed land cleanup goal two years ahead of schedule and announced the most aggressive land cleanup and revitalization goal of any city in the world

In OneNYC, we proposed cleaning up and revitalizing 750 tax lots in six years. We have now completed remediation of 756 lots, achieving our goal two years ahead of schedule. These cleanups enabled construction of over 42 million square feet of new building space on properties that were vacant for an average of over ten years. These new buildings have provided over 5,200 new units of affordable housing and supported hundreds of new businesses, creating over 7,000 permanent jobs. Land cleanup has made a profound impact on NYC’s environment. A total of 187 acres have been cleaned up and revitalized so far, involving the removal of over 400 underground storage tanks, cleanup of 100 petroleum spills, and removal and proper disposal of 41,000 tons of hazardous waste.

Having achieved the City’s original OneNYC land cleanup and revitalization goals, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (MOER) has announced 1000×21, the most aggressive land cleanup and revitalization goal of any city in the world. 1000×21 seeks to remediate and redevelop 1,000 lots in NYC by the end of the de Blasio administration in 2021.


Completed land cleanup and revitalization goal to create safe land and build affordable housing for low- and moderate-income communities

Over 50 percent, or 415, of remediated and revitalized lots are located in low- and moderate-income communities and have enabled the City to complete its OneNYC goal of remediating 375 lots in these communities two years ahead of schedule. Cleanup of these properties has yielded safe land for new development and has resulted in the construction and occupancy of over 5,200 new units of affordable and supportive housing throughout the city since 2014. Launched in 2016, MOER’s Vacant Land Jumpstart Program has enabled the enrollment of an additional 12 affordable housing projects, with 1,200 affordable units, in the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program. State cleanup tax credits, made available by participation in the Jumpstart Program, will lower construction costs by approximately $36 million dollars so that these funds can be used to support other affordable housing projects.


Completed cleanup and redevelopment of 119 properties in the coastal flood plain

The City has achieved its OneNYC goal of remediating 119 lots in the coastal flood plain—19 more than proposed in 2014. These cleanups make NYC more resilient to climate change and sea level rise by greatly reducing the risk these properties pose from erosion and pollutant release during future storms. Additionally, MOER has provided nine grants under the Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) program to encourage cleanup in the floodplain. MOER also published a Brownfield Resilience Report to provide guidance to land owners and developers on the best approaches for incorporating resilient and sustainable design into cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated, vacant land in NYC.