NEHA December 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

28 Volume 85 • Number 5 A D VANC EME N T O F T H E SCIENCE Laurel Berman, PhD Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Cezar Morar, PhD University of Oradea, Romania Lloyd DeGrane Lloyd DeGrane Photography Sharon Unkart, PhD National Environmental Health Association Serap Erdal, PhD University of Illinois Chicago Introduction We authors are members of the Brownfields & Reuse Opportunity Working Network (BROWN), a consultative collaboration that provides free assistance related to land reuse and public health concerns (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry [ATSDR], 2020). BROWN was created and is facilitated by the National Land Reuse Health Program within the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 2022). We are also part of the North American European Brownfields Working Group, a special initiative of BROWN. In the U.S., brownfields are defined as property where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse can be complicated by the presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [U.S. EPA], 2022a). While Europe does not have a common definition of brownfields, the concept generally is associated with land contamination (Cobârzan, 2007; Grimski & Ferber, 2001). Brownfields reuse and redevelopment in Europe and the U.S. present many opportunities for community design, reduction of sprawl, taking pressures o— green or undeveloped land, and improving community and environmental health outcomes through safe and sustainable reuse practices and community design. To enhance our collaborative research on brownfields redevelopment practices, regulations, and policies in Europe and the U.S., we examined the nature and type of a number of brownfield case study sites in Romania and the U.S. During the summers of 2018 and 2019, our team toured brownfield sites in both countries. Through our intercontinental collaboration, we intend to broaden the technical and policy knowledge related to brownfields redevelopment and restoration. Further, we plan to disseminate best practices among policy makers and the various stakeholders including developers, regulatory personnel, academicians, and the public. Brownfields in Romania Bucharest Romania is the 12th-largest country in Europe, with a population of approximately 22 million, and is the 6th-most populous member state of the European Union. Our brownfields tour commenced in the capital city of Bucharest. Located in Southern Romania, Bucharest (population of 2,143,132) is the nation’s economic, political, administrative, and cultural center. As shown in Table 1, the city of Bucharest has an unemployment rate of 0.7%, approximately one half that of the country of Romania; employed people make up 45.9% of the population, which is approximately double the percentage of employed people in the country (Romanian National Institute of Statistics, 2020). The development and planning of this urban and densely populated capital city was strongly influenced by various historical periods. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, Bucharest was known as the Little Paris because of its unique and extravagant architecture. During this period, the National Theater, Bucharest Academic Society, Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Bucharest, Grand Hotel du Boulevard, Romanian Athenaeum, and National Bank of Romania were constructed. After World War II, Romania became a communist country. For almost one half a century, industrialization was the most important episode in the economic and political history of the country, aiming to transform the mainly agrarian state in to an industrial one. The city of Bucharest grew rapidly and became the national center of economic production and population growth. In addition to industrial expansion, the communist regime designed large, imposing buildings to project a sense of its power. Many of these buildings Abs t r ac t This third article in a series of three on land reuse describes brownfield sites in Romania and the U.S. In 2018 and 2019, four of the authors toured brownfield areas in Romania (including Bucharest, southern Transylvania, and Oradea) and the U.S. (Southeast Missouri [called the Missouri Bootheel], Northern Arizona and Navajo Nation, and Northwest Indiana). We were interested in similarities and diˆerences among brownfields in various urban and rural settings in both countries. This article describes these sites through a visual perspective as well as site characteristics and commonalities. Ultimately, potentially contaminated or land reuse sites such as brownfields are common in many parts of the world. We hope to advance the understanding of brownfields and site transformation options through our collaboration. Brownfields in Romania and the United States: A Visual Tour  S P E C I A L R E P O R T / I N T E R N AT I O N A L P E R S P E C T I V E S