WIT Press

Drosscapes Or Brownfields? Differing Processes To Bring Redundant Industrial Land, Including Military Sites, Back Into Productive Use


Free (open access)





Page Range

175 - 186




270 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C. M. Clark


‘Drosscapes’: huge areas of waste and wasted land including ex-military land lie abandoned as a result of the socio- and spatio-economic processes of deindustrialization, post-Fordism and technological innovation. The earlier term ‘brownfields’ does not have the dynamic implications of the re(land)scaping of ‘drosscapes’. The helpfulness of the two definitions towards stimulating reuse of redundant military sites is explored in this paper. Since 1990 more than 600,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites, including military sites, have been identified within American cities. It is difficult to quantify brownfields across Europe, where countries have no common legal definition for their redundant industrial land. However, the US can afford to leave a huge proportion of these sites fallow, while European countries, short of land, have a commitment to varying degrees to remediate their brownfields and reuse them, but disposal systems of state land have a major impact on land use outcomes. While free transfer to community interests and tax breaks to facilitate reuse are possible in the US, other countries, such as the UK and Germany, require achievement of the highest price at maximum use value, with consequent effects on new land uses. These contrasts are a product of geography and history, but the US has exemplar transfer processes and fiscal regimes, particularly for its former military sites, which offer useful lessons to other countries. Best practice occurs in Europe, but the lack of local input, recompense and knowledge transfer mechanisms may mean that there is little potential for the collection and transmission of individual sites’ experience into a model national or international process. Experience is drawn from examples on both sides of the Atlantic to demonstrate that the US and Europe have lessons to learn from each other on how to rise to a common challenge: the beneficial reuse of military brownfields. Keywords: drosscape, brownfield, brownfields planning, sustainable development planning.


drosscape, brownfield, brownfields planning, sustainable development planning.