Canadian Urban Institute and Brownfields

My letter to Planning Board elicited a friendly email pointing me to the Canadian Urban Institute, a “non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in urban areas across Canada and internationally.” News to me, and looks like an interesting bunch with which I share a lot in common philosophically.

The Institute’s website led me onwards to Canadian Brownfields 2008, a conference being held in October 2008 in Toronto. What’s a brownfield? Turns out that a word used to describe:

Vacant, abandoned, or underutilized commercial and industrial properties, where real or perceived environmental contamination is an obstacle to redevelopment or utilization. Often the site of old industrial complexes and chemical pollution.

One hint to the organizers of the “CUI Brownies” awards, that “acknowledge the significant strides taken in brownfield redevelopment:” using the phrase “percolating across the country” is probably best avoided in this context. Makes visions of oozing toxic sludge dance in my head.