Neptune and Company, Inc. is creating an open-source web-based decision support system for informing brownfields issues. We are building a complete decision analysis tool that encompasses revitalization or land-use strategies, environmental modeling, environmental risk assessment, redevelopment options, economic costs, financing and social costs, and benefits in a holistic system that is intended for all brownfields practitioners. The program is called Site-specific Management and Revitalization Tools—electronic version (SMARTe). SMARTe is being built using only open-source web-based tools, so that any potential users are not encumbered with software licensing issues. We are taking advantage of the unique combination of tools that we have developed (www.gisdt.org) that allows us to combine knowledge bases, expert system technology, statistics and decision analysis tools, and presentation capabilities to provide a truly interactive analysis of brownfields problems. SMARTe will allow users to engage at various levels of complexity depending on their interest. SMARTe takes a holistic approach to decision making for brownfields sites. The software tools that are being used facilitate defensibility, traceability, and transparency. This approach also promotes quality assurance, both through internal testing and through user-supplied feedback on the system. Supporting sustainable re-use is the ultimate goal.
Highlights include the following:
Identification of land-use, redevelopment, and remediation options;
Environmental modeling (inventory, source release, and fate and transport);
Human health and ecological risk assessment;
Economic analysis, which includes market costs associated with redevelopment, including insurance, tax incentives, and the cost of money;
Financing, including public and private sector options from grants to loans;
Social benefits, which require development of tools that can translate potential benefits into market costs;
Ecological benefits, which include revitalizing brownfields in lieu of using more green space; and,
Cost modeling including market (economic), and non-market (political, social, and ecological) costs.