Blight Revitalization Initiative for Green, Healthy Towns

ELI’s Blight Revitalization Initiative for Green, Healthy Towns (BRIGHT) identifies corridors of blighted, vacant, and environmentally-impaired properties in overburdened communities and supports the community and municipality in developing a revitalization plan. Combining community-level engagement with organizational and financial support from the private sector, government, and NGOs, BRIGHT catalyzes:

  • Environmental Justice
  • Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Climate Resilience

To support communities in their redevelopment efforts, ELI provides:

  • Technical and legal expertise
  • Best practices and information sharing
  • A framework for planning & cooperation
  • Cross-sector connections through ELI’s network

New! The BRIGHT Guide

The BRIGHT Guide is a living guide for readers to assist in their creation and execution of a corridor project. EPA defines a corridor project as a community-driven area-wide plan for communities dealing with legacy pollution and other environmental justice issues. 

Based on a survey of EPA’s Area-Wide Planning Grants and other corridor redevelopment projects, this document:

  • Articulates the rationale for targeting brownfield redevelopment as an engine of environmental justice and sustainable development;
  • Analyzes projects that have successfully brought environmental justice and economic opportunity to overburdened communities;
  • Identifies barriers and challenges that have kept other projects from accomplishing these objectives;
  • Suggests an array of end-uses that can bring numerous and lasting benefits, while providing criteria to help communities select the best use for their own area-wide plan;
  • Highlights the unique challenges faced by community, government, and private developers, in order to lay the groundwork for lasting cooperation;
  • Integrates these insights into a step-by-step manual for community groups and municipalities to coordinate and execute corridor redevelopment projects.

The purpose of the The BRIGHT Guide is to encourage communities to develop and execute corridor projects in their neighborhoods to produce positive health, ecological, and economic outcomes. Many American communities have suffered from blight, divestment, brownfields, and extreme weather; area-wide planning works to solve or ameliorate the risks of all of the various challenges that these communities face. By emphasizing race-conscious, anti-gentrification practices, the Guide reframes brownfield revitalization as a source of equitable and sustainable development.

The BRIGHT Guide is composed of 8 chapters. The first chapter introduces BRIGHT and outlines the purpose of the Guide. The following 5 chapters walk through the major steps of area-wide planning. Chapter 7 comprises relevant case studies for communities to learn from and Chapter 8 is a catch-all of resources, references, and tools to support communities in the development of their own corridor projects. 

The 5 chapters outlining the major steps of area-wide planning are listed below:

  1. Stakeholder Management – explains the process of stakeholder identification, engagement, and conflict management
  2. Corridor Project Mapping – introduces a step-by-step method of identifying the project area, sites of interest, and tools to help visualize how these relate to one another  
  3. End Uses – provides examples of sustainable end uses and discusses how they can be incorporated into a community’s Area-Wide Plan  
  4. Brownfield Revitalization – outlines the brownfield identification and remediation process
  5. Project Funding – details the various funding opportunities that communities can pursue for their Area-Wide Plans

As a live document, BRIGHT actively pursues best practices in area-wide planning and encourages the broader community of lawyers, practitioners, academics, and concerned citizens to share new information and resources as they become available. Please send us relevant information at   

Pilot Redevelopment Project in Washington D.C.’s Ward 7

In addition to the BRIGHT Guide, ELI supported a pilot revitalization project in Washington D.C.’s Ward 7 along the Watts Branch tributary to the Anacostia River. The proposed project area, with a population of roughly 10,000, suffers from higher rates of unemployment and poverty than the rest of the District. In addition, approximately 50 blighted or vacant properties in the area pose environmental health risks to the community.

The Watts Branch project attempted to address the community’s desire for environmental remediation, green space, watershed management, climate resiliency, public health amenities, affordable and efficient housing, and employment opportunities.

ELI’s partners on the Watts Branch Pilot Project included:

  • The Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative
  • The Anacostia Waterfront Trust
  • Groundwork Anacostia
  • Sustainable Capital Advisors
  • Holland & Knight LLP
  • Urban Waters Federal Partnership
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • GRID Alternatives

Other Area-Wide Plans 

BRIGHT also supports the development of additional area-wide plans in Whitesburg, Kentucky, Washington, D.C., as well as St. Louis, Detroit and New Orleans.

If you are a community group or municipality interested in area-wide plans and resilient corridors, or have experience with organizing or executing area-wide plans, please contact us at


Meet Scott Badenoch, Director of the BRIGHT Program.