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

The BRIGHT Guide

To facilitate the sharing of best practices in corridor redevelopment, ELI is currently developing the BRIGHT Guide. 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.

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

In addition to the BRIGHT Guide, ELI is supporting 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 addresses 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 include:

  • 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

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.


Meet Scott Badenoch, Director of the BRIGHT Program.