All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robert W Peters

Advisory Committee Members

Nicole Barclay

Fouad H Fouad

Russell J Fricano

Kris Wernstedt

Tingting Wu

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering

Abstract

The primary research objective is investigating the extent of citizen participation decision-making in the brownfield redevelopments in Birmingham, Alabama’s downtown revitalization to develop best practices for brownfield redevelopment collaboration. The technical literature affirms the need for citizen participation in project decision-making processes. Limited literature exists on how to best evaluate and incorporate participatory activities in brownfield redevelopments. This research adds to the literature, filling this gap by utilizing Arnstein’s ladder as an evaluative framework to quantify public participation in practice. It is important to understand how the extent of public participation in project decision-making may promote or hinder brownfield redevelopment. Using case study mixed methods methodology, participatory activities were evaluated of brownfield redevelopments located in Birmingham, Alabama. Based on defined criteria, three brownfield projects were selected for the research study. These cases were assessed using semi-structured interviews and surveys, and utilizing Arnstein’s ladder of participation as an evaluative framework of stakeholders’ perspectives and targeted participatory indicators of the brownfield redevelopment. Primary data were analyzed from semi-structured interviews and surveys collected from stakeholders that were involved in the redevelopments. Stakeholders consisted of citizens, public officials, and developers. Secondary data sources included review of literature, historical meeting records, newspaper articles, and the internet. In the research findings, directly addressing the needs of the public/citizens, listening to the community, and actively engaging citizen stakeholders in their environment were likely linked to meaningful brownfield redevelopment participation. Survey results strongly suggest that perceived meaningful decision-making amongst stakeholders vary and a commitment of listening to what the ‘community’ needs may lead to positive redevelopment outcomes. The perceptions of empowerment were significantly different between stakeholder categories. Citizen and public official stakeholders’ perceptions were found to be p=0.04, whereas, perceptions amongst citizens and developers (p=0.12) and public officials and developers (p=~1.0) were not significant. These results indicate that implementation of meaningful citizen decision-making processes should be clearly under-stood and committed to for participatory synergy amongst stakeholders. Research results of public/citizen involvement in brownfield redevelopments in Birmingham, Alabama could assist with developing brownfield best practices and aid in policy development.

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