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150,000 ha

of industrial brownfields in France

16,000 to 60,000 ha

of land developed in France every year

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The challenge

Population increases lead cities to mutate, becoming denser to accommodate more people. But space to build is becoming increasingly scarce, so the creation of new living areas — housing, offices or urban parks — has become a challenge. The scarce land available is often located on old industrial brownfields, which are sometimes polluted. It then seems simpler to build away from urban centers. This phenomenon, called urban sprawl, has many drawbacks: the remoteness of the workplace and thus the increase in commute times, traffic congestion, pollution, the destruction of natural and agricultural spaces, land take threatening fauna and flora, etc. In this context, utilizing brownfields more effectively becomes a social, economic and environmental challenge.

The solution

In close collaboration with ADEME, the French agency for ecological transition, and Efficacity, Arcadis has developed a tool called BENEFRICHES to help communities and land development stakeholders make the right decisions on urban planning and take a more sustainable approach to their projects.

Freely accessible on the ADEME website and tested by several project developers, BENEFRICHES makes it possible to evaluate and monetize the socio-economic benefits of redeveloping brownfields, which have had little to no consideration in land development operations until now. A simulator allows them to compare the impact of different project scenarios. For example, if a city wants to construct 400 houses, BENEFRICHES allows it to measure the social, economic and environmental impact if it chooses to build on a brownfield or on farmland. If the same city has a brownfield, the tool allows it to better understand the impact of two different projects on the same land and to learn whether it is better to choose, for example, a housing project or a landscaped park project.

BENEFRICHES combines Arcadis' socio-economic and environmental expertise to support the redevelopment of brownfields.

The impact

BENEFRICHES helps inform decision-makers so that urban development decisions are to the benefit of cities (landowners), residents and the planet.

The redevelopment of brownfields helps increase the attractiveness of a neighborhood and improve the living environment of its residents. As well as optimizing available land, the neighborhood's land valuation is improved.

Redeveloping a brownfield site also helps curb land take and biodiversity destruction, as well as reduce journey times, road traffic and greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban sprawl.

Used capabilities

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