The need for urban expansion, coupled with a desire to preserve natural and agricultural areas, is leading public authorities to increase the density of urban areas, either in old districts marked for redevelopment whose history has been lost, or on wasteland.
These run-down, derelict spaces, located in the heart of cities, are often the only land available in an already dense urban fabric. In some brownfield sites, past activities may have contaminated the soil because there were fewer environmental regulations at the time than there are today. Managing the resulting risks is essential for development projects.
BRGM (the French Geological Survey), a specialist in Earth sciences and particularly in studies of soil and subsoil pollution, has developed tools to anticipate these risks and assist urban planning departments in their decision-making and planning.
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Two remediation projects in Marseille and Nantes
BRGM is involved in two major urban renewal operations.
Rebuilding the city on the city: challenges and planning tools
Which types of terrain are potentially problematic on a local or regional scale? How should sites marked for redevelopment be ranked with regard to population exposure? Which selection criteria should your conversion scenario be based on? Is there a way to predict the emergence of wasteland for planning purposes? BRGM answers developers' questions with operational tools and ongoing research projects.
Optimising work during the construction phase through preliminary studies
BRGM has recently developed methods and tools for specifying ways of reusing excavated earth off-site while ensuring the protection of human health and the environment. Not only are these earth recycling solutions more environmentally friendly, they can also reduce financial costs. Reusing excavated materials requires a detailed knowledge of the local soil and geochemical background. It is also a question of matching backfill needs with the supply of excavated material. An earth exchange called TERRASS is available online for this purpose.