There are various definitions of infill and redevelopment. The American Planning Association describes infill development as redevelopment that, “optimize[s] prior infrastructure investments and consumes less land that is otherwise available…” Infill development and redevelopment can result in:
- Efficient utilization of land resources
- More compact patterns of land use and development
- Reinvestment in areas that are targeted for growth and have existing infrastructure
- More efficient delivery of quality public services
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission offers three definitions of infill, redevelopment, and revitalization. The following is an adaptation of these definitions.
- Infill refers to the development of vacant parcels within previously built areas. These areas are already served by public infrastructure, such as transportation, water, wastewater, and other utilities.
- Redevelopment describes converting an existing built property into another use. Ideally, redevelopment aims for better use of the property that provides an economic return to the community. For example, a vacant property may be converted to a mixed-use development that combines residential and commercial uses.
- Revitalization means instilling new life and vitality into a community through activities such as infill and redevelopment. Revitalization activities may include reusing or renovating buildings, improving building façades, streetscaping to beautify an area, and/or conducting incentive-based or preservation-based economic development tools to leverage local assets.
Infill development can occur on brownfield sites with potential environmental issues like a small isolated parcel with former gas station, on the site of a large, abandoned manufacturing facility, or on a declining commercial-strip mall location, or “greyfield.” This development strategy aims to fill in “gaps” in communities, playing a key role in efficient land-use, community revitalization, and economic development. Infill utilizes existing infrastructure, directs reinvestment to high-priority growth areas, and has the potential to generate jobs. Infill development also provides a smart alternative to sprawling development in undeveloped, greenfield areas that lack infrastructure are not designated for growth.
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