Striving for Environmental Excellence by Controlling Future Brownfields in Africa Specifically for Ethiopia: A Grey Incidence Decision-Making Approach, Mikiale Gebreslase, Yuming Zhu, Naveed Ahmad and Dawit Bekele
Mikiale Gebreslase1, Yuming Zhu2, Naveed Ahmad3, Dawit Bekele4
1, 2, 3 School of Management, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China
4Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Newcastle, Australia
Purpose: The increasing African population and economic growth leading to urbanisation continues to increase the need to redevelop brownfields as a strategy of encouraging sustainable development of cities, in particular in Ethiopia. In the 21st century most African countries have adopted an industry-led economy to support an ever increasing population growth and urbanisation; this involves using a large volume and types of hazardous chemicals. Accidental spills and damping of these chemicals leads to environmental contamination and, subsequently, to brownfields. This research reviewed key dimensions of brownfields definition in developed countries, and recommends a consensus-based pioneer brownfield definition and proposals for brownfield redevelopment guidelines to Ethiopia. In addition, the research highlights the framework based on a grey-incidence decision-making approach to manage brownfields in African countries by taking Ethiopia as a case example. The grey incidence decision-making model integrates multiple factors such as economic, social, environmental, technical and associated risk, and provides an effective decision-making and management tool for environmental practitioners and government agencies.
Design/methodology/approach: questionnaires were used to collect data on terms and definitions of brownfields. The questions were prepared on the basis of currently used definitions developed by a number of developed countries. Moreover, this study utilises a grey incidence decision-making approach to help in management and decision-making for the implementation of brownfield redevelopment projects in the remediated sites.
Findings: Standard definitions and essential guidelines for brownfield redevelopment are proposed for the Ethiopian context. The grey incidence decision-making approach is applied for the evaluation of brownfield redevelopment projects in the remediated sites. The research findings were tested and verified using literature data and survey from major stakeholders. In addition, a framework is proposed to control future brownfields for African countries by taking Ethiopia as a case example.
Originality/value: This research stresses the significance of an urban structure to address sustainable development, and the need to consider redevelopment of brownfields and identify the potential for a specific government policy framework. In addition, the research recommends brownfield redevelopment support from international development programmes. The new research provides the best opportunity for Ethiopia and Africa at large: to devise an urban land policy and create a strategy to contribute social, economic, financial and environmental benefits; provide a foundation to solve environmental issues by involving all major stakeholders, including community citizens, municipalities, environmentalists and government agencies; and serve as guidelines to transform brownfields into greenfields. Focusing on the vision of striving for excellence and developing smart cities, the concrete application of a study framework to manage brownfield problems will help to remove hazardous substances and improve the quality of life. The fair participation of all stakeholders, learning from the lessons of developed countries, and improved urban infrastructure will help Ethiopia and Africa at large.
Keywords: Brownfields, Environment, Contamination, Research Framework, Guidelines, Urbanisation, Sustainable Development, Grey Incidence Decisions.