Urban Brownfields Program: Rehabilitating Toxic Industrial Land, New Jersey, USA

A Good Idea


Trenton is one of the nation's poorest cities, with a 2005 poverty rate of 21 percent. The decline of manufacturing in the city left many properties abandoned and contaminated. The state has identified 110 known contaminated sites and 156 underground storage tanks in Trenton. Isles' Urban Brownfields Program, which began in 1995, builds self-sufficiency in the community by helping low-income, minority residents understand and combat environmental degradation in their midst. By highlighting the brownfield challenges facing communities, organizing locally, educating local groups and participating in negotiations, Isles stimulates policies and actions that improve community health such as the redevelopment of vacant land and buildings.

Goal / Mission

Isles, Inc., is a nationally recognized nonprofit community development and environmental organization with the mission to foster more self-reliant families in healthy, sustainable communities. Through their Urban Brownfields program, Isles works to create a deeper understanding of the health and environmental conditions in Trenton.

Results / Accomplishments

Isles received a job training grant from the EPA in 2005 in recognition of their successful track record of working with the city and engaging residents in brownfields redevelopment and environmental health promotion. The most important lesson learned is that by providing community members with technical information and leadership development training, they are empowered to initiate significant systemic changes. Area residents have developed important skills on an individual and group level as a result of their involvement in the project.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Isles, Inc.
10 Wood Street
Trenton, NJ 08618
(609) 341-4700
Environment / Built Environment
Environment / Toxic Chemicals
Health / Environmental & Occupational Health
UN Habitat
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
Trenton, NJ