Whereas the issue of brownfields has been discussed in developed countries since the 1960s, it came to the fore of interest in the Czech Republic thirty years later, in the 1990s, when the Czech economy transitioned from planned to market. The switch to a market economy and the accompanying wave of privatisation of state-owned enterprises brought about a rising number of abandoned industrial and agricultural complexes, production facilities and warehouses.

Those abandoned buildings and expansive sites, which are frequently located in city centres, represent a fundamental problem for the sustainable development of cities and towns. The costs of revitalising such sites are, in most cases, prohibitively high, exceeding the financial possibilities of the property owners. The properties thus continue to deteriorate and encumber their surroundings.

CzechInvest has long been involved with the issue of brownfields. In cooperation with individual regions, the agency first conducted the Research Study of Brownfields, which identified a total of 2,355 brownfield locations covering a combined area of 10,326 ha, in 2005-2007. A criterion for identifying such sites was that land plots had to be larger than 2 ha with a minimum built-up area of 500 m2.

That study served as the foundation for the National Brownfield Regeneration Strategy. The National Brownfield Database was subsequently created as one of the tools for fulfilling the objectives of the strategy. The latest iteration of the National Brownfield Regeneration Strategy, for the period 2016-2020, defines the medium- and long-term vision and objectives of support for regeneration of brownfields.


CzechInvest and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic: A brownfield is a property (land plot, building, complex) that is underused or is abandoned and possibly contaminated, and cannot be effectively used without undergoing a process of regeneration. Brownfields arise as remnants of industrial, agricultural, residential, military or other activities.

Institute for Sustainable Development of Settlements: Brownfields are abandoned or underused urban land plots and buildings that may or may not represent an ecological burden. The complexity of the conditions for such properties’ future development repels private and other capital from effective intervention.

Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic: Brownfields are all land plots and properties in urban areas that have lost their original purpose and are underused. Such properties are economically and physically detrimental to their surroundings and to themselves.

Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic: Brownfields are all land areas that have been fundamentally disturbed by human activity and cannot be further used effectively or may potentially pose a threat to the environment.

European Structural and Investment Funds: A brownfield is defined as an unused, dilapidated or ecologically damaged property that has lost its original use. Refurbishment and revitalisation of such properties for the purpose of new, effective utilisation are supported by European Union funds.