Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


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Plan Released for Third Round of Federal Sandy Funds

December 19th, 2014 by Megan Callus

Focus of distributions is on housing and Rebuild By Design resiliency projects

Rendering of the New Meadowlands Rebuild By Design project.

Rendering of the New Meadowlands Rebuild By Design project.

On Dec. 17, 2014, the Christie administration released three proposed amendments to the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan. These amendments detail how the state will spend the remaining $882 million of the nearly $3.3 billion it has been allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Sandy recovery. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Lags Behind in Some Key Real Estate Trends

December 12th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

ULI-PWC-report-coverA new report from the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers outlines several key emerging trends real-estate investors should look for in 2015. A review of the first chapter shows New Jersey is well positioned to capitalize on some of these trends, and modest fixes will help it catch up to others. But some of New Jersey’s deficiencies — transportation and water infrastructure in particular — will take significant investments to fix, and if we don’t fix them, we put ourselves at an ever-greater competitive disadvantage. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: We Can’t Afford the Price We Pay for Cheap Water

December 10th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff

From our colleague Dan Van Abs, outlining the coming crisis in our water-supply system. This article was originally posted on NJ Spotlight.

Aging infrastructure, consumer complacency, artificially low prices all combine to make the state’s water supply a problem just waiting to happen

Crumbling water infrastructure in Hoboken.

Crumbling water infrastructure in Hoboken.

A gallon of tap water in New Jersey usually costs well less than a penny, roughly $400 a year per household. People may see that price as either cheap or expensive. Either way, it is a price New Jersey can’t afford.

Water utilities face the same general rules whether owned by government or the private sector. They must provide sufficient water to their customers to meet normal and peak demands, and that water must meet drinking-water quality standards.

The problem is too that few water utilities keep up with the costs of repairing and replacing their assets, as discussed in three recent reports my research teams prepared for New Jersey Future. Water utility managers acknowledged this issue in nearly every interview. The NJ Clean Water Council (which advises the NJ Department of Environmental Protection), the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Facing Our Future (funded by New Jersey philanthropic foundations) have raised similar concerns.

Read the full article on NJ Spotlight.

Economic Opportunity Act Retains Incentives’ Focus on Smart-Growth Locations

December 5th, 2014 by Tim Evans

The Camden waterfront, where Lockheed Martin will be relocating. Photo: Flickr user Todd Mecklem

The Camden waterfront, where Lockheed Martin will be relocating. Photo: Flickr user Todd Mecklem

The New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) was signed into law in September of 2013, consolidating five state economic development tax credit programs into two – the Grow New Jersey Assistance Program (Grow NJ) and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program (ERG). In the run-up to the EOA’s passage, New Jersey Future successfully advocated for these programs to include bonuses or priority treatment for applicants located in, or seeking to locate in, any of the following types of “smart-growth” locations: Read the rest of this entry »

How Can We Discuss Climate Change Constructively?

December 2nd, 2014 by Steve Nelson

Don't even think about itClimate change is a topic that often creates heated discussions when it is brought up. Must it? Are there ways to talk about it that can lead to constructive dialogue (and maybe action) instead?

George Marshall, co-founder of Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN) and author of the recently released Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, spoke about this recently in a lecture at Rutgers’ Cook Campus, and provided a cogent outline of why we humans have difficulty dealing with climate change. More importantly, he offered ideas on how to engage and communicate with people who want to ignore or deny it. Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Revitalization Survey Shows Need for Towns To Be More Proactive

November 19th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

Changing demographics provide an opportunity to strengthen downtowns.

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

The results of a survey of those responsible for downtown revitalization in New Jersey’s municipalities show that, while various functions of downtown revitalization are widely considered important among respondents, far fewer of those respondents believe their municipalities are effective at doing them.

The survey, administered jointly by New Jersey Future and the JGSC Group, was sent to at least one representative at each of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities. Representatives from approximately 25 percent of those municipalities responded to the survey. Read the rest of this entry »

Fourth Regional Plan Conference Themes: Revitalization, Technology, Affordability and Access

November 17th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff

On Friday, Nov. 14, New Jersey Future, Together North Jersey and the Regional Plan Association convened the New Jersey Conference on the Fourth Regional Plan. Speakers included Chris Jones, RPA’s vice president for research; former New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio; executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey Staci Berger; Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz; and former Verizon president and chief executive officer Dennis Bone. Chris Jones set the stage with a review of the advances in the region that grew from previous regional plan recommendations, and and then an overview of RPA’s Fragile Success project, a map- and data-driven analysis of the region’s successes, opportunities and challenges. (Presentation.) Our colleagues at NJ Spotlight have provided this report on the conference.


Former New Jersey Gov. James Florio

With the Regional Plan Association fashioning a new strategy for the tri-state region, officials and others have suggested they should focus on revitalizing urban areas and how technology may dramatically change the job market in the future.

Further, they should not neglect the impact global climate change will have on the region, according to former Gov. Jim Florio. He was on a panel at the Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark on Friday, discussing issues affecting New Jersey as RPA prepares its fourth regional plan.

RPA is a nonprofit group that deals with a variety of issues affecting the tri-state region. Previous plans have been instrumental in proposing wide-ranging recommendations dealing with transportation, economic development, environmental issues, and open space in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Read the full article on NJ Spotlight.

Listen to the unedited audio:

Thought Leaders To Gather at Regional Conference

November 10th, 2014 by Teri Jover

RPA-4RP-Hoopla-Avatar-1New Jersey Future and Regional Plan Association, with participation from Together North Jersey, are convening a New Jersey Regional Conference to bring forward the next generation of “big ideas” to enhance prosperity, livability, and environmental sustainability in the tri-state region. The event is part of creating RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, whose predecessor, the Third Regional Plan, helped lead to the preservation of the New Jersey Highlands, regional rail improvements and the redevelopment of Governor’s Island into a park.

New Jersey Conference on the Fourth Regional Plan

Friday, Nov. 14, 2014
8:30 AM to 11:30 AM

Seton Hall University School of Law
Larson Auditorium
One Newark Center, 1109 Raymond Boulevard
Newark, NJ..

The New Jersey Conference is free and open to the interested public, but registration is required. More information about event and speakers. Get ready to bring your big ideas for guiding the future of our tri-state region.

We have been approved for 2.5 AICP CM credits and have applied for NJ CLE credits.

Clement A. Price

November 6th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

New Jersey Future is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Clement A. Price. We honored Dr. Price on the occasion of our 25th anniversary gala, for “his research, teaching and civic engagement, [which have] illuminated the vital role that arts, culture, history and diversity play in shaping communities, especially cities.” His passing is a great loss for the city of Newark, for Rutgers University and indeed for the entire state of New Jersey.

Below is a remembrance by Andaiye Taylor of Brick City Live, along with her compilation of many of the reactions to his passing, a heartwarming tribute to the legacy he leaves.

Clement PriceI last saw Dr. Clement Price less than two weeks before his passing. He was on a panel at Rutgers University doing what he does best: elucidating and contextualizing what was going on in Newark by bringing his deep knowledge of the city’s history to bear on its present and possible future.

In this instance, Dr. Price was discussing the possible effects of The Star-Ledger moving their headquarters out of the city. Dr. Price told those assembled not to jump to conclusions about what the Ledger’s move would mean for Newark. We’d lost pillar journalistic institutions before and survived, he reminded us. Instead of speculating wildly about the effects of the move, we’d have to wait and see what it ultimately meant.

Dr. Price was himself a walking historical institution, but any analogies to his comments about the Ledger end there. We won’t need to “wait and see” to know that Dr. Price’s passing is a profound loss not only for his loved ones and those he touched within the classroom and his professional orbit, but for the city of Newark, and the way we understand the city’s past and its application to our present and future. Dr. Price was incredibly generous about transmitting his knowledge and insight – it was his life’s work – but he was nonetheless a font of knowledge and experience that will never be replicated.

Read the entire article on Brick City Live.

Lincoln Institute Symposium: Collaboration, Regional Focus Are Keys to Successful Resilience

November 6th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

Attendees were urged to look for solutions that address multiple problems

Lincoln cover slideAt the New Jersey Future/Lincoln Institute symposium on post-Sandy resilience on Oct. 30, three common themes ran through the speakers’ remarks: First, it is critical to build future resilience measures into all current rebuilding efforts; they cannot be applied retroactively. Second, common problems and scarce resources mean it’s important to collaborate across regions for solutions at the proper scale; and third, key experts from different fields – engineering, law, finance – must be involved at all stages of a project. In short, disasters are rarely of one kind, and they rarely affect one municipality in a vacuum, so it’s important to approach them holistically. Read the rest of this entry »

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