Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


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Forum Plenary: A Tale of Three Cities

April 17th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

One of the major redevelopment challenges that New Jersey faces is that of reviving its older cities: How can sufficient human and financial capital be organized around a revitalization effort that can often take decades? The morning plenary session at the 2014 Redevelopment Forum offered lessons from three cities that are meeting that challenge – Providence, Cincinnati and Detroit. All three have faced barriers similar to some of those faced by New Jersey’s cities – most notably how to bring private investment to a downtown that has a reputation for being unattractive or worse –  and while each pursued a very different path to overcoming them, all three approaches offer lessons for New Jersey’s cities. Read the rest of this entry »

State Hazard Mitigation Plan Should Do More To Address Risk, Integrate With Local Planning

April 11th, 2014 by Chris Sturm

Sandy damage -- resiliencyNew Jersey Future today joined with six local and national planning and environmental advocacy organizations in submitting formal comments on the Draft 2014 State of New Jersey Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The letter calls on the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) to amend the plan to ensure that it addresses vulnerability and future risk adequately, and to modify the plan to ensure that state agencies, county and local governments develop effective mitigation strategies to guide development and infrastructure investments so that vulnerability to impacts of future storms is reduced.

Signing the comment letter in addition to New Jersey Future were the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association; American Littoral Society; NY/NJ Baykeeper; the National Resources Defense Council; PlanSmart NJ and Clean Ocean Action. Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Feature: Is Demolition Always the Best Option for Vacant Properties?

April 10th, 2014 by Tim Evans

Alan Mallach

Alan Mallach

Demolition is one of several options available to municipal officials in dealing with vacant properties. But how do you know when to demolish a property, as opposed to seeking to acquire it, or seeking to find a new owner for it, or forcing the existing owner to bring it up to code? This is the question addressed by a panel of experts in a session at New Jersey Future’s Redevelopment Forum. Housing scholar Alan Mallach (presentation) gave an overview of the issues that are created or exacerbated by vacant properties; Camden housing advocate Pilar Hogan Closkey (presentation) talked about the strategies her organization, St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society, has used to shore up struggling neighborhoods in that city; and Jennifer Kates (presentation), legislative aide to Philadelphia City Councilwoman María Quiñones-Sánchez, spoke about Philadelphia’s decision to create a land bank to enable better coordination among city agencies in dealing with vacant properties. Read the rest of this entry »

Timing of Public Comment Period on State Hazard Plan Raises Questions

April 4th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff


Cross-posted from NJ Spotlight.

Mantoloking SandyAfter coming under fire for a lack of transparency in how he’s handled the Sandy recovery, Gov. Chris Christie has gone back to the town-hall circuit in recent weeks, and members of his cabinet have been making more public appearances.

The administration has vowed to allow greater public input into its future plans. But that didn’t stop them from quietly submitting a report on hazard mitigation to the federal government last month, ahead of a publicized comment period for the same plan.

The move has angered planning advocates and environmentalists, who had hoped that their expertise and feedback from the public at large would have been given greater consideration before decisions were made.

Read the full article on NJ Spotlight.

New County Population Estimates: Older Places Continue Their Revival

April 4th, 2014 by Tim Evans


Exurban counties continue to lose population.


Source: Rowan University GeoLab

Source: Rowan University GeoLab

On March 27, the Census Bureau released 2013 county population estimates. There are some interesting highlights among the New Jersey and Pennsylvania numbers: Read the rest of this entry »

Communities Need To Understand, Plan Effectively for Climate Risks

April 3rd, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff

Executive Director Peter Kasabach made his debut April 2 on Al Jazeera America, joining a panel on Ray Suarez’s show Inside Story to talk about the importance of understanding the risks posed by a changing climate, and giving communities the leadership and resources they need to plan accordingly. The full show is a half-hour; the panel discussion begins at 14:00.

Forum Feature: Eyes Wide Open … or Shut

April 3rd, 2014 by David Kutner

New Jersey is paying insufficient attention to the increasing risks of a changing climate, and both good leadership and good information are needed if that is to change.

Mark Mauriello

Mark Mauriello

Speakers at a Redevelopment Forum session on climate risks were clear: We have failed to confront the risks that a changing climate poses for our future. Myths and misperceptions cloud our ability to address New Jersey’s growing vulnerability to increasingly frequent and severe storm and flooding events. Mark Mauriello, former commissioner of the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, who moderated the session, listed his “favorite” such myths: Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Smart Growth Awards Announced

April 1st, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

Former State Planning Commission Chairman Joe Maraziti
To Receive Leadership Award

SGA.LOGO2014.F1Three different types of housing developments; two plans to revitalize fading downtowns; a plan that transformed an industrial riverfront into a premier urban asset; a project that will serve as an anchor of hope to its surrounding community; and a region-wide plan for smart economic growth are all winners of New Jersey Future’s 2014 Smart Growth Awards. Read the rest of this entry »

A Solution to New Jersey’s Transportation Funding Problem Is on the Horizon

April 1st, 2014 by Peter Kasabach

Pedestrians in traffic2In 2011, Gov. Christie presented and had approved a five-year transportation funding plan.  In that plan, the governor recommended moving away from a debt-only model and toward a pay-as-you-go program that would begin to address the huge maintenance and repair backlogs in our state’s transportation infrastructure.  Unfortunately, that plan was not implemented.  The state’s transportation trust fund is broke and relying on additional bonding gimmicks to limp along.  The money taken from the ARC Tunnel project is running out and the Port Authority spending smokescreen is lifting.

The good news is that New Jersey Future recently learned that there is a bi-partisan executive and legislative branch plan afoot to solve New Jersey’s transportation funding dilemma.  What common ground did all parties find?  A spokesman for the governor summed up the approach best: “While we know that New Jersey has one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation, we still think our drivers pay too much.”  This was echoed by the legislature’s spokesperson, who said, “New Jersey drivers deserve to drive on safe, well maintained streets without having to pay for them.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Forum Keynote: Target Investments at Assets, not Companies

March 21st, 2014 by Elaine Clisham

Seth Pinsky during his keynote at the Redevelopment Forum.

Seth Pinsky during his keynote at the Redevelopment Forum.

Why would a group of redevelopment professionals from New Jersey care about what made New York City’s economic growth so robust over the last 10 years? Because, said Redevelopment Forum 2014 luncheon keynote speaker Seth Pinsky, the ways in which New York deployed what he called its “basket of development policies” have lessons not just for New Jersey, but for any jurisdiction.

Pinsky is the former president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, and now explores opportunities in emerging markets for RXR Realty. In his address, he stressed that in devising its economic development strategy, New York sought to use the power of government to channel the energy of the free market to where it would do the greatest common good.  Some takeaways for the state of New Jersey from his remarks: Read the rest of this entry »

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