October 20th, 2013 by Peter Kasabach
In an op-ed article in the Asbury Park Press, we argue that more attention needs to be paid to difficult, long-term issues that are key to New Jersey’s future and that, if left unaddressed, will make us less economically competitive and will hinder our growth and prosperity.
Our elected leaders should focus on four key areas in the next four years, and we as citizens should hold them accountable for doing so. Those areas include:
- Infrastructure, including transportation and water;
- Revitalization of our older communities and preserving open space;
- Housing affordability;
- Resiliency to extreme weather.
October 16th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
At its Oct. 16, 2013, meeting, the State Planning Commission approved a resolution supporting Somerset County’s Strategic Investment Framework. The recognition is well deserved. Read the rest of this entry »
October 10th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
The report, After Sandy: Advancing Strategies for Long-Term Resilience and Adaptability, was prepared by a ULI Advisory Services Panel, convened for the purpose by the Urban Land Institute Foundation. The panel studied areas of New York City, Long Island and the north Jersey coast. Read the rest of this entry »
October 2nd, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
Rowan GeoLab To Crowdsource Recent Development Patterns
Mapping land use is critical for making sound planning decisions, but New Jersey’s land-use map is over six years old. The Rowan University GeoLab is turning to the power of crowdsourcing to map development trends that have occurred since 2007.
On Tuesday, Oct. 8 at noon, the GeoLab will launch its NJ MAP: Growth crowdsourcing tool, and is inviting the public to contribute. Volunteers can zoom in on the map to areas of the state with which they are familiar and click on new development visible in 2012 aerial photos. Badges will be awarded to the top contributors in each county.
Using the power of potentially hundreds of contributors, the Geolab is hoping to complete the map within several weeks. Results will be made available as a free download by January 2014.
More information on how to contribute is available on the NJ MAP: Growth crowdsourcing project website.
September 26th, 2013 by Peter Kasabach
The New Jersey Supreme Court decision today invalidating “growth share” rules adopted by the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in 2008 is not only a major victory for people who need affordable homes, it re-establishes and emphasizes the connections between the State Planning Act, the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, regional assessments, sound land use planning and the Council on Affordable Housing.
New Jersey Future, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, the American Planning Association (APA) and its APA New Jersey chapter filed a friend-of-the-court brief calling for the growth share rules to be invalidated. The coalition applauds the decision, noting it will increase the availability of affordable homes throughout the state. Read the rest of this entry »
September 25th, 2013 by Elaine Clisham
In a Sept. 24 referendum, voters in a township, a city and a borough in southern Hunterdon County overwhelmingly approved the creation of a single regional preK-12 school district to replace their four current districts. According to unofficial totals posted on the county’s website, the referendum, open to voters in Lambertville, Stockton and West Amwell, passed by a margin of almost 6 to 1, with almost 30 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. (By comparison, 9 percent of eligible voters statewide turned out in the August primary for U.S. Senate.)
The vote is important not just to the affected municipalities but to the rest of the state, for two reasons: First, it provides a template for the process other areas can follow should they choose to explore school-district consolidation; and second, it will enable better land-use decision-making in the affected municipalities. Read the rest of this entry »
September 18th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
Initiatives affect economic incentives, redevelopment tools
Development and redevelopment efforts face new opportunities and challenges, thanks to legislation passed this spring. In addition to the Cluster Development Bill, two bills supported by New Jersey Future have been signed into law: the Economic Opportunity Act, and the so-called “noncondemnation redevelopment” bill.
The Economic Opportunity Act updates the state’s massive incentive programs for job growth and development. The change of greatest interest to New Jersey Future is a complex new incentive structure that rewards certain projects over others, depending on location, industry, and other factors. In addition, the act merges the five current programs into two streamlined programs, Grow New Jersey and the Economic and Redevelopment Growth Grant (ERGG) program. And it gives smaller firms access to incentives by lowering thresholds for investment and jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
September 10th, 2013 by New Jersey Future staff
This article was written by New Jersey Future intern Tim Schuringa, who authored the report.
How Civic Innovation Can Affect Smart Growth in New Jersey
Over the past few decades, a greater focus on accountability, impact, and sustainable revenue has led to the emergence of the social enterprise, a new breed of organization that employs business strategies to pursue a social or environmental mission. At the same time, many non-profits and local governments have sought out public-private partnerships and other innovative strategies to advance their social missions more efficiently.
A New Jersey Future report released today explores some of these recent social innovation trends and seeks to put them in conversation with the world of smart growth. While many social innovation efforts have focused on direct services in areas like health, education, and employment, a number of new efforts in the last five years have the potential to affect smart-growth outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »
September 6th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
This article originally appeared on the opinion page of the Star-Ledger on Sept. 4, 2013.
President Obama’s Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy, released this week, contained a range of recommendations that will help the region to rebuild most effectively after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The core message from the Task Force: Let’s not just rebuild, let’s rebuild smarter.
The magnitude of the nearly $25 billion federal Sandy rebuilding aid package allocated to New Jersey offers the state an opportunity to lead the way for how rebuilding can happen both quickly and responsibly.
Of all 69 recommendations contained in the report, there is one that underlies most of the others and is essential to ensuring the increased safety of people and property, and the responsible use of federal rebuilding aid: the incorporation of projected sea level rise into decision-making. Read the rest of this entry »
August 19th, 2013 by Chris Sturm
Report stresses data-driven decision-making, support for long-term planning
ON Aug. 19, 2013, the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force released its strategy report, the culmination of its six months of work in the region affected by last October’s superstorm. It includes 69 recommendations designed to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely so that housing, communities, businesses and the state’s economy are restored in a way that will help them withstand future storms.
Several recommendations stand out as enabling New Jersey to rebuild not just faster, but smarter. The report emphasizes using the best scientific data, including projections of sea-level rise, to guide development and infrastructure investments into safe locations. Other recommendations in the report address finding ways to provide additional capacity to affected towns over the long term, so that they have the necessary resources to plan for future disasters. Read the rest of this entry »