May 20th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
Leaders Explore Challenges and Opportunities for Revamping Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Infrastructure in New Jersey Cities
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, New Jersey Future, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation convened a group of New Jersey leaders from water utilities, environmental organizations, economic and community development organizations, the private sector and local, state and federal government today to develop and issue an action agenda to catalyze the transformation of New Jersey’s urban water infrastructure.
The convening is informed by research conducted by New Jersey Future and Rutgers University, which focused on the 21 New Jersey municipalities that have combined sewer systems and experience combined sewer overflows (CSOs) during intense rainfall events. Discharges from these CSO events contain raw sewage and affect some of the state’s most iconic river systems – including the Hackensack, Passaic, Raritan, and Delaware rivers – polluting the environment and threatening public health.
Furthermore, additional pressure is being put on these systems by their cities’ recent resurgence. These 21 cities comprise nearly a fifth of New Jersey’s population and are projected to absorb much of the state’s future growth, presenting an opportunity for developers and cities to work together on creating water infrastructure that will meet this demand and support the revitalization of these cities into attractive settings for employers and residents. Read the rest of this entry »
May 14th, 2014 by Elaine Clisham
Two articles caught our attention recently, both of them about the importance of good transit to economic vitality.
In the first, chief executive officers of publicly-owned companies in the Tampa Bay area were asked what could or should be done to make the area more friendly to businesses. Their answer? Overwhelmingly, they wanted better transportation options for their workers, and specifically cited transit options as an important part of the mix. Read the rest of this entry »
May 6th, 2014 by Chris Sturm
New Jersey’s cities face a multi-billion-dollar price-tag to fix combined sewer systems that dump over 7 billion gallons of raw sewage into our waterways every year.
New Jersey Future has released a major report highlighting the extreme degree to which the water infrastructure in New Jersey’s oldest cities is in disrepair; the threat this represents to those cities’ economic vitality; and the many barriers faced by efforts to repair and upgrade it.
The report is being released in two parts. The first part, Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities: Elevating the Importance of Upgrading New Jersey’s Urban Water Systems, is an analysis of the extent of the problems in cities with the most obsolete form of wastewater infrastructure, combined sewer systems. The analysis was prepared by a team led by Daniel Van Abs Ph.D., associate research professor in Rutgers’ School of Environmental & Biological Sciences and current chairman of the New Jersey Clean Water Council. The second part of the report, Ripple Effects, summarizes the major findings in the Van Abs report and includes case studies from four New Jersey cities with combined sewer systems. Read the rest of this entry »
April 24th, 2014 by Tim Evans
Is the recent slowdown – and in some cases, outright reversal – of population growth in New Jersey’s northwestern exurbs primarily attributable to restrictions on development imposed by the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act of 2004, as sometimes claimed by business and real estate interests and political figures? Or is there a larger phenomenon at work?
As our recent analysis showed, the population growth dynamic in New Jersey (and indeed nationally) since the recession in 2008 has been one of new growth happening in urban areas and older suburbs – places that hit their peak populations many decades ago but are now experiencing a second wind. Meanwhile, the outer-suburban counties that topped population growth lists in the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s fell to the middle of the pack, or even to the bottom. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
April 11th, 2014 by Chris Sturm
New 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 »
April 10th, 2014 by Tim Evans
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 »
April 4th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff
Cross-posted from NJ Spotlight.
After 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.
April 4th, 2014 by Tim Evans
Exurban counties continue to lose population.
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 »
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.