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Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton Receive $2.13-Million Resiliency Grant

June 18th, 2014 by Leah Yasenchak

Geotubes being installed in Ocean City, N.J. Photo: TenCate

Geotubes being installed in Ocean City, N.J. Photo: TenCate

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced that Little Egg Harbor Township and Tuckerton Borough have received a $2.13 million grant to install natural protections against sea level rise and storm events.  In addition to helping both communities, the project will benefit several surrounding public-trust lands: the Mystic Island Natural Lands Trust, the E.B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve Wildlife Management Area.

The two communities are sharing resources cooperatively on multiple resiliency efforts.  Each town has passed an agreement to work with New Jersey Future, via funding from the New Jersey Recovery Fund, to further resiliency through forward-looking land use planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Innovation Districts: New Jersey Has the Right Ingredients

June 5th, 2014 by Peter Kasabach

Rendering of the Innovation District along the South Boston waterfront. Source: Seaport District

Rendering of the Innovation District along the South Boston waterfront. Source: Seaport District

“Innovation districts” are economic development tools that utilize partnerships with higher education institutions, businesses, and government to fuel job growth and redevelopment in targeted locations. Innovation districts are based on the premise that collaboration and productivity result from proximity, and therefore job creation and innovation can be fostered through the intentional clustering of businesses, institutions, ideas and people. Innovation districts have been adopted by a variety of host cities in order to revitalize their communities and diversify their economies. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Resilience in Sea Bright

June 3rd, 2014 by Steve Nelson

Planting dune grass along South Beach in Sea Bright, December 2013. Photo by Steve Nelson.

Planting dune grass along South Beach in Sea Bright, December 2013. Photo by Steve Nelson.

The enormous impact of Superstorm Sandy is still being felt in dozens of communities across New Jersey, and with it a new understanding of the need to become more resilient to flooding hazards. Fortunately, a newly updated online tool is available and is being used to help communities take action to become less vulnerable and more prepared.

This tool – Getting to Resilience (GTR) – was developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and enhanced by staff from the Jacques Costeau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR).  It allows communities to assess how prepared they are for flooding, coastal storms and sea-level rise. Read the rest of this entry »

Convening Aims to Develop an Agenda for Change for New Jersey’s Urban Water Infrastructure

May 20th, 2014 by New Jersey Future staff

NJFLOGO 070208sm                johnson foundation logo          Geraldine Dodge Foundation

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.

Ripple Effects - Report Page

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 »

Investing in Transit Is an Economic Incentive

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 »

New Report Highlights State’s Water Infrastructure Crisis

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.  

Ripple Effects - Report PageNew 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 Effectssummarizes 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 »

Highlands Development Regulations Not Responsible for Exurban Slowdown

April 24th, 2014 by Tim Evans

A rendering showing Brookwood Green at Byram Village Center in Byram Township.

The planned Brookwood Green at Byram Village Center. Byram’s Village Center plan will add 134 residential units in its planning area, which comprises only 1.6 percent of its total land area.

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 »

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 »

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