Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Author Archive

Electric Yard Goats and Environmental Justice

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

“Electric Yard Goats” may sound like the name of a band (or a baseball team), but they actually represent an important step in New Jersey’s effort to adopt electric vehicles as a means of reducing the transportation sector’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, they can help steer the air-quality and health benefits of vehicle electrification toward communities that have historically suffered the most from pollution generated by gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and by the state’s many polluting land uses.

School district regionalization is an educational quality issue—and a cost-saving issue, and a land-use issue, and a segregation issue

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

New Jersey’s system for delivering public education is particularly fragmented—it averages 28 school districts per county, the most of any state, and averages just under 15,000 residents per district, well below the national average of 23,344. It has more school districts than it has municipalities. This fractionalized landscape contributes to and exacerbates several of the state’s most intractable problems in ways that are not immediately apparent.

Census 2020: New Jersey’s Older and Increasingly Diverse Centers Are Now Leading The State’s Population Growth

Monday, September 13th, 2021

The demographic story of the 2010s in New Jersey was the return of population growth to the state’s walkable, mixed-use centers—cities, towns, and older suburbs with traditional downtowns. Driven in particular by the Millennial generation’s desire for live-work-shop-play environments, many of the state’s older centers experienced their biggest population increases since before the 1950s.

New Jersey Needs More “Missing Middle” Housing

Monday, July 19th, 2021

New Jersey’s housing costs are among the highest in the country. The state ranks seventh in median home value and fourth in median rent. The state is losing younger households to other states, and evidence points to high housing costs as one of the reasons. To create more of the kinds of homes that younger households are looking for—in the neighborhoods they want to live in—New Jersey should consider revising the zoning and parking requirements that determine what kind of housing gets built and where.

Ensuring Equity in Transit-Oriented Development

Friday, June 25th, 2021

State leaders are embracing the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD), which encourages residential and commercial development to locate within walking distance of public transit stations, enabling residents to complete some or all of their trips without a car. The private sector also recognizes the demand for housing in transit-accessible towns. But with transit-adjacent neighborhoods being a limited commodity, how do we make sure the option of living near transit is available to everyone? The Ensuring Equity in Transit-Oriented Development session examined population patterns with respect to race and income around New Jersey’s transit stations.

Two Homes, One Roof: Making NJ More Welcoming with ADUs

Friday, June 25th, 2021

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are an often overlooked and underutilized solution to the affordable housing shortage we face in New Jersey and across the Northeast. At the 2021 New Jersey Planning & Redevelopment Conference, a session entitled Two Homes, One Roof: Making NJ More Welcoming with ADUs discussed the importance of ADUs and their potential as a strategy for increasing the state’s housing options.

Incorporating Climate Change: It’s the Law

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

The science is clear: climate change is here, and its threats are only going to grow more pronounced. But, carefully coordinated efforts can simultaneously protect New Jerseyans from these threats and spur economic activity, making our state that much stronger. That was the message from four senior-level officials from Governor Murphy’s administration at the 2021 Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted by New Jersey Future and the NJ Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Tracking Progress on Environmental Justice

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

One of the first situations in which New Jersey’s resolve for advancing environmental justice will be tested is in the spending of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program. Participating states are required to use the proceeds from CO2 allowance auctions for programs that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of clean energy sources, but it is up to each state to decide exactly where (geographically) this money will be spent.

Hoboken’s Focus on Vision Zero Makes Streets Safe for Everyone

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Hoboken’s laudable achievement is the result of a deliberate and sustained effort, the centerpiece of which is the redesign of a 16-block stretch of Washington Street, the city’s main commercial thoroughfare.

Single-Family Zoning: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

Monday, April 12th, 2021

New Jersey should follow Oregon’s and California’s lead and take advantage of the growing national momentum toward zoning reform, to at least begin a discussion about how such reforms might work in New Jersey.

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