Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Nicole Miller

Smart Growth Award CategoryCary Edwards Leadership Award

Recipient: Nicole Miller

Dedicated advocate and effective voice on intersectional equity in water infrastructure investment, transportation, and climate change who increases awareness and action at both the state and local levels.

The Cary Edwards Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have an outstanding commitment to improving quality of life and promoting smart growth in New Jersey through sustainable land-use policy and practice.

Nicole Miller is no stranger to New Jersey Future or Jersey Water Works audiences. Miller is incredibly generous with her time, which she balances across local and state advocacy efforts to improve the lives of her neighbors in Newark, as well as address environmental justice issues that impact all New Jerseyans. What makes Miller particularly adept in her advocacy is her deep understanding of the interconnectedness of air, water, transportation, and climate change within our broader environmental justice movement. New Jersey Future is proud to honor Nicole Miller with a 2023 Cary Edwards Leadership Award. 

“Nicole is deserving of this award for her tireless efforts to fight for people who don’t often have anybody listening to their concerns. She is that individual that cares, that understands the issues, and she is the change maker we need in the environmental justice movement,” commented Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Organizer with Clean Water Action of NJ and founder and executive director of the South Ward Cultural Center. 

Miller’s affiliations include serving as a member of the Newark Environmental Commission advising the Mayor and City Council on sustainability issues, chair of the Newark Green Team and co-chair of Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green!). Through these two positions Miller works with local Newark communities to engage residents on green infrastructure as well as resilient, sustainable municipal stormwater management. Within NJF programs and campaigns, Miller serves on the Sewage-Free Streets and Rivers advisory board, and has been an invaluable co-chair of Jersey Water Works steering committee. 

“Our Black, Indigenous, Brown communities of color might be the first to feel the effects, but truthfully these [environmental justice issues] are not isolated to Newark. There are suburban areas that deal with flooding, there are affluent communities that have lead service lines. Sometimes things can be complex, but that doesn’t mean that they’re insolvable,” observes Miller in a recent interview.


See all 2023 Smart Growth Award winners

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