Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Farming and Agriculture

Farmland is a key economic and environmental resource for New Jersey, ranking third in importance to the state’s economy behind pharmaceuticals and tourism. A strong farm economy not only supports employment, commerce and agriculturally related tourism, but also strengthens the state’s local food system, helping to ensure access to healthy food for all residents.

Between 2012 and 2017 the number of farms in New Jersey grew by 9%, bolstered mainly by an increase in the number of farms of fewer than 100 acres. Market value of agricultural products in the state also grew by 9% during that time, to almost $1.1 billion. This is a reversal of previous trends: Between 1982 and 2007, the state had lost approximately 27% of its agricultural land to development. Between 1997 and 2002 the trend had slowed to 6%, and it slowed again to less than 3% between 2002 and 2007.

Smart growth supports the preservation of farmland by directing development away from agricultural land and preserving that land for farm use. A range of mechanisms at both the state and local levels – including low-density residential and agricultural zoning, preservation easements, transfers and purchases of development rights, cluster development, development buffers, right-to-farm legislation, permitting farm stands by right and favorable tax policies for agricultural production — have been used to prioritize the preservation of agricultural land.

New Jersey Future Blog
Cluster Development Bill Sails through the Assembly

New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly approves the cluster development bill, which could see a Senate vote as soon as May 13.

New Jersey State Plan Update Back On Track

The process that will lead to adoption of the State Strategic Plan is moving forward once again, with a final public hearing now scheduled.

Solar installation over parking lot at Stockton College.
Sustainable Sites Can Accommodate New Jersey’s Solar Needs

Incentives for solar facility development on brownfields and landfills should be made more attractive than incentives to develop on farmland and other open lands.

Preserving Land through Market Real Estate Transactions: Nine Approaches and Four Success Stories

A new report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering in nine New Jersey municipalities as a land-preservation tool.

359 Municipalities Working Toward Sustainable Jersey Certification

New Jersey is the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive sustainability program that supports community efforts to reduce waste, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental equity. Of the state’s 566 municipalities, 359 are registered and working toward Sustainable Jersey certification, and nearly 75 percent of New Jersey’s population lives in one of those communities.

Articles and Stories
A Farm in the City, Providing More Than Food

2016 Smart Growth Awards: One person’s vision has led to the transformation of an abandoned lot in East Trenton into an urban farm that will provide food, job training and education to nearby residents.

Preserving Land through Market Real Estate Transactions

This report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering as a land-preservation tool in nine New Jersey municipalities. May 2012.

Rendering of Woolwich Township TDR
Transfer of Development Rights and Clustering

Trransfer of development rights (TDR) and clustering are tools that municipalities in New Jersey can use to direct growth and preserve open space.

Smart Growth FAQ

Some frequently-asked questions about how smart growth would affect New Jersey’s future development, including how it affects traffic, taxes, and land preservation.

Smart Growth Planning and Design Initiative

Be it through open space and farmland preservation, economic development, or civic design initiatives, the Township of Eastampton is consistent in its pursuit of a smart growth.

See all New Jersey Future Blog posts and articles in this category »

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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