Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

Regional Planning

Recognizing the need for better land-use decisions, and the limitations of effective municipal governance, the New Jersey Legislature has passed an impressive succession of laws to promote regional planning.

Through these efforts, the Legislature showed its willingness to retrieve powers it had earlier delegated to the municipalities under the Municipal Land Use Law and other statutes in order to transform land-use governance in specific locations.  The most significant statutes in this series are the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Act (1969), the Pinelands Protection Act (1979) and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (2004).  Together these regional areas comprise 2,800 square miles, or 37 percent of the state’s land area. Regional planning occurs in a less comprehensive manner on the county level, authorized by the New Jersey County Planning Enabling Act (1935).  Other groups of municipalities have formed voluntary regional planning organizations in areas including the Sourland Mountain Area and the Great Swamp Watershed.

In 2012, after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey Shore, that area became a new focus for conversations around regional planning. To help inform the discussion, New Jersey Future has built a resource page focused on rebuilding a resilient shore.

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

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.

All Boats Rise: Investing in Climate Resilience & Communities

The science is clear: climate change is here, and its threats are only going to grow more pronounced. But, carefully coordinated efforts can not only protect New Jerseyans from these threats, but can help spur economic activity, as well, 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.

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

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.

School District Consolidation Is More Than Just a Cost-Saving Measure

Regionalizing school districts could also help increase housing options and make New Jersey a less segregated state.

New Jersey Future to work with regional campaign for resilience

New Jersey Future is proud to be an inaugural member of the important and growing Rise to Resilience coalition, a group of New Jersey and New York residents, leaders in the business, labor, and justice communities, volunteer organizations, scientists, and environmental advocates.

Articles and Stories
Webinar: Understanding Coastal Vulnerability

A one-hour webinar explaining a new, parcel-based tool that assesses financial vulnerability to coastal flooding and sea-level rise. Friday, May 15, 2015, noon – 1:00 pm.

In Deep: Helping Sandy-Affected Communities Address Vulnerability and Confront Risk

An interim report, three years after Hurricane Sandy, on New Jersey Future’s groundbreaking local recovery planning manager program, including lessons learned and recommendations. October 2015.

New Jersey Future Op-Ed Button
Preparing for the Next Sandy Requires Facing Hard Facts

Oct. 28, 2014 — Two years after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, many of New Jersey’s coastal communities continue to struggle with recovery and rebuilding efforts. The highest community priority is to get people back into their homes, re-establish business operations and return to life as close to normal as possible. The elected officials who have led these efforts are hardworking heroes. But it’s also clear that recovery decisions made without a clear understanding of future risks can move people back into harm’s way, build infrastructure that will be damaged again, and waste taxpayer dollars.

Growing Smart and Water Wise

Development in the Pinelands growth areas has affected water resources and will continue to exert pressures going forward. This report highlights what can be done by municipal, regional and state agencies to minimize their negative impacts. July 2014.

Ripple Effects

This report and related case studies summarize the state of urban water infrastructure in New Jersey and how it affects residents and businesses. May 2014.

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

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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