Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces

 

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Apply for a 2020 Smart Growth Award

November 11th, 2019 by Emily Eckart

2020 Smart Growth Awards logoDevelopment shapes our landscapes, social lives, and environmental outcomes. New Jersey Future’s Smart Growth Awards celebrate projects that lead the way toward better development. We’re looking for innovators who go beyond buildings. We want projects that create places and solve problems. Past winners have included an indoor vertical farm that addressed an urban food desert, an abandoned factory converted into affordable housing, a bike trail that reduced car travel, and a sustainable urban co-working space.

If you know a project, plan, or initiative that contributes to a brighter future for New Jersey, submit it for consideration today! The application process is through an easy online submission portal. The deadline is January 17, 2020, but you should get started now – -it takes some time to collect all the required information. Winners will be celebrated at an event at the Newark Museum on June 3, 2020.

Entries will be judged by an independent panel of experts in various aspects of growth and development. Applications are judged against the following considerations:

  • Proximity to existing development or infrastructure
  • Creation or enhancement of a vibrant mix of uses: residential, office, and retail
  • Protection of open space, farmland, parks, and critical environmental areas
  • Creation of a range of housing options (size, type, and affordability)
  • Creation or enhancement of various transportation options
  • Improved resilience against natural hazards
  • Walkability and neighborhood interaction
  • Integration into surrounding community
  • Green design
  • On-site stormwater management

Learn more about the application process and read about past winners on our website. We look forward to seeing this year’s entries!

 

Where does impervious cover have the biggest impact?

November 11th, 2019 by Tim Evans

Impervious cover, surfaces such as roads and rooftops that are impenetrable to water, has economic and environmental impacts on municipalities. Streets and sidewalks are expensive to maintain and these surfaces generate stormwater runoff which causes flooding and carries polluted water into our streams and rivers.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently released a 2015 update of its land use / land cover data set.  The LU/LC dataset offers a periodic snapshot of how and where New Jersey both uses and preserves its land.  For example, a little over one-third (33.5 percent) of the state’s land is urbanized and a little less than another third (32.5 percent) is forest, with another 11.6 percent in agricultural use and 21.2 percent in wetlands (and the small remainder classified as “barren land,” a catch-all category that includes things like beaches, quarries, and land that has been cleared for development but on which nothing has yet been built).

Land use land cover percentage chart

One feature of interest is the data set’s inclusion of an estimate of impervious surface – things like roads and rooftops that are impervious to water and hence generate stormwater runoff when it rains, rather than allowing water to soak into the ground.  From the data provided for smaller plots of land, it is possible to produce summaries that show how much impervious surface in the state is due to which specific land-use categories. These summaries in turn illustrate an important, though perhaps counterintuitive, point about the environmental benefits of density.

Five of the 24 subcategories in the “urban” category of land use pertain to residential development of various types and are described as follows in the metadata:

  • Residential (High Density or Multiple Dwelling): This category contains either high-density single units or multiple dwelling units on 1/8 to 1/5-acre lots. These areas are commonly found in the densely populated urban zones.
  • Residential (Single Unit, Medium Density): This category is made up of residential urban/suburban neighborhoods greater than 1/8 acre and up to and including ½ acre lots.
  • Residential (Single Unit, Low Density):  This category contains single unit residential neighborhoods with areas greater than ½ acre up to and including 1 acre lots.
  • Residential (Rural, Single Unit): This category contains single unit residential neighborhoods with lots that are at least one acre or larger.  This type is typically found in sparsely populated regions surrounded by or adjacent to forested or agricultural lands.  Also included are estates or modern sub-divisions with large lot sizes providing a density less than or equal to one dwelling unit per acre.
  • Mixed Residential: The mixed residential category is used for an area where various residential uses occur and the individual uses cannot be separated at mapping scale (1 acre). Where more than 1/3 intermixture of other residential use or uses occurs in a specific area, it is classified as mixed residential. Where the inter-mixtures of other residential land use or uses total less than 1/3 of the specified area, the dominant land use category is applied.

By summing the total acreage and the impervious acreage for all pieces of land in the database within each of these five subcategories, we can construct estimates of the total amount of New Jersey’s land that is devoted to each of these uses, and what percent of each subcategory’s land is impervious surface:

Table 1: Impervious Surface Coverage of Residential Land-Use Categories

Note that residential development overall devotes 38.8 percent of its acreage to impervious surfaces, on average.  Residential development thus produces slightly less impervious surface per acre than urban land more generally, because other types of urban uses – especially commercial and industrial properties – tend to build out a much higher percent of their lots with buildings and pavement (especially parking lots) and don’t tend to have much in the way of green space.  (A little more than 15 percent of the state’s land area is covered by impervious surfaces overall.)

Lawns and wooded areas account for the main difference in impervious surface percent between residential development on one hand and other urban uses on the other.  But they also account for differences among the different subcategories of residential development. Note that among the residential subcategories, the type that generates the most impervious coverage per acre is the highest density category; properties in this category, which tend to be found in the more densely populated urban areas in the state where lawns are both smaller and less common, typically have about 70 percent of their area covered by impervious surfaces.  Even medium-density suburban neighborhoods, with 2 to 8 housing units per acre, devote nearly half (46.8 percent) of their land to impervious surfaces. In contrast, residential development in rural areas that is dominated by single-family detached homes on large lots (1 acre or more) only devotes an average of 20 percent of its total land area to driveways, roofs, and other impervious surfaces.  It may thus appear that the most environmentally-friendly residential form, from the standpoint of generating stormwater runoff, is low-density subdivisions with big lawns and/or lots of trees.

But per acre is the wrong denominator to use in measuring residential development’s effect on impervious surface.  When we talk about the future growth of a state, what we are talking about is how many new people or households the state expects to gain over a given time period.  States seek to attract new residents, not new urbanized acreage. The number of new acres a state must develop is a function of how many new people move in, not the other way around.  But the number of newly developed acres is also a function of how we choose to accommodate new population growth.  Will most of it be accommodated via large-lot, single-family development, or via higher-density neighborhoods with apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes on smaller lots?  The types of housing that new residents move into can have widely varying effects on how much new impervious surface gets added per new resident.

To keep the math simple, let’s consider a time frame over which New Jersey expects to have to supply 100,000 additional housing units.  As of the 2018 American Community Survey, the average household size – that is, the number of people per occupied housing unit – in New Jersey is 2.69 people.  Using this average, 100,000 new housing units translates to roughly 269,000 new people. This is about equivalent to the amount of population growth that has occurred in New Jersey from 2004 to 2018, a 14-year time frame.  We are thus roughly considering how many new acres of impervious surface we can expect to be generated by about 14 years’ worth of population growth under different residential development scenarios.

For each of the four residential land-use categories for which the description specifies a density range, let us pick a representative value for number of units per acre:  10 units per acre for the densest category (this is actually quite a conservative estimate; neighborhoods dominated by rowhouses and apartments will have many more units per acre than 10), 5 units per acre for the medium-density category (which spans from 2 to 8 units per acre), 1.5 units per acre for low-density (lot sizes of between ½ and 1 acre), and 0.5 units per acre for suburban estate developments and rural areas (this corresponds to 2-acre lots; average lot sizes can of course be much larger than this in such developments).  The table below shows what each of these development densities translates to, in terms of number of newly developed acres and thence new acreage of impervious surface.

Table 2: Impervious Surfaces Generated by 100,000 New Housing Units

Using the average impervious surface coverage rates of the different residential development types, we can see that when measured on a per-capita or per-household basis, rural single-family development produces by far the largest number of new acres of impervious surface for a given population increase; an additional 100,000 households will create 40,000 additional impervious acres.  The highest-density housing types, in contrast, result in the least amount of new impervious surface – less than 7,000 new impervious acres for the same increase of 100,000 households. The tendency of higher-density housing types to cover more of their land area with impervious surfaces is more than made up for by the fact that higher density housing consumes far less acreage per person. 

If the goal of more environmentally conscious development is to minimize the increase in impervious surface coverage (and thence stormwater runoff) that will be created by a given increase in population size, then, the best way to achieve this is by accommodating as much of the population increase in high-density, rather than low-density, housing types. Similarly, the cost to maintain roads and sidewalks in dense cities is distributed among more people, making dense development a more economic alternative to sprawling communities.

Addressing urban challenges at the APA Policy and Advocacy Conference

November 11th, 2019 by Peter Kasabach

Pete Kasabach at APA Conference

Each year the American Planning Association (APA) holds its national Policy and Advocacy Conference to “provide attendees with the opportunity to connect with planners and officials on important planning policy issues, advocate for stronger communities by speaking out on legislative issues that affect planning, and learn how to address planning policy issues at the federal, state, and local levels.”

At this year’s conference, held in Washington DC on September 25, I spoke on a panel with Jessie Grogan from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (Lincoln) and Ben Forman from the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC).  Our task was to discuss the role of state policy in helping to advance “Legacy Cities.”  Lincoln characterizes legacy cities as “older industrial centers with populations of less than 200,000, located primarily in the Midwest and Northeast.”

Powerpoint slide: Rebuilding markets while avoiding displacement

My co-presenters made two very important points. Jessie identified the importance of having experienced statewide policy organizations in place to convene stakeholders and drive policy change.  She spoke about a new Lincoln initiative that will focus on working with a few of these statewide policy groups from around the country.

Ben discussed Massachusetts’s Gateway Cities program, which targets midsize urban centers that anchor regional economies for comprehensive revitalization efforts. Ben stressed the need for being strategic and targeted with state policy campaigns and the importance of building a coalition of supporters behind specific objectives.

Powerpoint slide: Urban challenge Priorities

The panel discussed four urban challenge areas in the context of state policy:

  • Rebuilding markets. Most of the target cities are distressed. It is not possible to have a thriving and functioning city that is one hundred percent poor, therefore states need to subsidize and support reinvestment strategies that build markets and diversify the residential and commercial tax base.  While gentrification and displacement are real issues, they are more common in wealthier cities and are not significant factors in rebuilding legacy cities.  
  • Upgrading infrastructure. These are old cities and most of the infrastructure, particularly water, is antiquated and dilapidated.  This creates capacity, service disruption, and health issues, making it difficult for people and businesses currently in the city, as well as challenging to attract investors. State investment policies need to target urban infrastructure upgrades to create the foundation for growth and investment. 
  • Climate change. Many of our older cities were developed on bodies of water.  These same waterways that were so attractive centuries ago now pose some of the biggest risks.  States need to provide information, guidance, incentives, and disincentives to help cities steer investments in ways that don’t put people and property at current or future risk.  
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Justice. Legacy cities are often diverse, but they are also racially and economically segregated from their regions. For example, New Jersey is one of the most diverse states, but it is also one of the most segregated. Diversity in a global and innovation-based economy is an asset. States need to support and invest in policies that recognize diversity and immigration are competitive advantages.

2019 Complete Streets Summit

October 15th, 2019 by Kandyce Perry

Panelists at Complete StreetsEvery two years, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers hold the Complete Streets Summit to advance strategies to make our streets safer and more accessible to everyone. 

A key theme of this year’s event was equity. Keynote speaker Ryan Russo, director of transportation at the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), described it this way: “When we talk about equity in transportation, it’s about reversing the decisions made by the predecessors of our profession, and being honest about some of those practices.” These practices included using eminent domain to take properties in black and brown neighborhoods for highway construction, concentrating poverty and segregating communities. 

Focusing on underserved areas, OakDOT developed the Paint the Town program, which allows community members to paint temporary street murals reflecting the community’s cultures and values on Oakland’s roads. These projects engage community members to create something beautiful and meaningful, but they also provide something that might not be expected: safety. Road art is shown to slow traffic, making streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Efforts like the Paint the Town program are a strong model for creative ways to implement complete streets.

Screenshot of NJDOT Complete and Green Streets Model PolicyEquity was also a major focus of the morning plenary session, where panelists announced NJDOT’s new model complete and green streets policy and guide, a one-stop resource for New Jersey municipalities, counties, agencies, organizations, and advocates. It makes the connection between complete streets and health, economic development, green streets, and equitable transportation expenditures and project selection. 

Kandyce Perry, planning and policy manager at New Jersey Future, explained during the plenary that the model policy and guide has sample language to implement benchmarks, which track where and what kind of street upgrades are prioritized: “This illuminates whether the communities of greatest need actually receive complete streets upgrades and provides the data to support just decision-making to achieve equitable transportation outcomes.”

Complete and green street: A street for cars, people, and water

Complete streets programs are successful when decision-makers and advocates can communicate with strong and plain language about the importance of transportation equity and safety, said Vinn White, senior transportation advisor to Governor Murphy. The model policy and guide provides that language. “The model policy was developed from a ground-up approach from a coalition of advocates in partnership with NJDOT” to increase the likelihood that these principles make it from policy to implementation, said Vinn.

Our streets are crucial networks that can make or break the health and vitality of our communities. Courtney Nelson of the American Heart Association closed out the plenary best: “The road to a healthier future is a healthy road.”

Local Implementation Planning in Ridgewood Village Will Help Create Great Places to Age in New Jersey

October 14th, 2019 by Tanya Rohrbach

Tanya Rohrbach presentingIn light of an aging baby boomer population, towns across the country and state need to consider how to meet the needs of growing numbers of people over the age of 55. Aging-friendly communities are those that enable older adults to remain active, healthy, engaged, and capable of continuing to live in their communities. The built environment and land use patterns of a community are major determinants of livability factors like housing, mobility, and proximity to destinations and daily tasks. Because local decisions affect access to affordable or suitable housing, community services or employment, opportunities for social inclusion and physical activity, and transportation, New Jersey Future is engaging with municipal leaders and community members to implement community design for all ages in their towns.

As part of a two-phase program funded by The Henry & Marilyn Taub Foundation to create great places to age, New Jersey Future recently facilitated an implementation workshop in collaboration with aging-friendly coordinators from Westwood Borough, Teaneck Township, and Ridgewood Village. The leadership of Ridgewood Village has formed a steering committee to prioritize recommendations of the Aging-Friendly Land Use Analysis conducted by New Jersey Future. Going forward, the committee will work with New Jersey Future to develop an implementation plan. The workshop was the initial step in the implementation planning process and served to generate an enthusiastic discussion between Village stakeholders and decision-makers about what steps to take to ensure their community is a great place to grow up and grow old.

Trenton Holds its First Ciclovia

October 14th, 2019 by Kandyce Perry

Kids bikingDo you have memories of riding your bike or playing basketball in the street as a kid? Well, that is exactly what kids, and adults alike, had the opportunity to do during Trenton’s first Ciclovia last month. 

“Ciclovia” (pronounced “seek – low – VEE – uh”) means bikeway in Spanish. Ciclovias or Open Streets Festivals are programs that temporarily open streets to people and close them to cars. Pedestrian traffic replaces car traffic and the streets become ‘paved parks’, where people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can come out and improve their health. Ciclovia is a movement that originated in Bogota, Colombia back in the 1970s, but has been adopted by many cities in the United States including New Jersey (New Brunswick won a Complete Streets Excellence Award for its Ciclovia this year).

This time, it was Trenton’s turn

Ciclovia booth with people talking

A coalition of partners led by Tri-State Transportation Campaign planned the festival to encourage biking and walking and reclaim the streets for people. New Jersey Future participated in the planning effort as the convener of the city’s Green Team, one of the many partners that helped make the event happen. 

Other cities can do this too. But why? 

In Trenton, nearly 1 in 2 children ages 3-18 years are overweight or obese. Furthermore, Trenton children between ages 3-5 have an obesity rate that is more than twice the national average. 

Too often, most of our day-to-day routine of traveling to and from work or school is spent behind the wheel of a car. Add on preparing for work or school the next day and cooking dinner, and there is often not much time left to get active and moving. If there is time, maybe you do not live close enough to a park or gym. Maybe the walk or bike ride to the park or gym is unsafe. 

Man on tall bike

By removing the car from the equation for the day, Ciclovia provides an opportunity for neighbors to (re)connect, have fun, and talk about ways their streets can become important public health solutions.

Complete streets, roadways designed for all people that prevent flooding through green infrastructure, allow our streets to double as safe places for people to exercise, recreate, or consider alternative methods of travel. An increased culture of biking and walking can have a positive impact on businesses as well by providing their customers additional (and healthier) options for reaching their destinations.

Trenton has taken the first step to make this a reality. Will your town be next?

Watch a video about Trenton’s Ciclovia below.

Three Lessons for Reinventing the Suburbs

October 11th, 2019 by Peter Kasabach

Houses in the suburbsNew Jersey Future’s executive director Peter Kasabach joined three other experts (Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University and New Jersey Future board chair; Bret Morgan, co-founder of Cowerks; and Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development) at the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Economic Development Reinventing the Suburbs panel to unpack the top issues facing our suburbs, how we got to where we are today, and the obstacles these places confront as they look to reinvent themselves.  The panel took place on September 17 in Atlantic City.

Here were the top takeaways:

Tougher road for auto-centric suburbs. There are two types of suburbs: traditional town centers and auto-dependent. Traditional town centers, with a downtown, transit station, or Main Street will have an easier time creating walkable, compact, mixed-use centers that are growing in demand for both younger and older populations, while auto-dependent suburbs will have to work harder, be more creative and bolder. Both types of towns have enormous opportunities to use redevelopment as a tool for moving in the right direction.

Embrace change. While towns look to reinvent themselves, they will need to look to new change-makers and create a welcoming space for change to happen. Be flexible, try new ideas, bend standard operating procedures, and always look for opportunities to say “yes” when new ideas are presented that can make your town more walkable, compact, mixed-use and economically vibrant. Antiquated zoning that limits the mix of uses, multi-family housing, and taller buildings should be changed, since this can be one of the biggest obstacles for good redevelopment.

Leadership matters. In every case study the panel presented, the new, exciting project or program would not have happened if local leadership did not support it. Sometimes good local leadership means sticking your neck out and taking a risk, but it can also mean aligning government processes to help initiatives move forward in a timely way or sometimes even having government step back and get out of the way.

Where are the lead service lines in New Jersey?

October 3rd, 2019 by Gary Brune

New Jersey, along with states across the country, is confronting a public health threat: lead in drinking water. The primary source is lead service lines (LSLs), hose-sized pipes containing some amount of lead that connect water mains under the streets to buildings. But which communities are most at risk?

As of August, 2019, lead service lines have been found in 104 water systems, potentially exposing some portion of over 5 million residents who live in these service areas. Lead may also be present in pipes and plumbing in older homes, schools and other buildings. Some water utilities treat drinking water with corrosion control chemicals to minimize the leaching of lead from pipes and plumbing.

New Jersey Future mapped data that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) collected from community water systems to show the intensity of LSLs across the state. Most LSLs were installed before 1940, so older communities are more likely to have higher concentrations of the pipes.

 

If the map indicates the presence of LSLs in your community, you can contact your water utility to request more detailed information on water test results, and if available, the location of lead service lines. Your water utility can tell you if protective actions, such as installing an in-home filter or flushing your pipes, are recommended. You can also speak with them about how to determine if you have a lead service line and/or lead in indoor plumbing or fixtures. Community results are also available on DEP’s Drinking Water Watch website.

The information in DEP’s LSL inventory is dynamic, as inventory records are often updated based on ongoing field operations. The data used for this map was current as of August 15, 2019 and was gathered from the utilities’ lead and copper sampling plans and a survey issued by DEP. Some of the 104 water systems with LSLs provided verified locations of the pipes while others provided estimates based on records. Many systems that reported the presence of LSLs will likely find more, as there are another 150 water systems that either are not in a position to make an estimate or have submitted an inventory that has not yet been evaluated by DEP. Part of the LSLs are typically under the authority of the utility (the portion from the street to the curb) while the other portion is located on private property. The number of LSLs located beneath private property may be significantly underreported in the survey results to date. As a point of reference, the American Water Works Association estimates there are 350,000 LSLs in New Jersey, while DEP’s survey to date captures only 161,000.

A task force convened by Jersey Water Works, a collaborative of diverse organizations focused on transforming New Jersey’s inadequate water infrastructure and of which New Jersey Future is a member, will soon be releasing a report of recommendations for the state to virtually eliminate lead in drinking water in 10 years.

Explanation of Map Legend

Estimated Percent of Households with Lead Service Lines in Water Utility Service Area
Different intensities of LSL concentrations appear as different shades of red and pink on the map. They were calculated by dividing the known or estimated number of LSLs in the water utility service area by the estimated number of households. The estimated number of households was used instead of the total number of properties because LSLs are rarely found at commercial properties, though it is possible that some of the LSLs on this map serve small commercial buildings.

Zero Lead Service Lines Reported
329 water systems reported no lead service lines. (Those areas appear as blue space on the map.)

Under Review
This map segment reflects the 150 water systems that either are not in a position to make an estimate (i.e., often due to poor or incomplete inventory records) or that submitted an inventory that has not yet been evaluated by DEP. (Those areas are colored purple on the map.)

Well Water
Approximately 10% of the state population is served by private well water, which is not part of any water system reporting. (Those areas are colored white on the map.)

Methodology Used to Prepare the “Estimated Intensity of Lead Service Lines in NJ”

The estimated percent of housing units in a water service area having lead service lines is the ratio of the estimated number of LSLs in that water service area (from DEP) to the total number of housing units in the water service area. Counts of total housing units are available at the census tract level from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Earlier analysis by researchers at Rutgers University produced estimated population counts for water utility service areas. The counts were produced for GIS polygons by intersecting the GIS layers for census tracts, water service areas, and sewer service areas, allowing for the creation of a factor that indicates the population of a given GIS intersection polygon as a percent of the total population of its host census tract. Total housing unit counts for water service areas are constructed by summing the estimated housing unit counts for all GIS polygons contained in the water service area. The polygon estimates were then constructed using housing unit counts at the census tract level from the American Community Survey.

The table with estimated percent of housing units having a lead service line per water utility was joined in a GIS layer with water utility boundaries based on a unique identifier present in both tables. The map of lead service line estimates per utility was manually classified into 6 interval classes based on natural breaks in the data distribution. Water utility boundaries show GIS data as of 2017 for public community water purveyor service areas, as acquired from the DEP Open Data website on August 20, 2019.

Fight flooding and pollution with the updated Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit

September 5th, 2019 by Kandyce Perry

Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit logo and cover imageHave you seen the award-winning Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit?

The Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit is perfect for community leaders who want to manage stormwater sustainably, reduce localized flooding, and improve water quality. When NJDEP adopts stormwater rule amendments later this year that require the use of green infrastructure, the Toolkit will be an especially valuable resource to New Jersey cities and towns.

The Toolkit is a one-stop online resource that helps communities implement successful green infrastructure projects. It’s full of information about planning, implementing, and sustaining green infrastructure to manage stormwater — and it contains direct links to Sustainable Jersey’s green infrastructure actions, which can earn up to 20 points each. 

Here’s what’s new:

New Complete and Green Streets Model Policy and Guide

With support and input from New Jersey Future, Jersey Water Works Green Infrastructure Committee, and many other partners (see page ii), the New Jersey Department of Transportation just released Complete and Green Streets for All: Model Complete Streets Policy and Guide, which provides guidance for municipalities, counties, and transportation agencies to create effective complete streets policies that are safe for all users. We are especially excited that the inclusion of green infrastructure means roads can act as stormwater management assets, instead of simply channeling stormwater into existing gray infrastructure systems. The model policy also includes language for addressing health, economic development, and equity, and it provides strengthened implementation mechanisms. Read more.

New Resources

Additional Green Street Resources:

Stormwater Utilities

In March 2019, New Jersey joined more than 40 other states in allowing local and regional government entities to establish stormwater utilities. Like energy and water utilities, a stormwater utility provides stormwater management services to its customers  for a fee, which is used to maintain and improve public stormwater management systems, including green infrastructure. This is an important new option for jurisdictions in New Jersey that struggle with storm-related flooding and polluted runoff. To learn more about stormwater utilities in New Jersey, please visit New Jersey Future’s stormwater utilities resource page.

For Planners and Local Decision-Makers

For Engineers and Other Design Professionals:  

General

Find all these resources and more on the Toolkit’s Resources page.
Do you know a resource we should include? Email us  (jmcbrideatnjfuturedotorg)  !

 

Stormwater Camp 2019

Stormwater Camp was filled with field trips and hands-on activities designed to help campers in grades 5-7 understand the connection between rainfall, runoff, the rivers and lakes they love, the wildlife that surrounds them, and the water flowing into and out of their homes. Read more.

 

Upcoming events

Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit in the News

The Toolkit was developed in consultation with the Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit Advisory Committee, a group of more than 20 municipal leaders and experts. It is a product of New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure program, which aims to move green stormwater infrastructure practices into the mainstream.

Would you like more green infrastructure updates in the future? Sign up for our mailing list.

Share the Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit on social media! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn (@newjerseyfuture). Use these hashtags: #NJGIToolkit #MainstreamingGI #greeninfrastructure #stormwater

Green infrastructure resource wins national award

September 3rd, 2019 by New Jersey Future staff

Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit logo and tagline: from stormwater to clean water

New Jersey Future’s Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit has been honored with an Excellence in Communications Award from the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA). This award celebrates outstanding communications projects that inform the public about flood awareness, pollution prevention, and environmental protection. 

The Toolkit, which debuted in November 2018, is a one-stop resource for communities that are interested in managing stormwater runoff in a more effective and sustainable way by using green infrastructure. Rather than routing rain into traditional “gray” pipes, most green infrastructure allows rainfall and snowmelt to soak into the ground, filtering out pollutants, recharging groundwater supplies, and protecting against floods. Some green infrastructure practices such as cisterns and wet ponds capture rainwater for irrigation or other beneficial uses. Green infrastructure has become increasingly prominent as a stormwater management tool. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection soon will require the use of green infrastructure in new development to meet the state’s standards for water quality, groundwater recharge, and volume control. 

“Local leaders are keenly interested in clean water, clean air, attractive streetscapes, and in general doing all they can to create and sustain a high quality of life in their communities,” said Louise Wilson, New Jersey Future’s director of green infrastructure. “Green infrastructure contributes to all of those goals, and in this era of climate change, it’s one of the most effective ways to make downtowns and neighborhoods a bit cooler, less flood-prone, and more appealing places to live, work, and spend leisure time.”

“With the rule change that’s coming later this year, green stormwater infrastructure won’t be just a good way for towns to ‘go green’ and supplement traditional gray infrastructure,” Wilson noted. “Green infrastructure becomes the required first choice. The Toolkit helps municipalities know how to do what they will have to do. We’re proud of it. And we’re delighted to have worked with such a talented team of municipal advisors and consultants to pull it all together.”

“The Toolkit was developed because New Jersey Future’s initial green infrastructure grant specified that we work with towns in designated geographic areas,” said Kandyce Perry, planning and policy manager at New Jersey Future. “In the course of that work, we amassed a wide array of green infrastructure resources and best practices and wanted to share those resources statewide. Developing the Toolkit made those resources available to everyone, at no cost.”

The Toolkit offers practical advice and resources for local elected officials, planning and zoning board members, environmental commissions, and anyone else involved in the design and implementation of municipal projects. It provides information on how to plan, implement, and sustain green infrastructure. It also includes videos highlighting success stories and case studies. For municipalities involved in the Sustainable Jersey program, it links to green infrastructure actions that are eligible for certification points. 

“I have found the planning and ordinance text examples in the plan section of the website to be particularly helpful and have incorporated some of this language in redevelopment plans for several municipalities,” reflected Kendra Lelie, senior associate at Clarke Caton Hintz, the lead consultant who developed the Toolkit. “I also appreciate the guidance about site-specific assessment, which is useful for both professionals and volunteers. These and other Toolkit resources show you how to think differently about stormwater management.”

Picture of Kandyce Perry and Louise Wilson

Kandyce Perry and Louise Wilson

New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure program staff, Louise Wilson and Kandyce Perry, developed the Toolkit in consultation with the Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit Advisory Committee, a group of more than 20 municipal leaders and experts. The Toolkit was assembled and designed by a professional team of consultants, including Clarke Caton Hintz; Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program; Princeton Hydro; BRS, Inc.; and FZ Creative. 

While the Toolkit was developed with New Jersey in mind, most of it can be used by any community in any state. It creates a replicable model for helping municipalities establish green infrastructure nationwide.

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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