Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


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Meet our summer 2019 interns!

August 12th, 2019 by Emily Eckart

New Jersey Future’s internship program is developing the next generation of thinkers in smart growth. We offer graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to assist us with various projects, including research, writing, communications, and administration. We appreciate their wide-ranging contributions! See a list of our previous interns and learn how to apply. 

Here is what this summer’s interns worked on, in their own words.

Teun Deuling and Emily Simroth

Teun Deuling and Emily Simroth

Teun Deuling
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University
Field of Study: City and Regional Planning

I am a graduate student in City and Regional Planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. I graduated cum laude from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, in 2014 obtaining a degree in Public Policy and Law. I am particularly interested in how to address challenges in our built environment, such as brownfield redevelopment and healthy aging, through the application of land use instruments. Prior to attending Rutgers, I was directly involved in developing a model land use plan which enables Dutch municipalities to regulate and foster the transition towards renewable energy.

At New Jersey Future, I worked with Tanya Rohrbach on completing an “Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions” guide. Unfortunately, the built environment of many communities in New Jersey does not accommodate the needs of an aging population in terms of housing, transportation, and walkable downtowns. The guide will help local leaders and residents to formulate and implement land use decisions aimed at creating aging-friendly communities. As a co-author, I developed the guide by compiling existing literature, creating case studies of best practices, and participating in the participatory planning process with communities.

Miles Franklin
University of Chicago
Major: Environmental and Urban Studies

Miles Franklin standing next to map of New Jersey

Miles Franklin

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning with Moriah Kinberg at New Jersey Future. I worked on two projects: reading and analyzing Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plans (LTCPs), and filming the Adopt-A-Catch Basin public service announcement for the City of Paterson. The first project was the most intensive. I was responsible for condensing reports that exceeded 1,000 pages into smaller, more manageable pieces of information. The second project gave me the opportunity to coordinate, direct, and write a public announcement for a township via a YouTube video. Outside of these two major projects, I also worked with Emily Eckart to take stock photos for New Jersey Future to use in presentations and blog posts. This internship allowed me to hone my social, professional, and time management skills, all while working in a field directly related to my Environmental and Urban Studies undergraduate major.

Emily Simroth
University of Michigan
Major: Double Major in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing and Literature

This summer I worked with Gary Brune, supporting the development of the Jersey Water Works Lead in Drinking Water Task Force report through policy research and writing. During the earlier weeks of my internship, I researched lead policy options and drafted policy overviews for discussion by the task force subcommittees. Often my research focused on analyzing the actions that other states and towns have taken to address lead in drinking water to determine if New Jersey can benefit from their methods. I identified potential obstacles to implementation and equity concerns, as well as key questions for discussion. Following the mid-summer meeting of the entire task force, I provided additional investigation of unresolved policy issues and assisted with the organization of the final report recommendations. Throughout the summer, I also took meeting notes at subcommittee and task force meetings. During my internship, I learned a great deal about the complex policy issues surrounding lead in drinking water, and I look forward to following what actions the state of New Jersey takes to address this health threat.

Kenzie Smith

Kenzie Smith

Kenzie Smith
Gettysburg College
Major: Double Major in Environmental Science and Public Policy; Minor in Writing

I worked with New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure team (Louise Wilson) to evaluate the progress of moving green infrastructure to the forefront of stormwater management practices. I created and distributed a survey that sought to gauge understanding of and involvement with green infrastructure among developers and design professionals. The results indicated that understanding and interest have increased in the last three years, but involvement has only moderately increased. This disconnect is likely due to a perception of higher costs associated with green infrastructure. I also gathered an extensive inventory of green infrastructure practices in the five New Jersey Future pilot towns: Bridgeton, Byram, Evesham, Hammonton, and Newton. The inventory found nearly 50 acres of drainage area being managed by green infrastructure practices. I also researched individual sites that make extensive use of green infrastructure, so that the information may be included in the new update to New Jersey Future’s Developers’ Green Infrastructure Guide as examples of successful green infrastructure. 

Read Kenzie’s blog post about how changes to New Jersey’s stormwater rule could affect engineers.

Program manager Jyoti Venketraman to be honored

August 12th, 2019 by Missy Rebovich

New Jersey Future is proud to share that Jyoti Venketraman, program manager, will be recognized at New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (NJCASA) September Celebration of Champions for her work preventing sexual violence in New Jersey. 

Jyoti Venketraman headshot

Jyoti Venketraman

Jyoti joined New Jersey Future in June after a decades-long career at NJCASA, where she provided expertise and leadership in many facets of New Jersey’s sexual violence movement including prevention, direct service, campus professionals, and accessibility for underserved populations. She also led program evaluation efforts that expanded knowledge-building for the field. 

At New Jersey Future, Jyoti is working with the Jersey Water Works collaborative to create a data dashboard that will accelerate the improvement of water infrastructure. This project will offer consumers, utilities, and regulators easy access to data showing the condition of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems and whether they are improving or getting worse. The dashboard will implement the Jersey Water Works Water measurement system by providing a robust, online, publicly-accessible data metrics system that showcases system condition and progress toward the Jersey Water Works goals. The dashboard will serve as a repository for JWW data, inform data-driven decision making, promote transparency, and serve as a resource for the water sector.

The September Celebration of Champions will be held September 19, 2019 at Hamilton Manor in Hamilton, NJ.

Apply for a 2020 Smart Growth Award!

July 16th, 2019 by Emily Eckart

2020 Smart Growth Awards logoNew Jersey Future is accepting applications for the 2020 Smart Growth Awards.

Our annual awards program celebrates the best New Jersey projects and initiatives that enhance economic opportunity, community vitality, sustainability, and quality of life. Entries are judged by an independent panel of experts in various aspects of growth and development. Winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony in June 2020.

We’re looking for submissions with the following characteristics:

  • Are they near existing development and infrastructure?
  • Do they create or enhance connections to existing developments or plans?
  • Do they create or enhance a vibrant mix of uses (residential, retail, office)?
  • Do they protect or enhance open space, farmland, parks, and critical environmental areas?
  • Do they increase the range of housing options available (size, type, affordability)?
  • Do they create or enhance transportation choices?
  • Do their designs foster walkability and activities at the street level?
  • Do they improve resiliency to natural hazards?
  • Do they employ green infrastructure techniques to manage stormwater?
  • Do they respect community character, design, and historic features?
  • Do they utilize green or regenerative design techniques and materials?

The application deadline is in January, but it takes time to assemble the required materials. We encourage you to get started today!

Read about previous award winners.

Download Smart Growth Awards guidelines and application materials.

2020 Redevelopment Forum: Save the date and submit suggestions

July 16th, 2019 by Emily Eckart

Attendees at 2019 Redevelopment Forum exhibits

2019 Redevelopment Forum at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Save the date! New Jersey Future’s 15th annual Redevelopment Forum is scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Redevelopment is the best way for New Jersey to achieve efficient, equitable, and sustainable growth for decades to come. It allows us to re-use infrastructure, maintain and improve our communities, and preserve open space. More than 500 professionals from a wide range of fields attend this annual conference to share innovative ideas, learn best practices, and make our state a better place for tomorrow. You can read more about past Redevelopment Forums here.

We want to incorporate your ideas as we develop this year’s program. What’s new in the field of redevelopment? What thought leaders should we be following? What sessions or topics would you like to see? Do you know the perfect speaker or panelist?

Use this form to submit 2020 Redevelopment Forum suggestions. We appreciate your input!

Update: 2020 Redevelopment Forum suggestions are now closed.

New Jersey Future is speaking at an Energy Master Plan stakeholder meeting (and you can, too!)

July 16th, 2019 by Missy Rebovich

People walking in downtown Bordentown

Downtown Bordentown. Photo courtesy of JGSC Group.

New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities released its draft Energy Master Plan last month and has scheduled six stakeholder meetings on three days over the coming months:

  • Stakeholder meetings 1 & 2: Wednesday, July 17 from 10 am to 1 pm and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the State House Annex, Committee Room 4 (131-137 West State Street, Trenton, NJ).
  • Stakeholder meetings 3 & 4: Thursday, August 8 from 1 pm to 4 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the Larson Auditorium at Seton Hall Law School (One Newark Center, Newark, NJ).
  • Stakeholder meetings 5 & 6: Thursday, September 12 from 1 pm to 4 pm and 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the Black Box Theater at the Kroc Center (1865 Harrison Way, Camden, NJ).

New Jersey Future’s Tim Evans will be speaking at the afternoon meeting on July 17 on the importance of reducing vehicle miles traveled in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After all, what better way to curb pollution from the transportation sector than to reduce the need for driving altogether? If you are unable to attend this meeting, you can read our submitted comments here.

If you are interested in speaking at any of the meetings, make sure to register by noon the previous day.

Proposed stormwater rule change means green infrastructure training for municipal engineers

June 24th, 2019 by Kenzie Smith

Six months after proposing significant amendments to New Jersey’s stormwater management rules NJAC 7:8), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is working diligently on responses to public comments. One of the proposed amendments signals a paradigm shift in design methods of stormwater management systems toward sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

Population Growth in Older Centers (but not all of them) Continues To Outstrip the Rest of the State

June 3rd, 2019 by Tim Evans

Jersey City which is enjoying growth rates not seen since the 1930s.

The Census Bureau last week released municipal population estimates for 2018, and the story is similar to what it has been all decade: Redevelopment continues to be the name of the game in New Jersey.

The eight urban centers identified by the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, New Brunswick, and Atlantic City) as a group have accounted for 18.6 percent of statewide population growth from 2010 to 2018, after having contributed only 4.0 percent of growth in the 2000s and only 1.5 percent in the 1990s. (However, this combined growth statistic does mask some important variation among the individual cities, as will be noted below.) Read the rest of this entry »

Focus on Water for Infrastructure Week

May 21st, 2019 by Ed DiFiglia

Each year, Infrastructure Week offers a nationwide week-long series of events designed to bring attention to the need for investment in infrastructure of all kinds — roads, bridges, transit, broadband, energy and water. This year, New Jersey Future and Jersey Water Works celebrated Infrastructure Week by hosting three events that focused on water infrastructure, as well as publishing several articles drawing attention to the specific problems facing water infrastructure in the state. Read the rest of this entry »

Job Growth Finally Following Population to Compact Centers

May 3rd, 2019 by Tim Evans

  • Aerial view of Newark, which has seen the largest improvement in private-sector job numbers since 2014.

    Population growth began returning to compact, walkable places starting around 2008

  • Job growth, in contrast, did not appear to be following suit – the 2008-2014 period still looked a lot like 1999-2008
  • From 2014 to 2017, though, jobs appear to be belatedly following people (especially Millennials) back into cities and older suburban downtowns

Population growth began returning to compact, walkable centers back in the mid-to-late 2000s, as the Millennial generation began aging into young adulthood and expressing their preference for walkable urbanism. But a similar trend had not manifested itself in the geographic distribution of job growth – until now. Read the rest of this entry »

Community Solar Pilot Program Now Accepting Applications

May 3rd, 2019 by New Jersey Future staff

This article was written by Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU).

As the cost of renewable energy continues to drop, “going solar” becomes a viable option for more New Jerseyans. Over 100,000 homes and businesses in our state now benefit from solar, many of which are seeing savings on their utility bills. Governor Phil Murphy and NJBPU are advancing renewables in the Garden State. However, not everyone is able put solar panels directly on their roof. To address that, New Jersey just launched its first Community Solar Energy Pilot Program, and started accepting applications in April. This pilot program is intended to increase access to solar energy for New Jersey ratepayers. Read the rest of this entry »

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