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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 »

New County Population Estimates: More of the Same Changes

April 24th, 2019 by Tim Evans

  • Map Courtesy of

    New Jersey’s population growth continues to be most pronounced in the North Jersey urban core of Hudson, Essex, Union, and Bergen counties; this is a stark contrast with the 1990s and early 2000s, when most growth was in suburban and exurban counties

  • Growth in New York City has ground to a halt, however; four of the five boroughs (all except Staten Island) have lost population in both of the last two years
  • Philadelphia – which has much lower housing costs than New York City – continues to grow at a rate comparable to the urbanized counties of North Jersey
  • Growth has tentatively returned to the exurban frontier of northeastern Pennsylvania, though not to northwestern New Jersey
  • Far southern New Jersey continues to languish, a victim of both a weak Atlantic City economy and a shortage of downtowns that appeal to Millennials

The Census Bureau last week released county population estimates for 2018, along with revised annual estimates for earlier years since the 2010 census. The picture for New Jersey between 2017 and 2018 looks a lot like it has all decade, with the fastest growth happening in the North Jersey urban core and with the northwestern exurbs and far southern New Jersey continuing to languish. Read the rest of this entry »

Are Millennials Leaving New Jersey Because Housing Costs Too Much?

April 22nd, 2019 by Tim Evans

What do the compact, walkable counties that attract New Jersey’s out-migrating Millennials – and the ones that don’t – tell us about why Millennials are leaving? Part 4 of a series investigating where New Jersey’s out-migrating Millennials are going.

New Jersey Future intern Alexandra Rome assembled the migration data on which this analysis is based.

  • When Millennials leave New Jersey, they are usually looking for compact, walkable, transit-friendly places
  • In particular, they are often looking for compact, walkable, transit-friendly places with lower housing costs than New Jersey’s
  • New Jersey has a lot of compact, walkable, transit-friendly places, but perhaps most of them are too expensive for young adults to afford

In parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, we looked at the most common destinations, by county, for adults who move from New Jersey to other parts of the United States, and explored how the preferred destinations of Millennials differ from those of older out-migrants. The results were consistent with the documented preference for compact, walkable, mixed-use places expressed by the Millennial generation within New Jersey. In part 4, we look at the specific counties that are attracting a lot of New Jersey Millennials – and some of the ones that aren’t – and consider what these counties might tell us about what Millennials want that they aren’t finding in New Jersey. (Once again we restrict our analysis to migrants age 20 and older, using migration data by age from the 2010 and 2015 editions of the American Community Survey combined.) Read the rest of this entry »

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