Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Op-Ed Articles

  • The Vehicle Emissions Reduction Strategy No One’s Talking About

    October 15, 2018 -- It’s not enough to promote the use of alternative fuels in New Jersey. We must reduce the total number of miles driven — and to do that, we need to rethink how and where we build.

  • Let's Be Smart About Community Solar

    September 17, 2018 -- New Jersey has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft rules for community solar installations that will bring substantial benefit to communities that heretofore have not had access to solar energy.

  • We Need Real Solutions to N.J. Water Woes

    September 6, 2018 -- Let's start viewing combined sewer overflows and polluted runoff as the economic threats they are.

  • Tested Solution Addresses Flooding, Polluted Runoff

    June 19, 2018 -- A solution proven in 40 states could help New Jersey control flooding and polluted runoff.

  • New Jersey Needs Its Downtowns. Here’s How To Strengthen Them.

    May 7, 2018 -- As demand for downtowns grows, resources to revitalize these districts must grow too.

  • How Can We Keep Millennials in New Jersey? Give Them Great Places To Live and Work

    April 10, 2018 -- Towns that find their “center” and create authentic, walkable experiences for businesses and residents have a better chance to attract Millennials

  • Thank Millennials for Growth

    March 2018 -- Millennials are opting out of car-dependent suburban subdivisions, driving a trend of redevelopment in cities, towns, and older suburbs.

  • A Chance To Get Economic Incentives Right

    January 8, 2018 -- New Jersey's economic incentive program is expensive and lacks return on investment. It's time to rethink the goals of this program.

  • Report Outlines Resiliency Options for Coastal Towns

    December 17, 2017 -- As hurricanes Sandy, Joaquin and Jonas have shown us, the patterns of development that characterize the New Jersey coast have left many people and structures dangerously vulnerable.

  • A Year One Clean-Water Agenda for New Jersey

    November 30, 2017 -- It’s time for New Jersey to become a leader once again in protecting our residents and economy through smart, innovative investments in water systems.

  • More Roads Won't Fix Our Traffic Problem

    October 30, 2017 -- More roads won't fix New Jersey's traffic problem.

  • Rethinking the Future of the Shore in an Age of Climate Change

    October 15, 2017 -- New Jersey's 130 linear miles of coastline and 239 coastal towns remain as vulnerable to another hurricane as they were in 2012.

  • The Work Before the Storm

    September 17, 2017 -- New Jersey is lagging on planning for sea level rise.

  • Despite the 'Summer of Hell,' We Should Be Increasing Transit Ridership

    August 23, 2017 -- We should work toward a long-term goal of getting more people off the roads and onto transit.

  • Suburban sprawl is out. Smart growth, redevelopment and transit stations are in.

    June 11, 2017 -- New Census municipal data confirm that urban centers and urbanized suburbs are seeing robust growth.

  • Despite Misleading Headlines, New Jersey is Still Growing. Here’s How We Can Grow More.

    December 22, 2016 -- The Census Bureau's annual population estimates show that New Jersey’s population grew by 19,169 from 2014 to 2015. While this growth rate of 0.2 percent is small, it is still positive. Nonetheless, if we want to boost the state’s growth, it’s important to focus on all the reasons for the outmigration, and what we can do to reduce it.

  • Transportation Funding Stalemate Hurts New Jersey’s Economic Competitiveness

    July 18, 2016 -- New Jersey appears unwilling to keep its promise of sustained investment in its transportation network. Our failure to break the current impasse over funding the Transportation Trust Fund – a financial repository established expressly to ensure that our transportation infrastructure can be kept up to date – is beginning to send a clear signal to the business community that it will no longer be able to rely on a key piece of New Jersey’s economic infrastructure.

  • NJ Transit Fare Increase Is An Unfair Approach to Transportation Funding

    May 15, 2015 -- NJ Transit has proposed to increase its fares an average of 9 percent, effective Oct. 1, 2015. This would be the first fare increase in five years; the last fare increase averaged 22 percent.

  • A Grownup’s Christmas Wishlist for New Jersey (from a land-use perspective)

    Dec. 15, 2014 -- New Jersey Future's wish list for 2015 -- adequate transportation funding; homes that are affordable; updated statewide water supply plan; a new tunnel under the Hudson River; protection from future storms and a new State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

  • 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 New Jersey; Protecting our Future

    Oct. 22, 2014 -- At the ballot box this Nov. 4, the Legislature has given the citizens a new opportunity to support and fund open-space, farmland and historic preservation, by approving a re-allocation of a portion of the share of corporate business taxes that is currently dedicated to various environmental programs.

  • Many Older Residents in New Jersey Live in Aging-Unfriendly Places

    March 19, 2014 -- A research report recently released by New Jersey Future, Creating Places to Age in New Jersey, evaluates municipalities’ land-use patterns based on how well designed they are to accommodate the changing mobility needs of an aging population.

  • Paying Attention to New Jersey’s Future

    Oct. 18, 2013 -- One of the most difficult things successful political leaders must do is to make decisions on behalf of their constituents that might be politically unpopular in the short term, but help to secure a more stable future for generations to come. New Jersey’s current economic stagnation brings this challenge into sharp focus: How can we invest the state’s limited funds strategically in ways that respect immediate budget needs but make the state more prosperous and globally competitive for the long term?

  • Planning with the Future in Mind – or Not?

    Sept. 23, 2013 -- It's time to connect the dots between sea level rise and post-Sandy recovery planning.

  • Time for New Jersey to be Smarter than the Storm

    Sept. 4, 2013 -- Of all the recommendations that came out of President Obama's Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Strategy, there is one that will help inform much of the other recovery planning that is currently being done: Incorporate projected sea-level rise into all decision-making.

  • In Targeting State Incentives, Location Matters

    Jan. 13, 2013 -- Two of the most successful and popular economic incentive programs – the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit and the Economic Redevelopment and Growth program – are proposed to change. One of the strongest themes that run through these two programs is that they have powerful smart-growth location-based criteria that provide incentives for businesses to grow in places with the appropriate infrastructure and not in places with important environmental features or that will be more costly for the state.

  • Planning Where the State Will Grow Must Take Into Account the Weather

    Nov. 20, 2012: The State Strategic Plan is a framework, a guiding document of only 41 pages that promotes sound planning but doesn’t attempt to do the actual planning work. Any changes in it to address the need for resiliency should remain high-level and provide the parameters within which to make changes, but not prescribe the actual changes.

  • Up on a Rooftop: Aligning Solar Subsidies with Good Public Policy

    May 31, 2012 -- Over the past decade, solar power has become increasingly popular in New Jersey, for a host of good reasons. Solar energy is clean and renewable. It reduces our carbon footprint and our dependence on foreign sources of petroleum. Solar has the potential to meet an ever-larger percentage of New Jersey’s energy needs far into the future.

  • Consolidating county’s school districts would yield benefits beyond cost savings

    February 9, 2012 - Hunterdon County leaders are looking into the idea of consolidating the county’s more than two dozen school districts into a single, countywide district.

  • Christie Administration Can Support Growth and Reduce Environmental Damage … If It Commits to Updating Wastewater Plans

    January 20, 2012 -- Press coverage of S3156, the recently signed law to change New Jersey’s water quality rule, has been dominated by two opposing positions. The building community has insisted that the existing rule be scaled back and delayed to allow more opportunities for development projects on open lands in order to create jobs and jump-start the economy. Environmentalists, meanwhile, have focused on the bill’s adverse impact on the state’s drinking water supplies.

  • How Will the Garden State Grow?

    December 27, 2011 -- New Jersey has grown and developed during the past quarter-century in much the same way as it did during the half-century that preceded it—ever outward, from established places where infrastructure already exists to sprawling suburbs that encroach on environmentally sensitive areas.

  • Plan for population growth in our cities rather than suburban, rural towns

    November 16, 2011 -- New Jersey is well-positioned to enter a period of vigorous economic growth built around redevelopment of our cities and towns, taking maximum advantage of our superior location, our skilled workforce, our comprehensive transit network and our commitment to a healthy, sustainable environment.

  • Corner Office: A strategic plan to help N.J. capitalize on its assets

    November 7, 2011 -- New Jersey has many assets, the Governor’s Institute noted — an educated and skilled work force, access to large markets, elite universities, medical and research facilities, and cultural and natural amenities that make the state a desirable place to establish or grow a business.

  • New State Strategic Plan Reflects New Jersey Residents’ Wishes

    Oct. 28, 2011 -- The new State Strategic Plan can succeed where the earlier State Development and Redevelopment Plan failed -- but only if Gov. Christie stands strongly behind it.

  • New Jersey Must Stop Growing Out—and Start Growing Up

    October 21, 2011 -- According to a recent Monmouth University poll, New Jerseyans want to live in walkable communities with access to amenities and transportation choices besides cars. It's time we turned our resources toward inward-bound redevelopment instead of outward-bound sprawl.

  • Large-Lot Zoning Responsible for Rapid Loss of Open Lands

    July 31, 2011 -- The Rowan report found that the majority of land developed for residential uses over the study period occurred outside of the “smart growth areas” that the State Plan indicates as being most appropriate for development.

  • Energy Master Plan Falls Short on Transportation

    June 16, 2011 -- Transportation is by far the largest consumer of energy in New Jersey, as well as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the draft Energy Master Plan released by the Christie administration last week—a plan whose stated purpose is to lay out a strategy for meeting the state’s future energy needs—barely mentions transportation.

  • Price Incentives Based on Proximity to Urban Areas

    April 25, 2011 -- The state should establish a hierarchy of business location incentives based on conformance with its smart-growth goals.

  • Keep Commitment to Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

    April 8, 2011 -- If Gov. Christie withdraws New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), it will be virtually impossible for the state to be a national leader in the green economy.

  • Another Link to Affordable Housing

    March 3, 2011 -- We agree with Gov. Christie that the current concentration of poverty justifies requiring less lower-income housing in weak-market urban areas than in strong-market growth areas and job centers.

  • ARC Tunnel: The Best Solution in an Imperfect World

    Sept. 25, 2010 -- Given the transportation needs of the region, and the physical constraints within which this tunnel must be built, the choice is not between the ARC project and some perfectly crafted alternative, it is between this project and no project — and that is really no choice at all.

  • Cutting Red Tape Will Aid Planning Efforts

    April 29, 2010 -- Gov. Christie deserves praise for Red Tape Review Group proposal to streamline and strengthen state planning, smart growth functions.

  • State's Tax Structure Warps Land-Use Decisions

    Oct. 12, 2009 -- A recent Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll offers some surprising insights into what New Jersey residents are willing to do to address the problem of high property taxes—including taking some significant steps that would improve the way land-use decisions are made, and allow for more regional governance and cost-sharing.

  • What's the Future of Affordable Housing?

    Aug. 30, 2009 -- New Jersey is a national leader in providing housing opportunities for all income levels, but there is no consensus on how these opportunities should be provided.

  • Where Jobs Have Gone, Affordable Housing Hasn't

    May 4, 2009 -- Job growth has been moving out of urban centers, but affordable housing hasn't followed. Municipalities that are growing jobs will need to find ways to supply more affordable housing units for those workers.

  • Trains Can Revitalize, Not Just Move Passengers

    March 29, 2009 -- Only one of the Delaware River Port Authority's three proposed plans for extension of its PATCO rail line into Gloucester County would serve both to relieve congestion and to revitalize historic town centers.


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