July 13, 2022
Dear Friends,
On behalf of New Jersey Future, I would like to thank all of our partners, participants, speakers, and sponsors in making the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference a big success, with a special shout-out to our title sponsor PSEG. This year’s hybrid conference, which we co-hosted with APA New Jersey, was a new experiment for us. We produced a hybrid experience with two days of virtual sessions followed by an in-person day at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. The conference featured 36 sessions and over 150 speakers. It was truly remarkable to reconvene after years of social distancing and to connect in person over the issues and challenges we face together as New Jerseyans.

This special edition of our NJF newsletter is your opportunity to read up on our engaging sessions, featuring expert panelists and speakers from a variety of disciplines and industries. Follow the links to our recaps highlighted below to learn about our four exceptional plenary discussions, and an additional nine panel sessions, daylighting issues including transportation equity, housing affordability, climate-resilient development, and lead-free water infrastructure.

Various key themes and questions emerged and were tackled throughout the conference: How will we spend the large influx of federal and state infrastructure funds? How do we ensure that lower-income communities and communities of color will benefit from these investments and related planning and land-use decisions? How do we implement climate change mitigation and adaptation policies with a renewed sense of urgency? How do we make sure that redevelopment continues to be our primary form of development in New Jersey? And how do we plan and invest in a way that not only moves us forward, but corrects past damages and injustices?

Please enjoy reading about all of the great discussions and sessions we were honored to co-host with APA New Jersey. And remember that if you registered for the conference you can still access the recorded sessions. We hope you will join us in our collective effort to foster a vibrant future for all New Jersey.

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director
“Think about culture [and] what curating a downtown really means,” invited Natalie Pineiro, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, at the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association. Pineiro’s comment implored viewers of the breakout session, The Business of Redevelopment, to consider the importance of including diverse voices in planning for downtown revitalization and redevelopment of communities, especially small business owners and community members.
Lead-contaminated paint, water, and soil disproportionately affect young children, causing serious medical and behavioral issues into adulthood, and low-income communities and/or communities of color are most at risk, due to systemic inequities. However, these issues can be prevented by targeting the sources of lead and remediating them. Read More.
“In this era of racial reckoning, especially triggered by the murder of George Floyd, we have to pause and ask what our role is as a profession, what responsibility we have had in creating the societies in which we live, and how we rectify [problems] with an equity lens,” stated Eleanor Sharpe, deputy director for planning and zoning in the City of Philadelphia, a panelist in the first plenary session of the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted by New Jersey Future and and the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association. Read More.
Industries devoted to the movement and storage of goods are a pillar of New Jersey’s economy, providing jobs to nearly one out of every eight employed New Jersey residents. Growth in e-commerce and in the volume of international trade arriving at the country’s second-busiest port, the major facilities of which are located in North Jersey, are creating unprecedented demand for warehouse space. Read More.
Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that shape their health and well-being. In other words, these are the non-medical factors that impact health outcomes. Social determinants of health include traditional planning domains such as transportation, housing, green spaces, and social domains like good schools and access to good jobs. Read More.
“The benefits of green infrastructure are boundless,” says Jennifer Gonzalez, Director of Environmental Services and Chief Sustainability Officer in Hoboken. Green infrastructure (practices like rain gardens, green roofs, and rain barrels that capture stormwater) can brighten towns through more beautiful streetscapes, reduced flooding, improved health of both people and ecosystems, and increased pollinator habitat. Read More.
“Streets make-up up to 80% of every communities’ public space. What if we start to think of streets as places for people, as well as places to move and store cars?” Moderator Laura Torchio of NV5 asked viewers to consider streets as places during the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference. Read More.
“Inclusion means different things for different people,” stated Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. “[With] the vast demand for accessible nature, [people are looking for] inclusion, not just being out in nature. That might mean a stable trail, being able to paddle…,” continued Montgomery as a panelist at the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference (NJPRC), sponsored by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association. Read More.
Transportation emissions comprise over 40% of New Jersey’s total greenhouse gases (GHG). Expanding bus and rail transportation options beyond cars not only addresses reduction of GHGs, it also increases affordability and improves general public health by getting transit users to walk or bike to popular modes of mass transit. Read More.
With a record state surplus and billions of dollars of federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), New Jersey communities enjoy a rare opportunity to address redevelopment challenges, explained Peter Kasabach, New Jersey Future’s executive director. But a “lack of readiness” will be their biggest obstacle to accessing those funds, asserted New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. Read More.
New Jersey is facing an acute housing shortage. Nationally, we are millions of housing units short of meeting demand, and the situation is proportionally worse in New Jersey. That was the big-picture message delivered by Debra Tantleff, founding principal of Tantum Real Estate, to kick off the session on The State of Housing in New Jersey at the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference, hosted jointly by New Jersey Future and the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association. Read More.
Throughout the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference, co hosts New Jersey Future and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association sought to convene panels featuring industry experts and community leaders. As one would expect with a “redevelopment” conference, themes of successful and sustainable redevelopment were highlighted in depth, while experts also attempted to educate attendees on diversity and inclusivity practices when developing housing and commercial spaces aimed at improving the lives of New Jersey residents. Read More.
New Jersey faces major challenges with the dual threat of climate change and housing unaffordability. While at face value, these two issues seem to pertain to natural or built environments, respectively, the two are inseparably linked and must be addressed in tandem. At the 2022 NJ Planning and Redevelopment Conference, co-hosted by New Jersey Future and the American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter (APA-NJ), the intersection of housing and the environment was given center stage during the lunch plenary session. Read More.
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Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities; protect natural lands and waterways; increase transportation choices beyond cars; provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods; and fuel a strong economy for everyone. New Jersey Future does this through original research, innovative policy development, coalition-building, advocacy, and hands-on strategic assistance. Embracing differences and advancing fairness is central to New Jersey Future’s mission and operations. New Jersey Future is firmly committed to pursuing greater justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through its programs, internal operations, and external communications.