October 14, 2021
Dear Friends,
Beginning with Indigenous Peoples’ Day and closing with the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, this week marks a time to not only recognize, but honor, New Jersey’s diverse communities. While New Jersey Future looks ahead toward a more resilient and equitable tomorrow, we also look to the past—to a rich history of cultural contributions and legacies upon which we may build. Before New Jersey Future, “smart growth,” and the state’s foundation, itself, the Lenni-Lenape protected and cultivated the natural environment we New Jerseyans still benefit from today. We forget or ignore these many lessons at our own peril.

Indigenous communities and people of color continue to disproportionately experience exposure to environmental hazards. The tireless efforts and innovative solutions of advocates across the state, however, promise relief and recovery. This month, we discuss the electrification of the most unlikely of vehicles, which represents an important first step on the road to environmental justice for overburdened communities.

Indeed, many of the communities that contribute significantly to the state’s diversity and economy are also the communities most at risk from the effects of pollution and climate change. Thus, while participating in cultural celebrations like Hispanic Heritage Month, we must also plan, build, and communicate with the needs and interests of communities of color in mind, especially as New Jersey continues to become more diverse.

Between 2010 and 2020, the state’s Latinx population increased in all 21 counties and outpaced New Jersey’s overall population growth rate by more than five times. Check out our blog post to learn more about the growth of New Jersey’s Latinx population and the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month in the Garden State.

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director
We are excited to announce that Tenisha N. Malcolm, Kendra F. Morris, and Madeline Urbish have joined our board of trustees. Malcolm, Morris, and Urbish bring diverse professional backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise to an organization that continues to grow and evolve. Learn more about our new trustees here.
“Electric Yard Goats” may sound like the name of a band (or a baseball team), but they actually represent an important step in New Jersey’s effort to adopt electric vehicles as a means of reducing the transportation sector’s carbon footprint. Furthermore, they can help steer the air-quality and health benefits of vehicle electrification toward communities that have historically suffered the most from pollution generated by gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and by the state’s many polluting land uses.
New Jersey’s overall diversity index increased from 59.3% in 2010 to 65.7% in 2020. Latinx population growth has significantly contributed to such burgeoning diversity, both nationally and statewide. In 2020, “people of Hispanic origin” constituted the second largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S., and one of the fastest-growing racial and ethnic groups in the country. During the same decade, New Jersey’s Hispanic population grew by nearly half a million people (447,431), which equates to a growth rate of 28.8% between 2010 and 2020.
New Jersey’s system for delivering public education is particularly fragmented—it averages 28 school districts per county, the most of any state, and averages just under 15,000 residents per district, well below the national average of 23,344. It has more school districts than it has municipalities. This fractionalized landscape contributes to and exacerbates several of the state’s most intractable problems in ways that are not immediately apparent.
Municipalities are on the front line of climate change land use planning. They have the power and responsibility to understand their climate change risks and plan to address them. It's also now the law. In February of this year, Governor Murphy approved legislative changes to the Municipal Land Use Law that require towns to incorporate a climate change-related hazard vulnerability assessment into any subsequent master plan land use element. The NJ Office of Planning Advocacy developed a simple guidance document to help municipal leaders understand the requirement and the process. The Municipal Climate Resilience Planning Guide provides an excellent entry point for public members and officials looking to understand the new requirement and how to meet it. The guide makes reference to the informative NJ Department of Environmental Protection Resilient NJ: Local Planning for Climate Change Toolkit.
The seventh annual Jersey Water Works Conference on Dec. 8-10 will explore how the collaborative's members can seize this once-in-a-generation funding opportunity for New Jersey's water infrastructure.
Join us and over 300 other members to brainstorm solutions and engage with water leaders to ensure that everyone can access funding for capital investments. Workshops will dive deeper into topics on emerging leaders in the water sector, water affordability, resilient water systems in the face of a changing climate, and lead service line replacement implementation. New Jersey Future is a proud member of the Jersey Water Works collaborative. Registration is free and open to all.
The nomination process for the 20th Smart Growth Awards is open! Whether you're submitting for the first time or you’ve had a winning project in the past, we wanted to give you enough time to prepare a high-quality nomination for this monumental recognition. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to highlight projects or policies at the cutting edge of equitable and sustainable planning and redevelopment.
Montclair Design Week
Last week, New Jersey Future Executive Director Pete Kasabach participated in a panel discussion entitled "Developing for a post-suburban future." Panelists discussed the planning, design, and development issues facing New Jersey and how the impacts of climate change, segregation, and auto-dependency will play out. The panel was presented by DesignShed, the publisher of Dense Magazine, in Montclair, NJ.
Coming Up
  • New Jersey Future Stormwater Manager Bree Callahan will be speaking at the Workshop Session: Stormwater Management: Challenges & Solutions at the ANJEC 2021 Environmental Congress on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 4:00pm.
  • New Jersey Future Policy Director Diane Schrauth will be speaking at the Stormwater: Tools to Help Municipalities Weather the Storm session at the 2021 NJ League of Municipalities Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 10:15am - 12:30pm. 
Smart Growth for Everyone
Smart Growth is equitable growth. It is also restorative, as smart growth and redevelopment can help correct systemic racial and economic disparities. As New Jersey Future drives land use decision-making toward more equitable outcomes, we will be sharing useful resources and lessons in this monthly spotlight. Please give us your feedback and share with us any particularly insightful articles, talks, events, or videos that you come across.

Indigenous peoples play a major role in protecting biodiversity, prioritizing environmental resilience, and leading climate solutions. With rich local knowledge, they deeply understand the history of land use and how it has transformed our natural environments and intensified the effects of climate change. However, Indigenous peoples have been limited in their ability to impact climate policy. “Climate justice” explains how those who tend to suffer the greatest negative impacts are often least responsible for climate change, which applies to Indigenous peoples. This blog post explains how Indigenous peoples must lead climate change strategies to best benefit the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our communities for a safe and healthy future.
Come Work with Us
  • Policy Manager: New Jersey Future is seeking a motivated, solutions-oriented individual to develop and advance state policies that affect health, water infrastructure, and redevelopment, with a primary focus on lead in drinking water. The position combines research, policy analysis and development, stakeholder convening, and communications. Full job description.
  • Communications Manager: New Jersey Future seeks an experienced communications professional and strategic thinker with a racial and social justice lens to guide the organization’s communications strategy and oversee its expanding communications and marketing activities. Full job description.
New Jersey Future in the News
Featured Resources

We are proud to partner with New Jersey's leading environmental and social justice organizations to promote this Green in '21 policy guide.

New Jersey Future has prepared Creating Places To Age: A Community Guide to Implementing Aging-Friendly Land Use Decisions to provide communities with a step-by-step process to make designing for the needs of older residents easier.

The New Jersey Stormwater Utility Resource Center is a one-stop shop housing technical, legal, and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement.

The Developers Green Infrastructure Guide 2.0 breaks down New Jersey’s Stormwater Rule amendments and helps developers and decision-makers more clearly understand green infrastructure options and advantages, compare alternatives, and evaluate costs and benefits.
Social Media Highlight
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.