September 15, 2021
Dear Friends,
When Hurricane Ida struck this month, many of us were overwhelmed with feelings that have become increasingly familiar throughout the past two years: apprehension for our communities, concern for our neighbors, and a sense that things are not getting better on their own. Once the cleanup is done and our losses are mourned, these events should spur us to a new level of urgency to tackle these challenges head-on. But we aren’t there yet.

Throughout the past two years, the ongoing pandemic, frequent and intense flooding, and numerous environmental injustices have made one fact soberingly clear: the human costs of inaction and underinvestment can not be underestimated. Here at New Jersey Future, we recognize—now more than ever—that we must recenter and better understand the lived experiences of the people most severely affected by our most pressing challenges. The places we advocate for are nothing without the people who walk and bike their streets—the people who turn neighborhoods into communities and housing into homes.

It is with this renewed commitment to the communities we serve that we made our official return to the office this week for the first time since March 2020. In addition to the lessons we have learned, we also brought with us new staff members, fresh perspectives, and exciting projects!

This month, learn more about our recent analysis of 2020 Census data, which indicates the growth of New Jersey’s diverse centers. Additionally, check out our blog posts on lead in drinking water in public schools and municipal green infrastructure implementation, which discuss the health and resilience of our communities, respectively.

2022 promises to be another year like no other. If you know of a project or policy that best embodies the principles of smart growth, consider submitting a nomination for New Jersey Future’s 20th Smart Growth Awards.

Peter Kasabach
Executive Director
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 sustainable planning and redevelopment.
Join us Thursday, October 7 (9:30 – 11:30 a.m. EDT) for a free, virtual webinar about how to start and support an age-friendly program in your community. Offered in partnership with the Mid-America Regional Council and New Jersey Future, this event will highlight how land use decisions impact livability and how local governments and advocates can work together to improve housing, transportation, and public spaces in their communities. Click here for more info and to register. 
Elected officials and community voices echoed the same sentiment: New Jerseyans must continue to work together to transform water infrastructure at this historic moment. For the seventh year in a row, Jersey Water Works (JWW) members met to explore “Different Perspectives, New Opportunities, and Win-Win Solutions” to New Jersey’s water challenges.
On August 26 a virtual Listen and Learn session on the dangers of exposure to lead in paint, water, and soil was attended by nearly 30 East Trenton residents, as well as Mayor Reed Gusciora. The question and answer exchange highlighted new areas of concern and reinforced that there is work to be done to improve communication, notify residents of lead hazards, and expand financial assistance for remediation of known lead sources.
The demographic story of the 2010s in New Jersey was the return of population growth to the state’s walkable, mixed-use centers—cities, towns, and older suburbs with traditional downtowns. Driven in particular by the Millennial generation’s desire for live-work-shop-play environments, many of the state’s older centers experienced their biggest population increases since before the 1950s.
Based on research conducted by the Trenton Bureau of the USA TODAY Network in 2019, approximately 480 school buildings across a third of the state’s school districts recorded lead levels that exceeded 15 parts per billion, the action level set by the federal government. Given the severity of the problem and the significant cost of remediation, it was clear that state assistance was necessary to protect students and teachers.
The new stormwater rules that went into effect on March 2, 2021 require NJ municipalities to update their Stormwater Control Ordinances (SCOs) to require Green Infrastructure in new major development projects. We examined which municipalities had updated their SCOs as required and which had gone above and beyond the NJDEP’s minimum requirements. Out of the 43 towns surveyed and researched, 28 towns have updated their SCO and 24 have posted these updates on their respective websites.
Legislative & Government Updates
  • September 1—New Jersey Future, along with over 25 organizations across New Jersey including local governments, public water and sewer utilities, community and environmental groups, racial and social justice organizations, and businesses, wrote to New Jersey's Congressional Delegation urging support for a $45 billion budget appropriation for the removal of all of the nation's lead service lines and significant new funding for low-income water bill assistance.
Coming Up
  • New Jersey Future Community Outreach Coordinator Anthony Diaz and Director of Government and Public Affairs Missy Rebovich will be speaking at Lead 102: Learn About Lead Policies on September 16 from 6:00 - 7:00 pm.
  • New Jersey Future Community Planning Manager Tanya Rohrbach will be speaking at the Creating Great Places for All Ages webinar on October 7 from 9:30 - 11:30 am.
  • Incoming 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, November 16 from 10:15 am - 12:30 pm. 
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.

At the 2021 New Jersey Planning and Redevelopment Conference, the “Geography of Equity and Inclusion: The Big Picture” plenary session featured five panelists, including Smart Growth America President and CEO Calvin Gladney, Latino Action Network President Christian Estevez, Fair Share Housing Center Deputy Director Eric Dobson, Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Renae Reynolds, and David Troutt, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Rutgers Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME), Rutgers University. The panel was moderated by New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach, and opening remarks were delivered by New Jersey Future Trustees: Camden Community Partnership, Inc. (formerly Cooper’s Ferry Partnership) Vice President Meishka Mitchell, AICP, PP; City of Hoboken Director of Community Development Christopher Brown; and Maraziti Falcon, LLP Partner Joseph Maraziti. The speakers provided an overview of spatial segregation in New Jersey, while analyzing the origins of these disparities.
Watch the full session here.
Come Work with Us
  • Lead-Free NJ Program Manager: New Jersey Future is seeking an organized, motivated individual to manage the day-to-day operations of Lead-Free NJ, an exciting new collaborative working to ensure that children are free from lead poisoning through changes to state and local policy. Full job description.
  • 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 Director: New Jersey Future seeks an experienced communications director and strategic thinker 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.