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Welcome to NJ Spotlight On Cities -- the Inaugural Conference

A multitrack symposium that examines the current state of New Jersey’s cities to explore -- and shape -- their future

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It’s hard to believe that it’s here. After months of planning, collaborating, challenging, and -- yes, even disagreeing vehemently on a few occasions -- the first in what we hope to be an annual series of conferences and events has moved from potential to reality.

We started with a simple question, deceptively simple: What is the definition of a city? Editor-in-chief Lee Keough has detailed the process that went into discovering just some of the answers. (Deceptively simple questions have decidedly complex answers.)

And she’s introduced some of the experts, advocates, activists, business leaders, policymakers, and philosophers who have agreed to help us draw a map not just of today’s cities but of tomorrow’s as well, and of that critical juncture where the present meets the future.

Our first day-long multitrack symposium will explore how to reinvent and revitalize cities while still respecting their citizens; why major companies are turning away from vast, suburban office parks and returning to urban centers; how taking a deep dive into healthcare data can translate into fewer wasteful emergency-department visits and a healthier community. And we’ll investigate what can be done to transform blighted, foreclosed neighborhoods into a much-needed homes.

We’ll be far from alone. Dale Russakoff, the author of “The Prize,” will share her behind-the-scenes look at the struggle to reform and remake Newark’s public school system. Toni Griffin, known to all fans of TED Talks, will share her vision of a great city and her insights on how to get there.

But those are just the highlights of today’s event at the New Jersey Fine Arts Center in Newark. At NJ Spotlight we believe we have put together a program that will have a lasting affect on New Jersey’s cities.

All that’s missing is you.

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