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Creating an Urban Agenda for NJ's Small and Midsized Cities

If you couldn’t attend the second annual NJ Spotlight on Cities, you can still keep up with the discussions on an agenda for our urban centers

on cities kean, mooney, baraka
Credit: Amanda Brown
Former Gov. Tom Kean (left), NJ Spotlight founder and education writer John Mooney, and Newark mayor Ras Baraka at NJ Spotlight on Cities conference.

New Jersey has dozens of midsized and small cities, almost all of which are in dire need of some type of renewal. And as demographics shift away from suburbs and toward cities — with millennials and others looking for walkable communities with lively downtowns and public transportation — the locations of these cities are seemingly made to order to meet that need. But in a cash-strapped state that sees itself as primarily suburban, will New Jersey meet the challenge? As former Gov. Thomas Kean recently said, New Jersey will never reach its potential without addressing the problem of its cities.

The question is how to do it. At our recent conference, NJ Spotlight on Cities, we devoted our two keynote sessions to the issue. For those who missed the conference, we’ve created podcasts in order to listen in.

The first is a conversation between Kean and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is looking to spur a national debate on the issue of an urban policy. Get the podcast to hear what they have to say.

The second is a conversation with the announced — or expected to announce — candidates for governor, Democrats Phil Murphy, John Wisniewski, and Thomas Byrne, as well as Republican Jack Ciattarelli. To get their take on what an urban policy should address and how we can pay for it, get the podcast.

The NJ Spotlight Conference Series is available for download on ITunes.

For your convenience, both of today's sessions are also available on YouTube.

Opening Keynote on Urban Agendas with Tom Kean and Ras Baraka



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