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Winter 2017

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Making Sure the New Administration is Savvy About Smart Growth

In its recent report, New Jersey Future argues that smart growth makes the most economic sense

holiday reading for governor

The election of a new governor is a time when organizations of all sorts look to regroup and re-examine their priorities, set new goals, and determine how to best direct their efforts to try to achieve their aims. For some, the new administration’s priorities align with their own and success may be relatively easy. For others, it may be impossible to achieve goals that run counter to the new governor’s.

New Jersey Future undertook this effort before the election results were known, setting forth recommendations for action by an unknown administration, so the priorities it outlines for the state in ”Smart Growth is Economic Growth” are not based on what’s likely to win approval, but what the organization deems important to ensure the state grows in the best way possible.

In a foreword to the report, Executive Director Peter Kasabach and Chairman Peter Reinhart state their purpose is “to spark meaningful conversation among the candidates about using smart growth policies as an economic driver to create vibrant communities, use public dollars wisely and expand economic opportunity to all New Jerseyans.”

The report covers four major priorities for the new administration, and each includes several sub-recommendations, many of which have been on Gov.-elect Phil Murphy’s radar screen. New Jersey Future urges the new administration to invest wisely in infrastructure, incorporate climate-change predictions into its decision-making processes, support good local redevelopment that promotes walkable and transit-oriented communities and inclusionary zoning, and have the state lead positive development efforts.

To emphasize the need for taking these steps, the report points out some of the challenges facing the state, including a change in demographics and attitudes, aging and neglected infrastructure, and risks from impending impacts of climate change.

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