Thriving Cities Recommendations for NJ Urban Revitalization

Thriving Cities Report Encourages Equitable Investment in Urban Communities and Preserving Ability to Avoid Displacement in Times of New Investment

On December 12, 2018, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network) unveiled a report aimed at supporting revitalization efforts in New Jersey’s urban cities. Thriving Cities: A New Urban Agenda features a series of policy recommendations to encourage equitable investment in urban communities and preserve the ability of long-term residents to avoid displacement where new investment is bringing change.

In response to renewed investment in New Jersey’s urban areas, community developers and other stakeholders are working together to ensure equitable revitalization. NJ should support development while ensuring our cities provide opportunities for long-term residents to thrive. No one should be priced out of their neighborhood in the name of progress.

Staci Berger, president and chief executive officer of the Network

For the past year, the Network along with its members and key partners have worked together to craft comprehensive and interdependent Thriving Cities policy recommendations.

Policies originally proposed by the Network before the Great Recession, were revised to meet current conditions and vetted with community leaders in dozens of meetings in nearly every county in the state.

Thriving Cities: A New Urban Agenda consists of thirteen targeted priority areas:

  • economic growth and workforce development;
  • optimizing housing production to make cities more affordable;
  • healthier homes in healthier communities;
  • protecting homebuyer, homeowner, and tenants’ rights;
  • redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization;
  • land use, infrastructure, and the environment;
  • increasing government and civic leadership capacity;
  • public safety and crime prevention;
  • ending homelessness;
  • access to reliable transportation;
  • revenue reform to promote needed public investment;
  • natural disaster and emergency preparedness; and
  • ending the foreclosure crisis.

“As some areas of our state begin to recover from the foreclosure crisis and market collapse, far too many New Jersey communities and neighborhoods are still mired in the crisis,” stated Wayne T. Meyer, President of Network member New Jersey Community Capital. “This report provides a roadmap for helping those families and individuals in need begin to thrive and recommends ways to keep even more New Jerseyans from suffering the dire consequences of economic growth and prosperity that is not equitable or sustainable.”

The recommendations provided in each of the priority areas reflect the inter-connectedness of problems — and solutions. Several recommendations are under consideration as legislation in the State Legislature.

For example, one Thriving Cities recommendation for ending the foreclosure crisis includes enabling municipalities to create land banks to facilitate moving problem properties into productive use. Land banking legislation now awaits final passage in the NJ Senate and Assembly after gaining approval in their respective Economic Growth Committees.

The Network gratefully acknowledges support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Global Philanthropy in this effort.

Thriving Cities Report

Network’s Overview of the Report

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