Redevelopment Forum 2018

Save the Date!

Save the date! The 2019 Redevelopment Forum will be Friday, March 8 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick. Details coming soon!


How Do We Pay for New Jersey’s Aging Stormwater Infrastructure?

Tim Filasky

So how do we pay for New Jersey’s aging stormwater infrastructure?

A panel of experts took on this question at New Jersey Future’s 2018 Redevelopment Forum session on the topic. The resounding answer was by allowing for stormwater utilities to be established in New Jersey. According to the 2017 Western Kentucky University Stormwater Utility Survey, there are now 1,639 stormwater utilities nationally, that operate in 40 states. New Jersey does not have a single stormwater utility.

“We have serious stormwater issues, we have those, but we don’t have money.” Senator Bob Smith kicked off the forum session by talking about New Jersey’s stormwater challenges and why they have not been addressed. “Infrastructure doesn’t vote, and does not have a constituency,” he said, but he thinks that the time has come. In January, he introduced Senate Bill 1073, which authorizes municipalities, counties, and certain authorities to establish stormwater utilities.


A Competition Over Placemaking

Forum plenary session addresses what we can learn from Amazon, what are the trends driving economic development around the country, and where New Jersey can focus its efforts. Spoiler alert: It’s about creating great places.

Chris Zimmerman

What are the key things that are driving economic development and growth around the country? During the Redevelopment Forum plenary session, moderator Chris Zimmerman, Smart Growth America’s vice president for economic development, suggested that a quick look at what Amazon is seeking can help answer that.


Maximizing the Impact of Public-Private Partnerships

This article was written by Elsa Leistikow, a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey with a major in sociology and a minor in public policy.

“Public-private partnerships are not free money.”

That’s the first point Stephanie Gidigbi, director of NRDC’s Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), made in the Power of P3s session at New Jersey Future’s 2018 Redevelopment Forum.

Her comments were met with broad concurrence from the rest of the panel, including Dawn Zimmer, former mayor of Hoboken, and Chris Paladino, president of the non-profit New Brunswick Development Corporation. Although these partnerships might look like a panacea to cash-strapped municipalities, Gidigbi emphasized, P3s are not mechanisms for free outsourcing from the private sector. As in any redevelopment project or social service delivery program, aligning conflicting incentives among municipalities, developers, and financiers to deliver a focused, effective outcome is a challenging process.


Making New Jersey’s Communities More Aging-Friendly

New Jersey Foundation for Aging’s Melissa Chalker

Land use characteristics that make a community inviting to older people are the same “smart growth” features that are appealing to all populations. These features – readily accessible, center-based locations that offer jobs, housing, entertainment, and amenities – characterize those places that Census data and research show are attracting growing populations of both Millennials and people 55 years of age and older. If New Jersey, ranked 10th in the nation for the number of residents age 60 and older, is going to retain and enhance its economic vitality and viability, its communities will need to recast land use regulations in order to enhance their aging-friendly characteristics.

The Aging-Friendly Is Everyone-Friendly session at New Jersey Future’s annual Redevelopment Forum explored how New Jersey’s changing demographics affect municipal economies; what makes a community aging-friendly; how communities can adjust to the evolving needs of their populations in order to enable residents to age in place; what benefits are gained by creating places that attract multi-generational communities; and how aging-friendly strategies differ for New Jersey’s varying community types. The presentations emphasized the considerable effort that will be required at both the local and state levels to accelerate systemic changes in New Jersey’s development patterns in order to keep pace with the needs of an older population that is growing rapidly and living longer.


Trends in Redevelopment Finance: Complexity and Change

“Complexity can be fun.” These parting words from Dave Gibbons, president and chief executive officer of the Elberon Development Group, best summed up the 2018 Redevelopment Forum’s panel on Trends in Redevelopment Finance. In front of a standing-room only-crowd, Jong Sook Nee Esq., co-founder of NeePlata Law LLC, moderated the panel that included Leslie Anderson, executive director of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority; Valerie Jackson, director of the policy, planning, and development department for the City of East Orange; and Mr. Gibbons.


Millennials: What Do They Want?

Millennials are  New Jersey’s next generation of leaders, workers, and taxpayers — that is, if they don’t leave the state. Recent research from New Jersey Future indicates that, between 2000 and 2013, the Millennial population nationwide increased by 6.8 percent. But in New Jersey, the generation’s numbers decreased by 2.3 percent during the same period.

So why are they leaving? New Jersey Future sought answers straight from the source. At the 2018 Redevelopment Forum, the Millennial Town Hall featured Millennial panelists in a discussion about the heart of the issue: Why are their friends leaving New Jersey, and what would convince them to stay?


The New Leadership Is Local

Redevelopment Forum keynote speaker Bruce Katz on why cities and metro regions are best positioned to lead in a 21st-century economy

Bruce Katz

Why are cities and local regions best positioned to lead in the 21st century? According to Bruce Katz, the Brookings Institution’s first Centennial Scholar and the former director of its Metropolitan Policy Program, who delivered the 2018 Redevelopment Forum luncheon keynote address, these are dense ecosystems of diversity and innovation in a time when the market wants what he called “agglomeration, co-location, and concentration of assets.” They’re the vanguard of a new kind of participatory democracy — cross-sector, bottom-up, and inter-disciplinary, able to leverage distinctive assets to create jobs and opportunity.

This is a reversal, Katz says, of the governance model the United State built in the mid-20th century, which he described as “highly specialized, highly compartmentalized, and highly bureaucratic,” making it ill-equipped to deal with the complexity and multi-functionality of current challenges. Cities as networks, he said, are much better equipped, since they’re not compartmentalized — they can leverage public, private and institutional connections as needed. He calls this “the new localism,” also the title of his new book, co-authored by Jeremy Nowak and published by Brookings Institution Press.


Forum Photos!

Enjoy this gallery of some highlights from the Forum, and peruse the full album on our flickr site!