PlanSmart NJ was founded in 1968 by business and civic leaders in central New Jersey to manage growth in the Rt. 1 Corridor from New Brunswick to Trenton. Today, PlanSmart NJ holds a unique statewide position striving for both economic and environmental goals, while reducing public costs and increasing racial and economic integration.

Over the years this not-for-profit research and advocacy group has tackled the most important planning challenges facing the region and the state. Recognizing that these issues are by nature some of the most politically charged, the goal of PlanSmart NJ has been to forge partnerships and solve problems by engaging elected officials, leaders from the business and non-profit communities, and planning professionals to foster a spirit of cooperation and progressive action. Seeing issues within a big picture, over the long-term, has been a fundamental part of PlanSmart NJ’s work since its inception.

Since 1968, we have been leading the way for smart growth and planning in New Jersey, operating under three names:

PlanSmart NJ – 2007-present
The Regional Planning Partnership (RPP) – 1999 – 2007
Middlesex Somerset Mercer Regional Council (MSM) – 1968 – 1999

Leadership History:

In late 2010, after 25 years with PlanSmartNJ, Dianne Brake stepped down from her role as President and currently serves as the Senior Policy Adviser. Dianne was, and continues to be, a visionary leader in the land use planning field, with extensive expertise in regional planning, land use policy, and government systems reform. Her leadership at PlanSmart NJ helped shape the agenda for land use advocacy in the state and remains a legacy for PlanSmart NJ.

She helped to found many allied organizations, including the D&R Greenway, New Jersey Future, the Greater Mercer TMA, New Jersey Regional Coalition, and the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment (CAHE).

Executive Directors/Presidents

William M. Kwalick, 1968-1969
Golda Gottleib, 1970-1975
Samuel M. Hamill, Jr., 1976-1990
Dianne Brake, 1990-2010
Lucy Vandenberg, 2011-2013
Ann Brady, 2013- Present

Board of Directors Chairpersons

John P. Moran, 1968-1970
Henry S. Patterson, 1970-1978
Harry Sayen, 1979-1989
Van Zandt Williams, Jr., 1990-1997
Carol Beske, 1997-2008
Ray Ferrara,  2009-2012
Richard Goldman, 2012-Present


Over our 40+ years we’ve had the opportunity to work on many groundbreaking and paradigm shifting projects in New Jersey. Please click here to see the archives of our past projects and publications. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to obtain copies of materials.

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