Browsing articles in "Speaks Out Blog"

Solving the Real Housing Crisis

Apr 8, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Solving the Real Housing Crisis

by Dianne Brake

New Jersey has not one but three affordable housing crises.

  • There is the real crisis: there is a huge backlog of need for workforce and special needs housing in the right locations and no plan for the future.
  • There is the temporary crisis: the NJ Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) was led into a regulatory disaster that has forced a temporary crisis over what should be done to fix it.
  • And then there is the manufactured crisis: ignoring both the real and the temporary crisis, some leaders are acting as if municipalities had to be saved from the responsibility to zone in a Constitutional manner.

Admittedly, focusing on the real crisis is difficult: it means having to change many long-held views, end many long-established regulatory programs, restructure property taxes, and give the state a role in land use decisions – in other words, having to demonstrate extraordinary leadership. Read more >>

Fixing the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH): Saving the baby while throwing out the bathwater

Feb 4, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Fixing the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH): Saving the baby while throwing out the bathwater

What is the most effective way to stop the damage to our economy and our communities caused by a dysfunctional COAH? This question sparked a passionate debate in a Senate hearing on S-1, a bill that proposes to eliminate COAH and approach the “problem” of affordable housing in a completely different way.

How could a program that was given the goal of implementing something as positive as the American Dream – the dream that equal access to opportunity will be protected by our government – come to be seen as such a problem that lawmakers are discussing how to get rid of it? Read more >>

Dare to Change

Jan 5, 2010   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Dare to Change

More than forty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked us to keep our “eyes on the prize” – a new social order in which oppression and segregation did not exist. These conditions however still exist. For this reason, on this holiday, PlanSmartNJ challenges everyone to join forces to change them.

PlanSmartNJ’s contribution to change is its work to reform the current land use decision-making system. Dry as changing the land use decision-making system may sound, PlanSmartNJ sees it as a glittering prize indeed. The current system – the plans, policies, regulations, tax structure and infrastructure investments – promotes deep disparities among communities. Read more >>

The Trouble with Small Thinking

Dec 22, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on The Trouble with Small Thinking

PlanSmart NJ wishes all our members, supporters and readers a very happy holiday season! In response to popular demand, we are sending you a link to last year’s
12 Days of Planning

And in the hopes of provoking thoughts about the big picture and the long-term in the New Year, and linking them to solutions to the immediate crises we face,
here are my thoughts on the trouble with narrow thinking!

A provoking series of articles by Canada’s National Post titled “Rethinking Green” has been posted on a popular U.S. planning website, Planetizen. Two recent articles claim that riding public transit and recycling may be counterproductive to environmental goals. Read more >>

Below are Dianne Brake’s remarks delivered at the PlanSmart NJ Annual Dinner, October 29, 2009,at the Hyatt, New Brunswick.

Nov 3, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Below are Dianne Brake’s remarks delivered at the PlanSmart NJ Annual Dinner, October 29, 2009,at the Hyatt, New Brunswick.

Welcome and thank you for coming tonight. And a special welcome to the many new faces we see in the crowd this year – the next generation of New Jersey’s leaders. Thank you for coming. In this recession, you deserve a special thank you for making tonight so successful! It is energizing – and we see it as a demonstration of hope for the future. Hope that we think is well founded.

Yes, even in this so-called “Great” Recession, even when the future is so uncertain. Why should we hope? Read more >>

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