Browsing articles in "Speaks Out Blog"

Redeveloping Communities Can Result from ARC Tunnel Investment

Jun 12, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Redeveloping Communities Can Result from ARC Tunnel Investment

by Dianne Brake

The proposed $8.3 billion ARC Tunnel will double the capacity of New Jersey’s transit system, accessible to three quarters of the State’s population. This new transit capacity could set us on the path toward sustainability, including meeting New Jersey’s ambitious 2050 Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction targets by reducing auto trips.

It could add economic growth capacity, which is currently limited by auto-dependency and congested highways. It could encourage housing investment in “smart” locations, turning the tide of sprawl which had carried much of New Jersey’s labor force to Pennsylvania and other cheaper locations. Read more >>

Securing New Jersey’s Natural Capital:Nature’s Top Dollar Value

May 18, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Securing New Jersey’s Natural Capital:Nature’s Top Dollar Value

by Noelle Reeve, AICP,PP
04/22/09

It still goes slightly against the grain of this environmental planner, originally from “Super Natural British Columbia,” to think about putting a price tag on nature. I’m not talking about the price we place on commodities nature provides, such as timber or fish, but about the services we receive that may appear invisible when we first look at a landscape. These services arise from the relationship among the various plants and animals and geographic systems that make up ecosystems. We don’t readily see wetland plants filtering pollutants or storing water to prevent flooding; we don’t readily see trees removing greenhouse gases from the air. We have traditionally taken these benefits for granted as free services and without a dollar value, society has so undervalued these services they have been treated as worthless. Read more >>

Move the State Planning Commission, Change the Plan

Apr 30, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Move the State Planning Commission, Change the Plan

April 16, 2009

Given the State’s current economic crisis and the longstanding challenges that threaten our future, New Jersey desperately needs a new Plan – a Plan that will provide a robust framework for directing all actions of government toward strategic results in multiple areas.

The fact that the long-overdue new State Plan was not released in March as scheduled, and now the April State Planning Commission meeting has been canceled, does not bode well. Read more >>

Change Zoning, Change the Future

Mar 3, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Change Zoning, Change the Future

Although always awkward, acronyms sometimes become widely known. The acronym for the NJ Council for Affordable Housing (COAH) is a case in point. Declarations of “I want to put a stake through the heart of COAH!” and “I come here not to praise COAH, but to bury it!” have become rallying cries all around the state. COAH, a quiet state agency that carries a big stick over municipal zoning, has triggered an all-out revolt against what is seen as the unfairness of its latest rules.

More than 250 towns met COAH’s December deadline to submit affordable housing plans. But they did so under protest. And their bitterness is spreading: the Legislature is considering a number of new COAH “remedies” and some early gubernatorial candidates are staking out their credentials as the best man to slay COAH. Read more >>

Dare to Dream

Jan 23, 2009   //   by PlanSmart NJ   //   Speaks Out Blog  //  Comments Off on Dare to Dream

It was fitting that the first African-American President was sworn into office during the week in which we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Both men dared to dream of a better future, and worked hard to bring about the changes that would make that dream come true.

The Martin Luther King Day holiday, however, has lost Dr. King’s focus on change. Instead, people are encouraged to use it as a day of service, to help clean up an abandoned lot, for example, or serve in a soup kitchen. Important as these actions are to the individuals involved, it does nothing to help them “keep their eyes on the prize” of changing the structures that created these conditions in the first place. Read more >>

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