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Brownfields

The National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment on April 4 hosted a full-day conference on the role of brownfields remediation in community revitalization that featured prominent speakers from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

 

The event focused on the challenges and opportunities faced by community-based organizations in fostering the redevelopment of brownfields. Alan Mallach of the National Housing Institute moderated a panel consisting of Commissioner Joseph Doria of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; Commissioner Lisa Jackson of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Tracey Vernon, director of the Pennsylvania State Brownfield Action Teams; and Mark McIntyre of PlaNYC.

 

Perth Amboy Mayor and Assemblyman Joseph Vas spoke on “Economic Issues and Brownfield Redevelopment.” From the Brownfields Center, Karen Lowrie provided an overview of a technical assistance program and joined with other center staff in demonstrating an innovative model program.

 

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EJB Distinguished Fellow Robert Curvin Recalls 1967 Newark Disturbances

EJB Distinguished Fellow Robert Curvin took part in two events reflecting on the 1967 civil disturbances in Newark, the resulting Governor's Select Commission on Civil Disorders (or Lilley Commission), and how Newark has evolved over the ensuing decades. Curvin was joined by Sanford Jaffe, co-director of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and Star-Ledger reporter Brad Parks in a panel discussion on the issue.

 

Curvin, who was a Newark activist during the disturbances, recalled the incidents that sparked the rioting and how change was ultimately effected. Jaffe recalled his role as executive director of the Lilley Commission, and Parks discussed a series he wrote for The Star-Ledger marking the anniversary of the disturbances.

 

Curvin later delivered a lecture in the Special Events forum entitled “Urban Decline, Rebellion and Resurgence: A Comment on Newark.”

 

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Bloustein School Hosts 100 Mayors, Local Officials at ‘Green Future’ Workshop for Municipalities

An audience of 100 mayors and local officials representing more than 55 New Jersey municipalities took part in a workshop and business meeting January 29 as part of the Mayors Committee for a Green Future, a standing committee of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. The New Jersey Sustainable State Institute, the Rutgers Center for Green Building and the Municipal Land Use Center at the College of New Jersey provide research and program support to the committee.

 

The Mayors Committee’s first project is the creation of a "Green Future Roadmap," which will help local officials institute programs that address sustainability and green communities. Energy audit and green purchasing “tools” were presented to the local officials at the January meeting. In addition, a business meeting was held to discuss the criteria municipalities will have to meet to become designated as "green" communities.

 

The full set of tools, criteria, and incentives is due to be released in November during the State League’s annual convention in Atlantic City.

 

The mission of the Mayors Committee is to “Make New Jersey green, one municipality at a time," through local action in the areas of water, air, transportation, toxics, energy consumption, waste, land use, conservation and health.

 

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Summer R/ECON Conference Focuses on Dismal Economic, Housing Picture

The Summer 2008 R/ECON™ conference created headlines by being described as the first analysis to claim that New Jersey was in recession.

 

The July 2008 R/ECON forecast, "New Jersey: Downturn or Just No Growth?" found that the state’s job base began stagnating before the rest of the nation and that further employment losses could be expected until 2010. However, the depth of the recession in New Jersey should prove milder than experienced elsewhere across the country, said R/ECON Director Nancy Mantell.

 

In addition to the release of the economic forecast, the conference focused on the condition of the state’s real estate market. Patrick O'Keefe, former CEO of the New Jersey Builders Association, was joined by Dean James W. Hughes, University Professor Joseph J. Seneca, R/ECON Director Nancy Mantell and David Listokin, co-director of the Center for Urban Policy Research in providing analyses.

 

Houses have lost about 25 percent of their value over the course of two years, O’Keefe said, and will continue to face downward pressure as a result of the high inventory of unsold homes and foreclosures.

 

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