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July 2008
Volume 4, Number 2

Land Development at Selected Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Stations (April 2008)

By Martin E. Robins, Senior Policy Fellow and Jan S. Wells, Ph.D., Research Associate
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University

In June 2006, Robins and Wells published their first study examining the booming land development market spurred by the opening of NJ TRANSIT’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR), the 20.6-mile, 23-station transit route connecting six communities along the western edge of the Hudson River. In that study they documented development at a cluster of stations in Jersey City and one on Hoboken’s west side.  This new study revisits two of the previously examined stations, the Essex Street-Jersey Avenue station cluster in Jersey City and Hoboken’s 9th Street station. In addition, the researchers expanded their investigation to document housing built or under construction near Bayonne’s 34th Street station, the Port Imperial station in Weehawken and the Bergenline Avenue station in Union City.

The study found more than 10,000 new housing units with a value of $5 billion were either completed or under construction since HBLR began operating in 2000. Even given the 2007-2008 housing bust, New Jersey’s “Gold Coast” continues to attract substantial interest from the development community and homebuyers.

See our Reading List for additional information on the earlier study.

 

HBLR
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DesignCharrettes
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Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities (2008)

By Patrick M. Condon
Island Press

This easily accessible and well-organized guide is an excellent resource for anyone interested in introducing charrettes, or design workshops, into the community planning process.  Charrettes are intensive, often multi-day, efforts wherein community leaders, developers, public officials and the public collaborate to produce a unified vision or plan.  Condon stresses that the charrette format, with its broad array of inputs, is essential to creating sustainable communities in the face of divergent problems.  The book outlines charrette theory as it applies to “visioning charrettes” (explorations of what is possible) and “implementation charrettes” (which produce plans that can be put into practice with or without changes in zoning or other regulation.)  Condon outlines practical techniques and guidelines for orchestrating productive design charrettes, focusing on topics such as scheduling and objective organization, making this text particularly useful. He provides step-by-step instructions for stakeholder workshops and breakouts as well as numerous models of successful concept plans. Twenty years of experience in the public and private sectors have provided Condon with considerable charrette experience. This experience has allowed him to identify common stumbling blocks in both the planning and execution stages of the charrette.  As this form of public planning grows more popular, Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities stands out as a practical, well-written, and well-reasoned guide to be utilized by planning professionals and non-professionals alike.

What About Our Schools? (2008)

By Heidi Gorman and Robert Galvin
Urbanomics

Urbanomics, a respected firm specializing in fiscal and impact analysis, has completed a new study examining the rate of school children generated by transit-oriented development (TOD). This report, “What About Our Schools?” addresses—and dispels—one of the most common public misperceptions hindering TOD proposals. The study was commissioned by InterCap Holdings, LLC, the sponsor of the "Edison Exchange"—a series of developer-sponsored planning meetings organized by InterCap to examine the redevelopment of the firm's property, located adjacent to the Edison station.

Urbanomics studied over 500 distinct TOD projects, singling out 32 locations that are characteristically similar to the Edison project according to demographic and school performance indicators. Projects included in the study varied in terms of housing types, including both rental and condominium projects, as well as urban and suburban settings, such as Portland, OR and Silver Spring, MD. The findings conclude that the number of school children generated from comparable TODs is exceptionally low: 3 school children per 100 units on average. This figure is consistent with data in the updated report, Who Lives in New Jersey Housing, published by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, which was reviewed in our April 2007 issue and included in our list of Recommended Readings.

Schools
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Complete List of Recommended Readings

 
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