New Brunswick, March 8, 2019
By Thomas Smith
Kathy Kady-Hopkins and Thomas Smith (NJDH.org) attended a large gathering of developers, bankers, politicians and nonprofits at the Hyatt Regency last week. We met mayors and officials of local towns, and listened to Governor Murphy talk about environmental justice and the newest redevelopment initiatives in New Jersey. We gained a lot of insight into how our project can benefit from strong relationships with government entities and other businesses.
We learned about creating better and more vibrant living spaces for all people in the community to survive and thrive. We learned about “new tools for robust and effective public outreach and engagement.” We learned how many businesses in the State of New Jersey are looking at creative new ways to meet demands for affordable housing.
PLENARY SESSION – “Making Every Place a Great Place to Live and Work”
- People want to live in a community.
- They want an “urban feel” inside a suburban community.
- Broader partnering brings more inclusion and more diversity.
- When the community is involved with development decisions, they are less likely to react negatively when the plan moves ahead.
- Social Infrastructure – Integrating “Artists Spaces” into design plans
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Angela Glover Brown
- “When we accommodate the most vulnerable people, everyone benefits.”
- An example is the “Curb Cut Effect.” At first, curb cuts were put in to help people in wheelchairs navigate from sidewalks to street. But, later, they helped bicycles and strollers and other pedestrians too.
Those in greatest need (like Deaf Seniors), show the community where upcoming issues are.
“We don’t have forever anymore. We need to make needed changes in society now!”
Investors give money to banks. The banks then hold the funds without taxing inventors’ profits. Then the funds are used for development of neglected areas. Builders know there is “capital waiting” for them to use for their projects.
Plainfield has a Redevelopment Plan. We can avoid building in low-income Opportunity Zones but still be part of the city’s plan for the future.
NO ONE LEFT BEHIND
Every community is really a combination of many communities. Each city or neighborhood consists of a variety of cultures, religions, ethnicities and sexual-orientations. This workshop explained how new building projects have to consider the well-being of ALL residents and workers when planning and executing their building plans. It also expanded on the idea of how meeting the needs of underserved communities (Deaf Seniors) will benefit all residents.