Annual Dinner Resource Book

Every year PlanSmart NJ holds an Annual Dinner to celebrate accomplishments in the planning field. At the Dinner we honor individuals or organizations that have promoted smart growth initiatives by presenting a series of awards. Our awards are designed to draw attention to achievements in regional planning, the economy, and the environment, while reducing disparities among communities through regional equity and reducing public costs through efficient use of resources. The Annual Dinner Resource Book includes descriptions of our awardees, our projects, and our Board. The ads show our broad base of support.

Cross-Topic Reports:

A Guide to the Future: Repurposing Stranded Assets and Revitalizing New Jersey’s Suburbs

Large suburban office parks and office campuses, that for many communities have been a significant part of their ratable base and prestige, have become “stranded assets” that are obsolete, vacant, and difficult to market.  Likewise, shopping centers, particularly community shopping centers, have been underperforming for decades, with vacancies and lack of maintenance contributing to a sense of community decline and blight.  The loss of ratables is putting a strain on county and municipal property taxes and is hindering the State’s ability to rebound from the recession.

PlanSmart NJ’s Guide to the Future is the product of a year-long comprehensive statewide analysis of demographic and real estate data and evaluation of best practices and case studies.  The user-friendly is a resource for local officials and those that advise them to describe the fiscal impacts stranded assets have on communities and how repurposing can solve the many problems that arise from underperforming corporate campuses and retail sites.  The Guide describes how communities can benefit from turning obsolete sites into functional, fiscally sustainable, and environmentally resilient assets. Recognizing that there is no one size fits all solution, recommendations are sensitive to the existing community fabric and range from walkable mixed use neighborhoods to single use repurposing.

The project is guided by a steering committee of policy makers, business leaders, and local decision makers to ground the work in reality.

Economic Development:

What Will it Take to Support New Jersey’s Industry ClustersIndustry Cluster Final Cover Image

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and PlanSmart NJ have conducted a collaborative research project to explore the concept of Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs), a theory that is explicitly promoted as a means to achieve targeted economic growth in various state level economic development initiatives. To be successful, the appropriate infrastructure and investment priorities to support these growth industries must be available.  The report documents the relationship between New Jersey’s industry clusters and the state’s existing infrastructure to evaluate how infrastructure investment and economic development align on the ground.

What’s Land Use Got To Do With It?: Examining the Connections Between New Jersey’s Economic Prosperity and Its Land Use Patterns Focus Group Report Cover

The report contains the findings of an Industry Focus Group held on April 14, 2011 with representatives of the development, pharmaceutical, research & development, technology, education, banking, logistics, law, and energy sectors. The report found key challenges in the areas of attracting a high quality labor force, navigating the State’s complex and unpredictable regulatory system, and deep frustration over New Jersey’s property tax system and home rule environment. (2011, Produced for the 2011 Conference: Impacting Economic Expansion and Retention in New Jersey: A Land Use Perspective”)


Out and About: A Guide to Sustainable Local Circulation Planning describes how to develop circulation plans that integrate walking, biking, public transportation, and the automobile in order to move goods and people in the most efficient, socially equitable, and environmentally benign ways. (2011, Produced for NJ Office of Planning Advocacy)

NJT Transit Score Guidebook was produced by PlanSmart NJ and URS for NJ Transit.  The Guide was developed to explain a valuable community assessment tool, the Transit Score, and how it can be used in planning and other areas to advance transportation choices in communities and regions throughout New Jersey. (2011, Produced with URS for NJ Transit)

Land Use: 

How Much Growth? Where? To Do What? Finding and Planning Receiving Areas for the Highlands Transfer of Development Rights Program A report on how environmental protection might be enhanced in local land use decision making if the value of the resources were properly understood. PlanSmart NJ analyzed the local and state land use planning processes currently used in New Jersey to determine appropriate intervention points to retain New Jersey’s natural capital. (2010, Produced for The Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council)


Protecting New Jersey’s Natural Capital Through Land Use Planning: Opportunities and Challenges recommends New Jersey develop a statewide strategy to secure New Jersey’s natural capital. In addition, the report suggests five land use related points of intervention: legislation/regulation; financial incentives; preservation and restoration; data; and education. (2009, Produced for DEP)

Green Infrastructure Guide: This handbook builds the case for the value of natural systems or “green infrastructure” and provides suggestions on how to integrate green infrastructure with planning for development. (2001)

Regional Equity:

Housing the Vulnerable in Mercer County Report provides an estimate of how much housing needs to be available to address the needs of cost-burdened households, those paying more than 30% of their income for housing. The report estimates that need to be close to 19,000 housing units for those who earn up to 80% of the area’s median household income (MHI) and another 5,000 units for households that earn up to 110% of the MHI. (2008, Produced for The Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness)

Please click here to see past publications  in our Archives. 

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