Community design is vitally important for both functional and aesthetic reasons. The design of our communities and their environs – the ways in which buildings, streets, activities and open space are physically organized and related – can be a powerful influence of human behavior.
The office has been placing an increased emphasis on the physical planning and design aspects of State Plan implementation. Achieving the State Plan's goals depends not only on the location of new growth and development, but also the form that it takes. The State Plan also recognizes the link between community design and lifestyle, and the effects these have on public health. The State Plan has been recognized for these efforts, including receipt of a prestigious Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism. The office is developing a range of initiatives designed to take the State Plan’s message on design to a variety of constituencies.
Designing New Jersey - This publication offers the State Plan’s design statement in a visually compelling 80 page handbook. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to include design strategies and guidelines in its growth-management tool kit. The 2001 State Plan includes design principles and policies, which were not included in the first State Plan adopted in 1992.
Employment and Community - This publication focuses on the office work place — the fastest growing sector of our service economy — and its links to the overall community. It suggests models for our new employment centers. It shows how office buildings, research laboratories and other contemporary work places can be successfully combined with restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, parking, housing and many other uses to create compact, mixed-use places that promote walking, facilitate transit and encourage human interaction.
Mayor’s Institute on City Design - Building on the highly acclaimed program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Conference of Mayors, the office and the Regional Plan Association, along with other potential partners, offers this highly effective learning program to selected New Jersey mayors.
Conference presentations - The office will continue to solicit presentation opportunities at professional or interest group conferences and gatherings, such as the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Community Development, the American Institute of Architects NJ chapter annual conference, The American Planning Association NJ chapter annual conference and others.
Design Training for Planning Professionals - The office and potential partner organizations (Rutgers, NJIT, American Planning Association - NJ chapter, American Institute of Architects, Professional Engineers, others) will develop and offer courses on physical planning and design for the professional community.
State Agency Initiatives
State agencies have considerable influence over physical planning and design decisions, through regulatory and permitting programs, through the guidelines used by the various state programs for project selection and design, through financing and underwriting of private sector projects and through direct construction.
The office is working with funding programs from DCA, HMFA and other agencies to sensitize program staffs to the importance of physical planning and design and to develop a common set of community design guidelines which these programs can use to evaluate funding applications and improve project design.
The office also provides comments and assistance to other state agencies -- such as DOT, DEP, Treasury and EDA -- to help reform their permitting and funding programs for consistency with smart growth objectives and with the State Plan’s physical planning and design principles.
The resources of Main Street New Jersey are now available.