New Jersey's communities are facing a multitude of problems these days, and so many of these problems can be attributed, at least in part, to "dumb" growth -- growth that takes place haphazardly, without consideration for the community as a whole, without consideration for the environment, without consideration for the region, without long-term consideration for the economy, without consideration for the future, without consideration for public health.

No doubt your community faces at least a few of the problems mentioned below. Click on the problems that apply to your community, and you'll be able to learn more about what these problems are, why they plague our state, and how they are affecting New Jersey's communities from Cape May to Sparta. You'll also learn how smart growth can help alleviate these problems, and find recommendations for which specific smart growth strategies might help you make your town a better place to live.
Creating Healthy Communities
Design & Smart Growth
Transportation & Smart Growth
Water Resources & Smart Growth
Open Space, Farmland & Smart Growth
The Environment & Smart Growth
Housing & Smart Growth
Redevelopment & Smart Growth
Money, Taxes & Smart Growth
Regional Cooperation & Smart Growth
Planning for Smart Growth
Historic Preservation & Smart Growth

image Creating Healthy Communities
Seems like every day there's a new report coming out declaring that Americans are suffering from more heart attacks, diabetes, weight problems, and high blood pressure, doesn't it? Did you know that the town you live in could be making you and your neighbors overweight and unhealthy?

Read this section to learn about public health problems, why New Jersey's residents suffer from them, and how smart growth can help.
image Design & Smart Growth
The distinctive appearance of commercial centers and residential areas plays an important role in community quality of life. The design and position of buildings, the arrangement of streets, walkways, and parking, the placement of parks all contribute to the character of a place and determine its desirability, attractiveness, safety, pedestrian behavior, and real estate values.

Read this section to learn about how design and smart growth go hand-in-hand.

image Transportation & Smart Growth
Do you spend your commute sitting in traffic? Wish you could ride your bike to the grocery store? Feel like you spend your entire day chauffeuring your kids and elderly parents around? Would you prefer to ride the bus or train to work so you could read the newspaper and drink your coffee?

Read this section to learn about transportation issues and how smart growth can help make your commute a little less miserable.

image Water Resources & Smart Growth
You've let your garden go brown to conserve water during the seemingly never-ending drought, you're spending hundreds of dollars a year on bottled water because you're worried about the quality of your town's tap water, and you don't let your kids play in the creek because it's got a strange greenish hue.

Read this section to learn about water resource and water quality problems, and how smart growth can help solve them.

image Open Space, Farmland & Smart Growth
Remember back when your town was surrounded by forests, fields, and farms? Ever wonder how that all got turned into parking lots, malls, and office parks? You're not sure how it happened, but one thing is certain: your town is losing its open space and farmland.

Read this section to learn about open space and farmland loss, and how smart growth can help.

image The Environment & Smart Growth
Our built environment - the developments where we live, work, shop, and play - has both direct and indirect effects on the natural environment. Where and how we develop our land impacts resource areas, natural places, and animal habitat by replacing and fragmenting these places with impervious surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.

Read this section to learn about how smart growth can help solve many of New Jersey's environmental problems.

image Housing & Smart Growth
Gimmie shelter! You love living in New Jersey because your family is here and your kids love their school. But if the cost of housing keeps going up, you're never going to be able to afford to stay here, and sometimes you wish you had more than one type of home to choose from.

Read this section to learn about how smart growth relates to housing affordability and housing choice.

image Redevelopment & Smart Growth
You're baffled as to why they just built a new mall down the road from the old empty one instead of just putting new shops in the old mall or why they keep building more new houses on the outskirts of town instead of fixing up the lovely older ones downtown. Sounds like you could use a little redevelopment!

Read this section to learn about redevelopment and how it works in New Jersey.

image Money, Taxes & Smart Growth
Your town is on the never-ending hunt for tax ratables but there's still never enough money to pay for roads, schools, or the fire department. Property taxes are sky-high and many of your friends have wondered how much longer they'll be able to afford to live in New Jersey.

Read this section to learn about economic problems, why New Jersey suffers from them, and how smart growth can help.

image Regional Cooperation & Smart Growth
Your town carefully preserved its community character and open spaces, but what about the mall in the town next door that dumps thousands of cars onto your roads? Building more livable communities can be difficult without inter-municipal coordination, because many issues - such as traffic, pollution, and economic development -- transcend municipal borders.

Read this section to learn about regional cooperation and why smart growth can be more effective when you work with your neighbors.

What is planning, anyway? And if you want to plan for smart growth, where on earth do you begin?

Read this section for some basics on planning, government, and how you can begin to actively plan for smart growth in your community.

image Historic Preservation & Smart Growth
Instead of neglecting structures in our existing communities, we should preserve them as a critical part of our ongoing effort to save natural resources and limit sprawl development. By valuing our existing resources and reusing them, we can reduce the need to consume open space, natural resources, and farmland. We can create new housing close to transit, shopping, and jobs. We can save money by using the sewers, streets, and utility lines we�ve already built, instead of spending money on new infrastructure and neglecting our previous investments. We can spur heritage tourism throughout the state.

Read this section to learn about how historic preservation is a critical piece of the smart growth puzzle.