Great Places in NJ


Congratulations to the 2014 Great Places in New Jersey Designees!

Great Places represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future. They support their local economies and add value to their communities. “Great places don’t happen by accident – they’ve been planned for, designed, and maintained,” states APA-NJ President, Charles Latini, Jr. “APA-NJ chose to implement this program because our great places deserve attention, and other communities can look to these shining examples as best practices.”

Know of a downtown, street, public space or neighborhood that you think merits designation as a Great Place in New Jersey? Suggest it today by filling out our Easy Suggestion Form!  APA-NJ accepts suggestions year-round.

Great Downtowns

Truly the centerpieces in the lives of their communities, New Jersey’s Great Downtowns prosper in spite of strong regional and e-commerce competition.

Downtown Atlantic Highlands

Downtown Atlantic Highlands

Honoring its seafaring heritage, Atlantic Highlands has proven that even a small community (2010 pop. = 4,385) can create a great downtown with a distinctive local flavor. Good connections to walking and hiking trails are a bonus.


Downtown Haddonfield
Downtown Haddonfield

An effective model for municipalities looking to attract and retain businesses, Haddonfield’s creative use of its Business Improvement District has enabled its downtown to become a high quality shopping and dining destination.


Downtown Hammonton
Downtown Hammonton

Hammonton’s influx of new businesses during the economic downturn underscores the necessary roles that meaningful partnerships and tenacity play in any downtown revitalization. An arts district draws out-of-town visitors.


Downtown Summit
Downtown Summit

The City’s Special Improvement District has effectively organized businesses and property owners through Summit Downtown Management, Inc. and positioned the downtown as an attractive retail destination.


Great Public Spaces 

These Great Public Spaces reside in communities that understood the opportunity presented by an underutilized place and reimagined it into something wonderful.

Camden Waterfront

Camden Waterfront, Camden City

A former industrial center, the Camden Waterfront has become a fantastic waterfront destination that abounds with opportunities to enjoy open space, music, art, history, theater, dining, shopping and events.


Hawk Rise Sanctuary, Linden City

The greater part of Hawk Rise Sanctuary sits on the site of a former landfill, remediated so that it now provides environmental benefits while addressing human needs for open space.


Millitary Park
Military Park, Newark City

Military Park was a worn out, wasted space in Newark’s downtown district that now functions as its “outdoor living room.” Non-governmental sources are expected to cover ongoing costs.


A special thanks to the 2014 Great Places in New Jersey judges:

Jef Buehler
State Coordinator, Main Street New Jersey & Improvement District Programs 

Ben Hitchings, AICP
President, APA-North Carolina Chapter
Planning Director, Town of Morrisville, NC

David Heller, AICP/PP
APA-NJ Southern Shore Representative
Team Leader, Regional & Systems Planning, South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization

James W. Hughes
Dean, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Courtenay Mercer, AICP/PP
APA Board Director, Region I
Director, New Jersey, Regional Plan Association

Peter A. Primavera
Executive Director, Downtown New Jersey
Managing Partner, Peter Primavera Partners, LLC

Linda E. Wills, AICP/PP
Chair, Great Places in New Jersey
Community Planner and Public Policy Analyst 

Click on the icons to visit Great Places designated since 2012!

Getting to Great

posted on November 3rd, 2014 in Great Places in NJ, News

“Getting to Great” is a video presentation developed by Professional Planners and sponsored by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ) to offer a perspective on how good planning can help New Jersey’s communities become more prosperous and desirable places. Watch the video and download the discussion guide to facilitate conversations around good planning.

People’s Choice Awards

posted on September 28th, 2014 in Great Places in NJ, News

With 11,421 online ballots cast between August 22-September 26, the People’s Choice Awards for Great Downtowns is officially closed and APA-NJ is pleased to announce the winners. Congratulations Hoboken, Downtown Red Bank, and Asbury Avenue, Ocean City!

2013 Great Places in New Jersey Designees

posted on September 29th, 2013 in Great Places in NJ

The American Planning Association-New Jersey Chapter announced New Jersey’s 3 Great Downtowns and 2 Great Public Spaces for 2013 through the organization’s program, Great Places in New Jersey

2012 Great Places in New Jersey Designees

posted on September 23rd, 2012 in Great Places in NJ, News

Launched this year, Great Places in New Jersey recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces – three essential components of great communities. These places represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historic interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.

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