Serving Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic & Union Counties
Message from our Northeast Area Rep., Alex Dambach, PP, AICP
Northeast New Jersey is a major urban center with a total population of more than 3.3 million. It contains the headquarters of some of the world’s largest corporations, the Port of Newark and Elizabeth, Newark Liberty International Airport, and several smaller airports. Land uses range from heavy industrial areas and intensely developed urban centers to pristine mountain forests and watershed areas.
The mixture of inner-ring suburbs, major cities, and lush woodlands creates an environment with something for every type of planner to feel challenged and fulfilled. There are many efficiently developed areas that embody the principles of “smart growth,” such as Hoboken, Union City, East Orange, and Montclair, and there are suburban communities with major retail malls and office campuses. The region also includes major infrastructure features such as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, Penn Station and the Secaucus Junction, the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, the Prudential Center and Giants Stadium, and shipping and distribution centers around the ports and airports.
One of the most remarkable features of Northeast New Jersey is the population’s inclusiveness and diversity. Nearly every major world language is spoken here. The language of the sidewalks is Tagalog in Bergenfield, Portuguese in The Ironbound, Hindu in Journal Square, and Arabic in South Paterson. A person from anywhere in the world will probably find their native language, food, and customs on display somewhere in Northeast New Jersey. Accessing these areas is also relatively easy with multiple commuter rail stations, three light rail lines, and rapid transit, heavy rail, and ferry service connecting the region to Manhattan.
For planners, this area offers exciting opportunities. Working with limited land area, multiple cultures, intense infrastructure, and vast extremes in wealth means planning requires great creativity and sensitivity. Challenges such as suburban sprawl, geographic concentrations of poverty, threats to watersheds, areas of high crime, transportation congestion, and challenging economic times requires collaborative work among the region’s planners. The sharing of smart ideas, the advocating for good national and statewide policies, and the creation of ample opportunities for planners to boost their skills are key ways that APA-NJ’s Northeast Regional Representative can help planners make a positive difference in the quality of life for this great region. The representative also seeks to create more networking opportunities and events that help to build professional relationships necessary for career advancement.
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