David Rusk, author of Baltimore Unbound, Cities without Suburbs, and Inside Game/Outside Game, gave a presentation to local leaders on New Jersey’s “opportunity gaps.” He is a consultant for Building ONE New Jersey, a statewide organization with a particular interest in the plight of First Suburbs. Their goal is to change social structures to promote equity, stability, and growth in New Jersey communities.
Mr. Rusk points out that First Suburbs–like Maplewood and South Orange–are racially and economically diverse, and are challenged by having low tax bases and high school costs. He has created a set of “Opportunity Maps” that use indices like schools, jobs, transportation, and tax bases, to assess where the highest and lowest opportunities are throughout the state. He argues that First Suburbs and cities tend to be the most environmentally sustainable as well as the most racially and economically inclusive. Yet, they offer low job opportunities, they are tax-stressed, and the schools face ever-rising costs with diminshing funding.
His recommendation: “Invest heavily in First Suburbs that are already developed and diverse. Investing in inclusive older communities is investing in sustainability, inclusion and in our economic future.”
SAVE THE DATE!
Building ONE New Jersey’s Statewide Public Meeting is Sunday, September 30th, 4-6 pm. The location is TBA. To learn more about this organization’s work on bi-partisan solutions to pressing problems impacting First Suburbs, visit www.njregionalequity.org.