With the help of strong leadership, as well as committed anchor institutions, businesses, and community organizations, the city of Newark is attracting new ventures and restoring abandoned factories and other buildings as hubs for education, innovation, and even urban farms.
The new Riverfront Park is reconnecting the city with the Passaic River. Teachers Village, a mixed-use redevelopment project, is nearly complete, attracting educators and new residents to downtown, and serving as a model for similar mixed-use, mixed-income projects. Newark Fiber, the product of an innovative public-private partnership, has brought very high-speed internet service to Newark, and positioned the city to become a hub for tech start-ups. The former Hahne’s Building is now an arts incubator and education hub. New plans for a PATH train extension to Newark Airport could open up further job opportunities for residents in some of the city’s lowest income neighborhoods.
Newark’s revitalization should continue by leveraging the city’s unique cultural, transportation, and historic assets. These include Newark’s unique transportation assets (NJ Transit, Amtrak, the Newark subway, and the PATH train), its cultural institutions (the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark Museum), and its colleges and universities (Rutgers University, Seton Hall University of Law, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Essex County Community College).
Many Newarkers are excited about the changes, but they also want to ensure benefits reach existing residents in addition to newcomers, and to forestall displacement as development accelerates. To address these concerns, Newark took a historic step in 2017 by passing an inclusionary housing policy that requires 20 percent of all new housing construction to be set aside for low- and moderate-income families.
The Fourth Regional Plan urges the three states to focus efforts and investments in “legacy” cities like Newark. It features strategies that would help Newark achieve inclusive prosperity by protecting current residents from displacement, and suggests incentives for new housing that would help the city retain and attract residents of different income levels. The plan recommends transportation infrastructure projects such as the Gateway project, the PATH extension, and a new light rail connection to Paterson that would increase economic opportunities for Newarkers. The plan also suggests greening urban landscapes to improve the health and well-being of all residents.