Madrid & Paris Green Infrastructure Movement - Next Stop Jersey City !

As a river City impacted by exteme weather events, plus our Mayor's commitment to lower our carbon footprint (ignore the Nerdwallet claim as is a form of greenwashing), we have an opportunity to ratchet up more Green Infrastructure (GI) in Jersey City - this will help mitigate climate change impacts and create a higher quality of life in line with social and environmental priorities expressed by our community. As SJC continues our educational outreach on this front, e.g., our Certificate Program In Urban Sustainability, which will highlight Green Infrastructure opportunities related to Building activity + our upcoming GI demonstration projects, the City of Jersey City is undergoing a review of opportunities to integrate Green Infrastructure into New Construction, Redevelopment Projects, and Streetscapes across the City.  This is amazing news and SJC feels that our advocacy efforts, and sometimes nudgy approach, has paid off.  The groundswell of interest in bringing Nature into the City, to help carry the load, not only makes common sense, but makes financial sense.

Integrating GI approaches to our Master Planning activities, will not only mitigate current and future costs of managing stormwater (think property taxes that are intended to pay for needed infrastructure builds and rebuilds), but will pay us all back with quality of life dividends, e.g., air quality (that same Nerdwallet survey cited JC near the bottom of those cities surveyed in this category).  Also, seems like a synergistic bonus to the City's investment in their rightfully inspired 'Culture of Health' initiative.

Gaining the partnership of the Developer community to GREEN THEIR PROJECTS, in compliance with industry best practices, will accelerate our goal to become one of America's best cities and on a practical front, will transform the resiliency of our City, should another super storm hit - tick, tock.  We need incentives on this front and while the NJ DEP might be offering municipal financial support to those who take the initiative to implement GI, Jersey City also needs to come up with local incentives to make this happen.  What about a GREEN SCORE, that is mapped to Abatements ?  Developers get rewarded for integrating greener, energy efficient building and green infrastructure attributes into their designs - or else they are not eligible for higher level Abatement awards - this is probably contentious :-) but other cities are doing it.

Lastly, IF our Economic Development Strategic Plan is to deliver on Social & Environmental Priorities, expressed by an array of community stakeholders, then certainly the opportunity to job train for Greener Building Retrofits (we have a built-in inventory, of old and now new construction, that do not meet industry best practices), GI service sector and other Green Economy Jobs, can be low hanging fruit for the Mayor's Innovation Team.  They are working really hard to connect the dots and deliver on new programs and activities that stimulate economic growth for JC - is it that Green Infrastructure is hiding in plain sight (old joke) ?

With a focus on revitalizing our commercial districts, let's not only think about marketing models and incentives that empower small businesses (both important), but let's ALSO consider the opportunity to create some synergistic returns on our investment in these footprints - yes build, yes bring in new business investment AND yes, let us create greener corridors to live and work in Jersey City.  These are NOT mutually exclusive goals.

We've already published lots about what's going on in our region - Philly, Camden, Hoboken, NYC, etal.  Here's what's going on in Europe -

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056166/madrid-is-covering-itself-in-plants-to-help-fight-rising-temperatures

http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/france-green-roofs-law-solar-panels-20150819