Smart growth will lead to economic growth, New Jersey residents say
A poll by Monmouth University shows that the public associates smart growth with an improving economy.
While the economy has become a much bigger issue in recent years, most New Jersey residents believe that development of mixed-use, walkable communities will improve the business environment, according to a report by New Jersey Future.
Residents "are enthusiastic about communities where a variety of transportation options already exist and neighborhoods are within walking distance of shopping and other services," and "nearly 70 percent ... support a coordinated, statewide plan to steer growth and development to existing population centers in order to preserve farming communities and open spaces."
These numbers have not changed much since 2002, the report notes. One thing that has changed is the percentage of residents who believe it is very important for the state to attract new businesses and create jobs — that figure has jumped 29 points, to 88 percent from 59 percent.
Fortunately for smart growth proponents, residents like the idea of mixed-use communities and feel that more of them would boost the economy.
"In addition to supporting a coordinated, statewide plan to direct growth to existing population centers, residents would like to see more communities where a variety of transportation options exist and neighborhoods are within walking distance of shopping and other services. Two-thirds of New Jerseyans feel the state needs more of these communities, and nearly three in four residents say they would definitely (46 percent) or probably (27 percent) want to live in such a community. A majority believe such communities will make it easier to get around (72 percent) and will promote economic growth (71 percent)."