Monday, April 12, 2010

Development trends show urban center rebound


Residential development trends in New Jersey, Philadelphia and elsewhere demonstrate a notable rebound for urban centers.

In its latest Future Facts, New Jersey Future reports that:

  • Between 1990 and 1995, New York City accounted for 15 percent of the residential building permits issued in its larger metropolitan area. Between 2003 and 2008, however, it averaged 48 percent of the metro total.

  • Philadelphia's share of its metropolitan area's building permit activity jumped from a mere 3 percent to 13 percent between the same two time periods. In 2008 alone, Philadelphia accounted for 16 percent of total metropolitan building permits, retaining its improved stature even in the face of the real estate downturn.

  • The eight "urban centers" identified by New Jersey's State Development and Redevelopment Plan (Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Trenton, Camden, New Brunswick and Atlantic City) accounted for only 3 percent of residential building permits issued statewide between 1990 and 1995-but jumped to 14 percent of those issued between 2003 and 2008.

New Jersey Future analyzed municipal building permits and found that the resurgence of construction in already-developed places:

was most dramatic in what can be thought of as the North Jersey "urban core": Hudson, Essex, Union and Bergen counties, plus the lower neck of Passaic County (everything from Wayne east) and Middlesex County north of the Raritan River. This group of counties and county segments more than doubled its share of statewide building permits, from 16 percent in the 1990-1995 period to 34 percent in 2003-2008.

“Not coincidentally, Hudson, Union, Passaic and Middlesex were four of the six fastest-growing counties between 2008 and 2009, a position in which these counties had not found themselves in years-or, in some cases, decades.”

The smart-growth organization says the trend makes it clear that it’s time for “ New Jersey state agencies and municipal governments to realign their growth policies to make redevelopment the default development pattern for the future.”

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