Newark’s numerous sustainability initiatives were kicked around at the city’s Green Future Summit over the weekend, a two-day conference held Friday and Saturday at NJIT. Among them: the city’s plans to renovate the Passaic River waterfront for public use and plant tens of thousands of trees, and the 300-unit eco-friendly village (solar panels, green building materials) that’s been proposed by the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District. Speakers discussed economic development, open space and green building, and Cory Booker sounded somewhat poetic on the topic of, well, the city’s green future:
“Every one of our goals, if you look at them through a green lens, you realize that we can actually achieve more, achieve it better, achieve it in a more conscious way when it comes to our environment and achieve it in a more inexpensive way” (from the Star-Ledger).
Booker’s green goals include helping Newark save energy and money, creating jobs, reclaiming community space, “undermining” health issues like asthma and cancer, beautifying the city (and others) and the state and ensuring that people of all backgrounds and income levels have access to clean rivers, parks and oceans (from his blog). He says the American dream is a green dream.
As Zemin wrote over the weekend on the Daily Newarker site, “For almost half a century, Newark has not been a fertile land for any dreams, not mentioning Green dreams.” In the post, he describes rushing to the hospital one night while his son, in the back seat of the car, struggles with an asthma attack. He rolls down the windows for fresh air but gets hot air and the smell of garbage instead.
He says he hopes Newark — the Newark that ranked least walkable on Prevention Magazine’s list last year of 100 big American cities — becomes a city of the past. He seems optimistic that it will, with leadership from Toni Griffin, Baye Adofo-Wilson, Booker and others.
The Green Future Summit came on the heels of a report by the Center for American Progress and University of Massachusetts-Amherst that outlined the 50,000-plus jobs that could be created in New Jersey with investments in clean energy.
Kate Gordon of the Apollo Alliance, which helped organize the event, said she thinks Newark has the potential to serve as a national model for green urban revitalization. Good green things are happening there, and we’ll keep our eye on them.
More: Newark’s Green Dream (Daily Newarker)
Newark Green Future Summit — A Rebuttal (Daily Newarker)