Jersey City: America’s Greatest Comeback Story
You'll learn about:
How historic preservation jumpstarted Jersey City’s comeback
How redevelopment planning and its inherent powers turned brownfields into New Jersey’s “Gold Coast”
how transportation enhancements helped create one of the nation’s largest downtowns.
Jersey City has come a long way from its days as the railhead of the nation, sitting on the edge of the continent. Sharing a boundary with New York, Jersey City was settled by the Dutch only six years after New Amsterdam. With almost 400 years of history, this place boasts many layers and stories and will soon be New Jersey’s largest city.
Come see and hear the story as told by its planning director of more than a quarter of a century. Now retired, Bob Cotter will show you how this city came to be, how it was used and abused over the centuries, and how urban renewal almost destroyed it while trying to “save” it. Beginning in the 1960s, the idea of “Wall Street West” began to introduce a new economy for this hollowed-out city, which lost a third of its population between 1930 and 1980. Now the fastest-growing city in the New York Metro region, Jersey City is doing its part to keep the region strong, green, and sustainable. Discover how.
Invited SpeakerBob Cotter was the Planning Director for Jersey City, a position he held for more than 25 years (and 11 mayors). Under his direction, Jersey City has adopted more than 80 redevelopment plans, including the City’s Martin Luther King Drive Redevelopment Plan, which won the 1995 National Planning Award for Advocacy Planning. The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association has recognized Bob and his staff with many awards for their excellent work over the past 30 years. During his three and a half decades with the city, Jersey City has risen from the grit of its industrial, railroading and maritime past to become the 13th largest downtown in America, and is poised to become New Jersey largest city in the next few years, with over 6,000 dwellings units currently in construction. As a consultant to numerous towns and cities across the state, Bob has won awards and funding for projects as diverse as Livingston Town Center and Hope VI housing projects in Orange, Elizabeth and Bridgeton, plus Jersey City. Bob served 20 years as chairman of the Redevelopment Committee of APA-NJ. He is a graduate of Leadership New Jersey and a past president of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy. He earned bachelors and masters degrees in planning at Rutgers. Bob was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2012. He recently taught a course on Urban Redevelopment at Rutgers Bloustein School. He lives in Jersey City with his wife of 32 years – Laurie Cotter. They both retired in 2016 and are renovating a house in Enfield, NC, where they will move to in mid-2017.