Below are past technical assistance and training events involving Together North Jersey.

Building Leaders Together Leadership Institute

In January and February 2015 Together North Jersey Together North Jersey and Building One New Jersey partnered together to launch the “Building Leaders Together” Leadership Institute. The training took place over four Saturdays in January and February 2015 in New Brunswick, NJ, more than 40 individuals participated from all across the Together North Jersey region.

The training was based on a curriculum developed by Building One America but adapted through a partnership with Together North Jersey to fit the unique needs of the our region and expose the participants to the regional planning process. The program focused on leadership skills development in the context of challenges and solutions for sustainable community development in the 13-county Together North Jersey planning region. The curriculum covered an enormous amount of material covering a range of self-development and leadership skills. Participants also explored the art of conducting “one-on-one” meetings, developing and managing relationships in their “public” lives and the importance of understanding their own self-interest and the self-interests of others–especially those with power.

The key topics covered included:

  • Power
  • Self-Interest
  • One-to-Ones
  • Public vs. Private
  • Issues and Actions
  • Power Analysis
  • Strategic Campaign
  • Money
  • Agitation
  • Path to Power
  • Effective Meetings
  • Planning and Reflection

Throughout the training, each participant was challenged to think about their personal aspirations and skills and the characteristics of the organizations with which they are aligned to assess critically how effective they may be at contributing to sustainable change in their communities.

Leading the Way:  From Plan to Implementation

The Plan to Implementation Conference, hosted by Together North Jersey at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers-Newark, celebrated celebrate the accomplishments of the Local Demonstration Project, Local Government Capacity Grant and Non-Governmental Organization Micro-Grant Programs. The event attracted approximately 250 participants and leaders, some of whom have been involved with Together North Jersey over the past 3 years and some who were just interested in learning about the local projects. The conference was organized by Together North Jersey, the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), and NJ Transit.  The day included:

  • Opening remarks by Jon Carnegie, Executive Director of the Rutgers University Voorhees Transportation Center, Mary K. Murphy, Executive Director of NJTPA, and Veronique Hakim, Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT.
  • Five concurrent panel sessions on the topics of streets/infrastructure/public realm, creating destinations with arts/tourism/niche markets, connecting to opportunities, building more resilient communities, and development opportunities.
  • A lunch panel discussion on sustainable communities made up of Regional Administrators and local leaders from state and federal government agencies that together made up the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
  • Poster session for projects under each of the programs, as well as the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies. Posters were displayed and staffed by the local partners and teams.
  • “Speed Dating” sessions with decision makers and funders from Federal, State and Local organizations. Topic areas included transportation, environment and resiliency, housing and community development, economic competitiveness, and workforce development. Participants had the opportunity to attend up to 3 topic areas and learn about the resources that exist to implement their projects.

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

On June 19, 2014, Together North Jersey, in partnership with The New Jersey Consortium on Creative Placemaking, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, ArtPride NJ, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, hosted a special event on the power of creative placemaking in New Jersey communities. Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts program, the largest mural program and a model for community engagement through the arts, presented the keynote speech. The program also featured:

  • A panel discussion that featured a developer, former mayor, statewide official, community organizer with successful experience connecting arts with community and economic development.
  • A funders panel featuring some of the biggest funders of arts and creative placemaking in New Jersey
  • Three peer-learning workshops: how to better integrate arts and culture in your community’s plans; how artists and other creative professionals can play bigger roles in leading creative placemaking efforts; or how to better integrate arts, land use, transportation and economic development.

Health in All Policies (HIAP) Workshop

The Health in All Policies (HIAP) Workshop was hosted by Together North Jersey at the Cook Campus Center at Rutgers University on March 18, 2013.   HIAP is an approach to policy development that includes consideration of health aspects into “non-health” policy areas such as transportation, housing, environment, energy and economic development.  This workshop was developed in partnership with state and federal agencies and served as an important educational opportunity for local health officers in New Jersey.

The focus of the workshop was on:

  • Introducing the concepts of HIAP and the value of taking an HIAP approach,
  • Inspiring future adoption of an HIAP approach in decision making through a better understanding of the value of HIAP,
  • Empowering recognition of HIAP as an important approach that is attainable through examples and case studies of successful HIAP efforts in areas such as housing, land use, transportation, energy, etc.
  • Building capacity to apply tangible HIPA approaches to daily decision making.

In addition to the speakers and panel discussions,  there was an interactive session in the afternoon designed to help participants learn specific techniques, approaches and methods to incorporate health outcomes into built environment decision-making and land use planning.

More information and full presentations given at the HIAP Workshop are available here.

Bridging the Gap: How Planners and Communities Can Work Together

On January 17th, 2013, the Edward J. Boustein School of Planning and Public Policy hosted the “Bridging the Gap” workshop. The purpose of this workshop was to “bridge the gap” between planners and community based organizations and to promote awareness of APA-NJ’s Community Planning Assistance Program.  The workshop provided a platform for community based organizations to better understand the role of city and regional planners in community development, and acquire access to information that can help them become strong and sustainable entities within their mission area.  The workshop also gave planners an opportunity to learn more about CBOs, what they do, and their planning needs.  The workshop was co-sponsored by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association and Together North Jersey.

The event flyer is available for download HERE.

The Community Leadership Institute

The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDN-NJ), in partnership with New Jersey Community Capital and the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association, held their second annual Community Leadership Institute between September 27th and 28th of 2012. Municipal staff and officials from 17 cities and towns within the TOGETHER NORTH JERSEY target area, as well as staff from 15 community development organizations attended the institute. This event addressed strategies for vacant and problem properties, including options for turning vacant spaces into vibrant places that revitalize communities.

The two day event offered peer sharing sessions, presentations by local and national experts and time for individual municipalities to refine their local strategies with on-hand experts. This event offered concrete tools and solutions that participants can immediately put to use in their communities.

The Community Leadership Institute offered a variety of workshops and lectures, all of which offered great opportunities for peer learning among the attendees.  Workshop topics included, setting up a property inventory and management system, building a strategic code enforcement system, and successfully managing a public property inventory. In addition, a series of lectures was offered on topics such as, “pursuing legislative solutions to reclaim problem properties” and “turning vacant spaces into vibrant places.” .

HCDN-NJ also offers municipal and county staff customized technical assistance. Many municipalities have engaged NCDN-NJ for this purpose, including Paterson, the City of Orange, Asbury Park, and Jersey City.  To these recipients, HCDN-NJ is providing assistance on topics relating to addressing abandoned properties, code enforcement, and the spot blight eminent domain process.

For additional information on the technical assistance available to municipalities please visit the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey website at or contact Arnold Cohen at

Symposium on Planning Healthy Sustainable Communities

The Symposium on Planning Healthy Sustainable Communities was hosted by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University between April 26th and 27th 2012. This symposium showcased the research and policy development initiatives undertaken by Together North Jersey Project Team members as well as Bloustein School faculty, staff, students, and alumni in the area of sustainability planning and policy. Presentations were given over the course of two days at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick.
The following are examples of the types of lectures and workshops that were given at the symposium:

  • Designing Active, Healthy Sustainable Communities
  • New Jersey’s State Strategic Plan: Understanding our Industry Clusters and Infrastructure
  • Strengthening Public Health and Livability in Communities with Disproportionate Environmental Burdens
  • Sustainable Transit Oriented Development in NJ’s Urban Core: Case Studies from Harrison and the Oranges

In addition to the lectures there was also a poster session that allowed Symposium participants to browse research and projects not covered as part of the podium sessions and interact one-on-one with the sponsoring researchers. The posters included research undertaken by Together North Jersey Project Team members as well as the various research centers, institutes, faculty, and students at the Bloustein School.

Full presentations given at the Symposium are available to download here.