On June 29, 2014, Together North Jersey launched a summer-long engagement series in partnership with The Star-Ledger and NJ.com. The series of op-eds, articles, live chats, polls, and other interactive activities were an opportunity for New Jersey residents to be involved in improving their state’s quality of life. The posts garnered thousands of comments and questions many of which were addressed by featured experts during the live chats and by Together North Jersey staff. Below, you can find all the posts to date. A complete list can also be found on NJ.com.

Summer Engagement Series Launch Posts

Improving NJ’s quality of life: Your ideas can make a difference: In an op-ed that appeared in The Star-Ledger’s Sunday edition on June 29 and on NJ.com on June 26, Voorhees Transportation Center Executive Director Jon Carnegie, announced the launch of the summer engagement series and urged New Jerseyans to get involved in shaping a more sustainable future. The op-ed laid out the case for working together to address regional challenges and discussed the obstacles to achieving sustainability goals.

The Star-Ledger has branded our partnership under the title "Improving New Jersey." Look for this logo on NJ.com to find our pieces!

The Star-Ledger has branded our partnership under the title “Improving New Jersey.” Look for this logo on NJ.com to find our pieces!

Making NJ communities better starts with these 8 issues: An overview of the issues addressed by the engagement series crucial to improving quality of life in New Jersey.

Meet Together North Jersey: An introduction to Together North Jersey and its regional planning initiative.

Your comments: How to improve NJ quality of life: Some of the thousands of comments and questions left by viewers and readers.

How to improve NJ’s quality of life: Letters: A selection of letters to the editor in response to NJ.com’s request for readers’ ideas on how to make New Jersey a better place to live and work.

Housing Posts

NJ housing crisis: ‘Our first place’ is tough to find, hard to afford: President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ Staci Berger comments on the challenges faced by New Jersey residents in finding a suitable and affordable place to live.

Experts disscuss NJ’s housing crisis; your questions answered: A live video chat was aired on NJ.com on July 1, featuring some of New Jersey’s leading housing experts. Alan Mallach of the National Housing Institute and Peter Reinhardt of the Kislak Real Estate Institute discussed trends in New Jersey’s housing market with Carly Rothman of the Star-Ledger.

NJ housing crisis: 8 takeaways from live chat with experts: Carly Rothman of the Star-Ledger provides us with the main takeaways from her interview with Alan Mallach and Peter Reinhardt on housing issues in New Jersey.

Infrastructure Posts

How bad is NJ’s infrastructure? Shameful is one word for it: Senior Director of State Policy at New Jersey Future, Chris Sturm warns us of the dangers, and expense, of New Jersey’s aging infrastructure.

9 un-fun, even alarming, facts about NJ water systems: The disturbing truth about New Jersey’s outdated water infrastructure and water quality.

Vote: How should NJ pay for road improvements?: Readers voted in a poll on preferred ways to fund road improvements amid the current state budget crisis, choosing from ordinary and surprising options.

How you voted: To fund NJ road repairs, start with gas tax hike: The results of the road improvement funding poll. Almost 2,000 respondents voted.

Complete Streets Posts

‘Complete Streets’ in NJ: Can you get around without a car? : Hudson County Executive, Thomas DeGise discusses how we can make New Jersey streets safer for all modes of transportation.  Readers are asked to share the worst streets in their neighborhood by tweeting to #njworstwalks.

#NJWorstWalk: How hard is it to get around N.J. without a car?: NJ.com highlights some of the comments and photos posted on NJ.com and tweeted with hashtag #njworstwalk

Getting around N.J. with no car: Why Complete Streets matter: Together North Jersey highlights some of the positive reactions to Thomas DeGise’s op-ed and responds to comments expressing skepticism about the benefits of Complete Streets.

Transportation Options Posts

Quiz: Where should you live in N.J., based on transportation needs?: Take Together North Jersey’s quiz on NJ.com! Find out which kind of NJ town matches your transportation preferences.

8 things you should know about N.J. transportation: One of the densest transportation networks in the country are reflected in these gargantuan numbers.

Where you should live in NJ based on transportation needs: Jon Carnegie responds to readers comments about the quiz and offers insights into what your results mean.

Education Posts

Funding Education: What’s the fairest way?: Look at different models for funding education and tell us what you think might work for New Jersey.

Improving N.J. education: Fund school aid, lower administrative costs, increase fair access: Robert Kull from PlanSmart NJ discusses some ideas for improving funding for New Jersey schools

Improving N.J. education: Your comments on how you would fund schools: Jon Carnegie responds to readers comments and shares results of the poll from earlier in the week.

Arts and Culture Posts

How the arts strengthen N.J.’s local economies – and could improve yours: Chris Daggett of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation explains how creative placemaking can not only strengthen communities but can also invigorate the local economy.

Creative placemaking: Resources for strengthening your N.J. community through arts: Chris Daggett provides an overview of resources for supporting local creative placemaking initiatives.

MAP: Where can you find the arts in N.J.? Likely, right near home: Find out where arts and culture are in your neighborhood with this interactive map.

Health Posts

Hidden costs: How can public policies affect our health?: Nancy Mangieri, Director/Health Officer for the Bergen County Department of Health Services explains how public policies and projects can have health costs and benefits and how Health Impact Analyses (HIAs) can help measure them.

From building new casinos to removing old bridges, hidden health costs (and perks) of public projects: Sometimes the health effects of public policies and projects are unexpected. Here’s a few examples of HIAs and what they revealed.

Workforce Posts

Do N.J. job seekers have the right skills for good jobs?: New Jersey’s job prospects may not be too bright unless we train workers for high-growth jobs that pay well but don’t require a degree, according to this op-ed by Robert Freudenberg, New Jersey Director of the Regional Plan Association. A poll accompanying the op-ed asks readers: “What’s your biggest challenge in finding a N.J. job?”

How’s N.J.’s job market? Here’s what readers say: Together North Jersey responds to the public’s comments on Robert Freudenberg’s op-ed and reports the results of the job poll.

Climate Posts

Will climate change affect N.J.? It already does: From Lionfish to super storms, the effects of climate change are already here. Randall Solomon and Linda Weber of Sustainable Jersey explain in this op-ed.


Concluding Post

How to improve N.J. quality of life:  What we learned from readers
Jon Carnegie thanks readers for their participation and shares some of the lessons we’ve learned and the key takeaways from our summer series.  Thanks to everyone for participating!