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Department of State

Office of Planning Advocacy

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

Regional Coordination

Regional Coordination focuses on improving communication, increasing cooperation and reducing contradictory policies, programs and actions related to land use and planning activities between state entities and other levels of government, regional entities and allied organizations.”


Design Resources

Community design is vitally important for both functional and aesthetic reasons.  The design of our communities and their environs – the ways in which buildings, streets, activities and open space are physically organized and related – can be a powerful influence of human behavior.

The office has been placing an increased emphasis on the physical planning and design aspects of State Plan implementation. Achieving the State Plan's goals depends not only on the location of new growth and development, but also the form that it takes. The State Plan also recognizes the link between community design and lifestyle, and the effects these have on public health. The State Plan has been recognized for these efforts, including receipt of a prestigious Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism. The office is developing a range of initiatives designed to take the State Plan’s message on design to a variety of constituencies.


Designing New Jersey - This publication offers the State Plan’s design statement in a visually compelling 80 page handbook. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to include design strategies and guidelines in its growth-management tool kit.  The 2001 State Plan includes design principles and policies, which were not included in the first State Plan adopted in 1992.

Employment and Community - This publication focuses on the office work place — the fastest growing sector of our service economy — and its links to the overall community. It suggests models for our new employment centers. It shows how office buildings, research laboratories and other contemporary work places can be successfully combined with restaurants, hotels, retail establishments, parking, housing and many other uses to create compact, mixed-use places that promote walking, facilitate transit and encourage human interaction.

Educational Initiatives

Mayor’s Institute on City Design - Building on the highly acclaimed program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Conference of Mayors, the office and the Regional Plan Association, along with other potential partners, offers this highly effective learning program to selected New Jersey mayors.

Conference presentations - The office will continue to solicit presentation opportunities at professional or interest group conferences and gatherings, such as the Governor’s Conference on Housing and Community Development, the American Institute of Architects NJ chapter annual conference, The American Planning Association NJ chapter annual conference and others.

Design Training for Planning Professionals - The office and potential partner organizations (Rutgers, NJIT, American Planning Association - NJ chapter, American Institute of Architects, Professional Engineers, others) will develop and offer courses on physical planning and design for the professional community.

State Agency Initiatives

State agencies have considerable influence over physical planning and design decisions, through regulatory and permitting programs, through the guidelines used by the various state programs for project selection and design, through financing and underwriting of private sector projects and through direct construction.

The office is working with funding programs from DCA, HMFA and other agencies to sensitize program staffs to the importance of physical planning and design and to develop a common set of community design guidelines which these programs can use to evaluate funding applications and improve project design.

The office also provides comments and assistance to other state agencies -- such as DOT, DEP, Treasury and EDA -- to help reform their permitting and funding programs for consistency with smart growth objectives and with the State Plan’s physical planning and design principles.


The resources of Main Street New Jersey are now available.

County & Regional Planning Partners

Schools and Smart Growth

Imagine schools that become the center of communities, offering everything from early childhood through adult education...placed in well-planned communities where residents can safely walk or bike to them.

The office encourages progressive community use of schools as libraries, health resources or arts centers — and imagines learning facilities linked to high-tech business, civic programs and more.

The largest school construction and reconstruction initiative in the history of New Jersey — and the most ambitious school-building initiative in the nation — creates an unprecedented opportunity to more fully integrate bricks and mortar into the fabric of communities.

The location and design of our learning facilities is central to achieving the goals of the State Plan.

The office is working for other state agencies to leverage the opportunity created by the $12.3 billion Educational Facilities Construction and Reconstruction Act. For a free copy of a new publication, Creating Communities of Learning: Schools and Smart Growth in New Jersey, order from our online publications catalog.

Traffic and Transportation

Getting Where You Need To Go...

Do you want your children facing a commute to work two or three times longer than yours? Do we want your aging parents homebound, simply because they no longer have the use of a car?

Following Smart Growth means better access to mass transit and walkable, compact communities. That means cleaner air, reduced respiratory problems, better trails and walkways that bring our communities and people closer together, and more free time when you're not stuck in traffic.

Since New Jersey is the most densely populated and heavily traveled state in the country, it's important to make sure that increasing traffic congestion isn't a way of life.

The goal of a high-quality transportation system is to get people where they want to go, safely, quickly and efficiently. This includes people who cannot drive, who can't afford a car, and those who choose not to drive.

To learn more about how transportation — and the movement of people and goods — fits the Smart Growth goals of the State Plan, see Transportation Choices 2025


Smart Growth Areas

What is a Smart Growth Area?

The office has developed the definition of Smart Growth Area to include an area classified as one of the following:

Am I in a Smart Growth Area?

Please visit the NJ Site Evaluator for a detailed procedure on how to determine Smart Growth Area status. GIS data are available for your reference.


Smart Growth Areas Map

Smart Growth Areas and New Jersey State Agencies

A number of state agencies use Smart Growth Areas as tools to implement certain programs. Below is a list of some of the programs that cite Smart Growth Area status as one of their criteria. This list is continuously updated as new programs choose to use Smart Growth Areas in their decision-making process.


Page Last Updated: 09/04/19



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