Redevelopment Forum 2019

Density Doesn’t Have To Look Dense

This summary was written by former New Jersey Future intern Tristan Harrison.

Missing-middle housing types. Graphic courtesy of Opticos Design. Click for a larger view.

Building appropriate housing densities in places with little buildable land has long been a difficult task for planners and developers.  At this year’s Redevelopment Forum, a diverse panel explored ways to accommodate the need for new housing without jeopardizing other community priorities.

Todd Poole, president of 4Ward Planning, noted that the need for moderate housing densities in New Jersey’s walkable, urban neighborhoods has become increasingly apparent in recent decades as the rate of cost-burdened households has grown alongside the price of the average home. At the same time, he said, a significant underproduction of new and diverse housing types has oversaturated the state with single-family homes. In order to provide a more sustainable and equitable housing landscape, he continued, the state could consider policies that encourage development of moderate housing densities that are more cost-effective and space-efficient.