New Brunswick is a growing city with plenty of businesses and attractions. There are many job opportunities available across in the downtown and business area. 40% of New Brunswick’s daytime population is from outside of the city, mainly because of the large amount of transportation services the city has. New Brunswick has a few large groups that play an influential role on the city. Devco, Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson, and Robert Wood Johnson seem to have the most say in New Brunswick.
New Brunswick redevelopment has been focused on the downtown area since the 1970s. They are constantly adding new buildings, changing the environment, and altering the appearance. There is constant construction in the Rutgers/downtown area. Most of these attractions lure wealthy people. The theater, the hotels, the luxury apartments are all meant to attract people who can help stimulate the economy. But have they forgotten about many of the minority groups who already live there?
In the 1950s, New Brunswick proposed high rise buildings near the downtown area that would provide affordable housing to many. In 2001, they were torn down and were replaced by low rise buildings that barely provided half the units of the original buildings. There are fewer affordable housing units and more luxury apartments downtown. Redevelopment in the downtown area of George Street is focused on retail, not housing. Attracting people to work and spend money in the area is effective, but if affordable housing is being threatened, part of the community will suffer tremendously.
Many people also began to leave the city. With the heavy amount of transportation implemented in New Brunswick, many moved to the suburbs surrounding it. This left cities ignored for quite some time. When it was finally time to revitalize the city, the focus was commercial. Commercial development does not always provide for a well rounded community. As chain retail stores came in, local businesses were displaced for the “better good” of the city.
Has New Brunswick been gentrified? For the downtown area, certainly, but there are many other areas that still have local businesses and affordable housing. Expansion of the hospital has attracted people to other areas other than George Street. Though New Brunswick has taken some steps that are questionable, there have many undeniable improvements to the city that have benefited all. Crime rates have significantly lowered since 2000. New public schools have been built in conjunction with Devco. Johnson & Johnson continues to do work for the community and attract many to the area. New Brunswick has made serious efforts to improve the downtown area that might have had some beneficial impacts on the rest of the city.