Urban Sprawl has been the kind of development by New Jersey for the greater part of 40 years. Sprawl is characterized by low density development away from stores and employment. This was mostly due to the invention of the personal car. Now people can go far away and live in wide open space, but still be connected to the things they need with a car. Most time urban sprawl takes green land and turns it into residential single family housing on large lots, shopping, employment, and recreational space, all spread out and car dependent to get around. Humans have a huge negative effect on wildlife in areas of sprawl, destroying the homes of many animals and migration patterns of birds. Sooner or later all of New Jersey is going to be sprawled out or preserved by wildlife committees. The destruction of forests has but wildlife in danger and could have unforeseen consequences in the future. The need for more development will not stop. With all the land either being used or preserved developers have to think smarter and use the land we have to redevelop.
The term Smart Growth is trending in development as the only way to develop. Smart growth is taking land that is already developed and redeveloping it for higher density population. The problem with sprawl is there is not enough people to pay for the land taxes that the local municipal’s need to run. With smart growth the amount of people per lot increases making a broader tax base to shoulder the towns expenses. The higher density also has an effect on small local business that are not doing so well in their low density areas. More people more business for the locals and increases the total economic value of the town. Smart growth going to be the only way New Jersey can continue to grow after all the land is either owned or preserved for wildlife.
Towns have already started using the principles of smart growth to improve their own towns. The town of Somerset Hills the municipal has decided to increase residential density in areas that it applies. Also they have decided to increase residential and commercial development around the train station. This town has seen an increase in local business and vibrancy in street life. More people are getting out and increasing commerce for the town. Also the broader tax base lowers taxes and towns like Somerset Hills has seen an increase in economy diversity and property value due to smart growth.