Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Sustainable Jersey action rewards municipalities for policies that support the arts

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

New Jersey municipalities that write plans and regulations to help grow the arts in their communities can get rewarded with more points toward Sustainable Jersey certification.

Municipal Commitments to Support Arts and Creative Culture, a new Sustainable Jersey action, provides up to 25 points for Certification.  Nearly 75% of the state's 565 municipalities have or are pursuing certification because it brings more prestige and opportunities for more funding.

According to the action, New Jersey communities can get rewarded for such activities as:

  • Preparing a Master Plan element that "provides strategies to support the development of arts and other creative activity, or incorporates these strategies in other elements of the Master Plan."

  • Adopting land use ordinances "that explicitly promote artistic activities and expressions of culture. For example, a zoning ordinance could be adopted to allow the use of public spaces for arts and cultural activities, or for developers to provide public art on their properties."
  • Creating cultural districts or developing regulations "that promote and protect cultural and creative expression. Examples include an ordinance that allows the public display of temporary sidewalk art, street musicians or other forms of creative expression that might be regulated under municipal noise or nuisance provisions."
Municipal Commitments is one of five actions that reward communities in Jersey for creative placemaking.  Others focus on building creative teams, conducting creative asset inventories, engaging in creative placemaking projects, and preparing a comprehensive creative placemaking plan.

All of these actions were prepared by the Sustainable Jersey Arts and Creative Culture Task Force, which is co-chaired by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

The Task Force will review the performance of all Arts and Creative Culture actions, and make significant improvements.  The Task Force will also provide training on all of the actions. If you would like to join the Task Force or would like to know about future trainings, please contact the Task Force manager, Winnie Fatton at (609) 771-2855 or by email at

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