The “Great Contraction” has sent New Jersey into economic freefall. In just two months, total employment in the state has fallen to the same level as 1985, thirty-five years ago. In addition to deep short-term recession woes, the shocks of the coronavirus are accelerating the pace of structural change and raising profound questions and uncertainties about the future.
For example, the “office” is central to the economy of New Jersey. Will the magnitude of distress in office markets caused by the pandemic match the distress of bricks and mortar retailing caused by the rise of e-commerce? While the post-pandemic office has yet to be invented, there will certainly be a rebalancing of office ecologies, with significant planning implications.
Building dense, walkable, transit-dependent, mixed-use, LWP (live, work, play) environments was a planning and development mantra of the past decade. Low-density, automobile-centric suburbs were viewed as fading obsolete relics of the twentieth century, while the “cool quotient” of urban areas soared. Can these pre-pandemic structures endure and adapt to post-pandemic health strictures? Will there be a pandemic-induced “resprawling” of New Jersey?
These are just some of the questions that the planning profession must confront. Join James W. Hughes and Joseph J. Seneca, co-authors of the new Rutgers Regional Report monthly series labeled “Fast Track Research Notes.” Its first issue – Coronavirus Economic Shocks: New Jersey versus The Nation – was released on June 1. This webinar will be moderated by Charles Latini, President of APA New Jersey.