The Master Plan
To develop Newark’s 10-year Master Plan, 10,000 voices spoke and what they said was heard. This, the essential backbone of the plan, resulted in Newark360, the forward-looking blueprint for the city’s equitable physical development.
The title came about organically from the idea that the Master Plan should take a 360-degree view encompassing every aspect of city life, overlooking no segment. The Planning Board issued unanimous approval for Newark360.
“Newark360 encompasses the ideas, visions, dreams, and aspirations of Newarkers themselves, not academic or bureaucratic planners,” said City of Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “It was created through nearly two years of community engagement, the most wide-ranging and inclusive outreach the city has ever undertaken.”
The outreach touched residents in every neighborhood and every walk-of-life. Face-to-face community workshops in each ward, focus groups, and community meetings and feedback from young people provided insight. A highly interactive website enabled the public to share ideas, review documents, and hold Facebook Live discussions.
“We are grateful for the people who participated, because Newark360 could not exist without the voices and priorities of Newarkers,” the Mayor added.
The goal of the Baraka Administration from his very first year in office in 2014 focused on creating equity in every aspect of Newark life—health, safety, education, home ownership, and business opportunity.
Newark360’s objective is to take long-range steps in those core principles, so that every resident has a stake in the city’s continued development and success. The implementation of the Newark360 Master Plan outreach illustrated how Mayor Baraka lives up to his 2014 campaign slogan: “When I become Mayor, we become Mayor.”
As one resident said, “I love the diversity of this city and its spirit. It’s hard to name the sense of grit, determination, and pride Brick City residents have in one word. I’m so excited to be part of its present and future.”
Newark360 provides action and work to grow connections between city neighborhoods and job centers, create more affordable housing, strengthen the city’s historical and cultural fabric, and address environmental injustices.
Just a few of its elements are:
• Sustainability and preparation for the inevitable impact of climate change.
• Better connection of neighborhoods via public transit and pedestrian infrastructure to take people beyond the downtown core.
• Support for neighborhood businesses with micro-capital startup funds.
• Utilization of the land bank to promote non-institutional ownership of commercial property and increase home ownership.
• Foster more affordable housing through zoning change, increased density on key corridors, and allow accessory dwelling units.
• Create Newark Airport City initiative, which could build a light rail into the Dayton neighborhood, generating more opportunities for growth and business.
• Support the vision of the Newark Arts and Education District and continue to herald downtown as a place for galleries, restaurants, parks, public art, and educational institutions.
• Support legislation and zoning for Newark to become a 24/7 city, to enhance our cultural history as a music and nightlife destination and create a livelier and welllit downtown.
• Create broader commercial zoning in our neighborhood “downtowns” to foster more business opportunity and shopping experiences in the wards.
• Establish and expand green zones to reduce the city’s heat index, and create a large tree canopy to shade larger parts of Newark’s neighborhoods.
Of course, these actions require that Newark Municipal Council pass ordinances to update the underlying land use and zoning codes, thus providing the legal framework for implementing the proposed actions.
However, as Newark saw in the lead-line replacement program, the council passed an ordinance to allow the city to change service lines without the homeowner’s permission. the council is expected to act similarly in the city’s best interest concerning Newark360.
The implementation of Newark360 will require the same citywide vision and cooperation that birthed the ideas that formed it. From Newark’s proud residents, we expect no less.