A Recipe to Make Jersey City the City of the Future

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Jersey City is set up for great success. Within only minutes of Manhattan, it’s already madly desirable to live in based on location. The river and city views, Liberty State Park, close proximity to EWR only add to its attractiveness. And with the additions of all the delicious food in town like Roman Nose, Satis Bistro, Milk Sugar Love, Talde and more, people are not only flocking here to live, but some are visiting just to eat dinner. Jersey City is something special.

So yes, we’re on the road to great success and the city has done a phenomenal job at helping us get here, but let’s not stop there. Let’s make Jersey City an example of what a US city should be like, taking the best aspects from the top cities around the world. Let’s make it the city of the future.

How can we do this? First, we need the people to continue to making this city stronger–the residents and council people. That means that the people will need to take some of the responsibilities into their own hands and support the movement. Below is a [rough] recipe to help drive Jersey City towards representing the city of the future. Let’s begin:

1. Energy
The city of the future uses only renewable energy and will eventually be 100% energy independent. This means that public and private energy come from solar, wind and hydro powered sources. If you haven’t realized, Jersey City is a huge wind tunnel, yet there are no wind turbines on buildings or in open spaces. It may be hard to believe during a Winter like this, but Jersey City has over 200 days with sun–yet you can easily count the number of solar panels in the city from a Google satellite view. The Hudson River flows at a rate of almost 3 mph, which could create between 20-40 watts of energy per square foot of hydro-powered machinery–again, the infrastructure is lacking. The interim goal is to have 100% of the city’s energy be renewable, which means that some of the energy can come from sources outside the city. There’s plenty of opportunity here for entrepreneurs and long term investment. If you’d like to get more active in the greening of JC, check out Sustainable JC. They’d love some new energy to join their organization!

2. Agriculture
The city of the future grows it’s own food. Vertical and rooftop farming is happening now. Brooklyn has multiple vertical farms, and Jersey City has essentially the same climate as them. Also, vertical farms are now becoming a reality in North America, with WY building their first one. Urban farming not only produces food for the local residents, it can create revenue & jobs, decrease energy used to get food from outside sources and offer a fresher and healthier food option. Again, another entrepreneurial opportunity just waiting to be snagged up.

3. The 3 R’s
Jack Johnson sang it best… reduce, reuse and recycle. Waste management may not be sexy, but the result of it being done properly can be beautiful. Jersey City residents and local businesses can easily adopt the 3 bin system–recycling, composting and trash. All it takes is for someone to want to build a business around it. If you’d like to get more active in the greening of JC, check out Sustainable JC. They’d love some new energy to join their organization!

4. Music + Arts
The arts scene in Jersey City is already spectacular. And when the White Eagle Hall opens up, the underrated music scene will have another venue to bring sweet baby-making music to our ears. Keep it coming! Arts and music bring beauty and happiness.

5. Technology
The importance of technology today is inescapable. Embrace it. We definitely need to make the city more startup friendly because there’s only so many coffee shops w/ free wifi and Indiegrove can only handle so many co-working members. Co-working spaces are a great way to attract the tech startups, as are state incentives to start a business in NJ–like NY state is doing. Also, we need to attract an existing company to set up shop in Jersey City. Your brand new east coast HQ is awaiting you, Ebay, or maybe Spotify!

6. City Activities
Every weekend, people keep talking about the lack of activities in Jersey City–that’s non-food and beverage activities, to clarify. Where is the bowling alley in downtown Jersey City? Or the billiards hall? Or the rock climbing gym? These are all money making businesses. Someone needs to jump all over these ideas.

7. Two Wheels
Do you really think it’s a coincidence that Denmark is both one of the most bike friendly countries AND one of the happiest countries in the world? If you do think it’s a coincidence, let’s prove it. Let’s bring bike sharing to Jersey City, let’s add more bike lanes and let’s teach cyclists the proper rules of the road. Bikes can decrease auto traffic & pollution and keep people healthier and feeling good.

8. Pedestrian Bridge
Ahhhh, there’s the rub. Not the easiest of feats, but this is going to eventually happen. One day, residents of Jersey City will be able to walk and ride their bike into Manhattan. How? There will be a pedestrian bridge linking Jersey City (or heck, maybe even Hoboken) to our neighboring city across the Hudson. It’ll be made possible from a mixture of public and private funding and with the major support of the community & municipality. Plus, it’s absolutely necessary since we’ll have tens of thousands of more people moving into Jersey City over the years, no additional PATH train lines and a burning desire to ride our city shared bikes! Read more about this idea here.

Now for the action. Let’s transform these ideas into reality, together. A good place to start is forming a committee. If you’re interested in forming or joining a committee on one of these ingredients to building Jersey City into the city of the future, just reach out to @iJerseyCity on twitter and use the hashtag #futureJC so people can easily connect. Let’s make this happen.