NRDC’s Shelley Poticha Announced as Key Note Speaker
Fierce, wise, pragmatic, insightful, committed, visionary, savvy and articulate. These are words often used to describe Shelley Poticha the Director of the Urban Solutions Program at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
These qualities must be what it takes to tackle challenging sustainability issues while maintaining a focus on what people and communities need to succeed at a basic level, because that is exactly what Ms. Poticha is doing.
I’m pleased to announce that she will kick-off Sustainable Jersey’s 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit on June 10, as our key note speaker.
Shelley’s thinking is in line with the foundations of Sustainable Jersey; she said, “My greatest hope is that we can turn this country around through the power of people. I know in my gut that there is a tremendous alignment between the hopes we all have for our health and well-being, the road to prosperity and opportunity, and the strategies that make the places we live, work and raise our families as environmentally sensitive as possible. That’s why I’m at NRDC. I’m intrinsically an optimist; an optimist with a passion for action.” (NRDC Staff Blog: Connecting Dots)
Prior to joining NRDC, Shelley was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She served in the Obama Administration where she led a new initiative that some say was tasked with bringing the “UD” back to HUD.
Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations. And prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
As we were talking with Shelley about the 2015 NJ Sustainability Summit, we explained that Sustainable Jersey was launched with a set of certification actions that municipalities could do to become more sustainable. We hoped to get municipalities working and put a leadership framework in place at the local level first. Now, six years later, with over 400 municipalities and 275 schools and districts participating in Sustainable Jersey, we can take it the next step. With the 2015 NJ Sustainability Summit and the Sustainable State of the State Report, we are now asking communities to consider ways to evaluate and monitor progress toward a vision or common goal. To meet this challenge, for the last few years, Sustainable Jersey has been engaged in a collaborative process to outline the multiple dimensions of sustainability in terms of practical goals with indicators that describe observable outcomes at the state level. Indicators help us recognize milestones on the road to sustainability.
Shelley definitely gets it; she said “I’m super geeky about defining goals and indicators for sustainability, it’s certainly my passion.” At the Summit, she plans to give examples from towns that are not the usual suspects you think of when you talk about sustainability, but rather the ones that are actively adopting strategies to become more sustainable through place-based change.
2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit: Join the Conversation on June 10.
Please join us on June 10 to hear Shelley deliver the key note at the 2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit (REGISTER).
A focus for the day will be the release of the Sustainable State of the State Report. The report will provide a vision for New Jersey, present goals and indicators for 18 dimensions of sustainability, and establish a template for an annual ‘dashboard’ view that will capture progress and illuminate danger zones.
Participants will come away with a clear sense of the state of the movement, new ideas about what can be done to make progress, an expanded network of fellow practitioners, and the inspiration to go back and continue to drive change one municipality or school at a time. Network with Sustainable Jersey task force members, local and state officials, academics and green team volunteers committed to fostering a sustainable New Jersey.
2015 Sustainability Summit Concurrent Sessions
A total of 16 concurrent sessions will be offered to discuss the Sustainable State of the State Report, share perspectives on Sustainable Jersey and dig deeper into the dimensions of sustainability. Experts and industry professionals will lead each session and review current challenges.
Concurrent Sessions Round 1
Concurrent Sessions Round 2
2015 New Jersey Sustainability Summit
Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 8:30am – 4:00pm
The College of New Jersey
Construction has begun on the first of three luxury rental skyscrapers to be built over the next several years in Jersey City’s Journal Square neighborhood. The development, “Journal Squared,” will feature 1,840 luxury rental apartments and 36,000 square feet of retail space in a 54-story tower. The tower currently under construction will rise 54 stories. Advertised amenities include an outdoor pool and a golf simulation room. Studio apartment rentals will begin at $1,800.
The developer, Kushner Companies, is aggressively marketing to millennials — and particularly to the so-called “creative class.” Jersey City has attempted to draw this demographic across the Hudson with its taxpayer-funded 2014-15 ad campaign, “Make It Yours.” Campaign posters have appeared on NYC subways and in trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods where real estate values have skyrocketed in recent years, driving upwardly mobile residents to look elsewhere for a more palatable balance of living standards and proximity to Manhattan.
A brief look around Journal Square indicates that most people living and working near the Square do not fit this demographic, and it is understatement to say that the majority of current residents will not be able to afford to live in “Journal Squared.”
This is the backdrop of Before the Skyscraper, a new exhibition at ShuaSpace, a street side arts venue in Journal Square. It’s directed by Joshua Bisset and Laura Quattrocchi of Shua Group, a Dodge Foundation grant recipient that supports innovative arts in all media and promotes dialogue about essential local issues.
Before the Skyscraper is a modest effort to contextualize what is at stake in Jersey City’s confrontation with the aggression that is “Journal Squared.”
Through painting, photography, audio interviews, sculpture, and performance, the exhibit seeks to capture something of the essence and the crucial worth of the “now” as a means of digesting the enormous potential costs and consequences of the skyscrapers.
It is not nostalgic, nor does it pity. It does not deny the reality of change. But it states: these are images and forms of passing; this is evidence of a shifting city, which is not inevitable but chosen. It begs the question: what city are we building and where can we go from here?
The exhibit includes works by: Sam Pullin, Thuy-Van Vu, Steve Singer, Malik Nashad Sharpe, Franc Palaia, Andrew Emmet+Alec Pomnichowski, Nadia Mohamed+Mathew Galindo+Shaun Persaud, Laura Quattrocchi, and Joshua Bisset.
Before the Skyscraper runs through June 27. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment.
Congratulations are due to Ann Marie Miller for receiving a national arts advocacy award from Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America.
Miller, Art Pride New Jersey’s Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, will receive the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award at the organization’s 2015 Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Awards. (Read more about the awards and other honorees here.)
Presented each year, the Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Awards pay tribute to the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.
The Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award recognizes an individual whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape at the state level.
From Art Pride New Jersey’s press release announcing the honor:
“I am so honored to receive this award, named after a distinguished arts advocate who exemplified national leadership,” said Miller, who served as ArtPride’s executive director for 20 years. “I am grateful to be recognized by Americans for the Arts and by my colleagues who work tirelessly promoting the value of the arts to our country.”
Take a look back at some of Miller’s recent Dodge Blog posts:
- Why NEA Funding Still Matters
- Is All Art Really Local?
- Arts Benchmarks, Barriers and New Paradigms, Oh My!