The Role of States and Nation-states in Smart Growth Planning
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Huibert A. Haccoû, Kelly J. Clifton and John W. Frece
Chapter 12: State Plan and Smart Growth Implementation: The New Jersey Case
Martin A. Bierbaum INTRODUCTION What has policy wrought? Having tasted of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the implementer can only answer, and with conviction, it depends . . . (Majone and Wildavsky 1979, p. 194) This chapter provides a practitioner’s perspective on the New Jersey State Plan and the diﬃculties with its implementation in New Jersey, while attempting to highlight the important lessons learned. The chapter equates Smart Growth with New Jersey’s State Planning, which preceded the current public dialogue on Smart Growth by about one decade. It is an account of the development and implementation of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan and the way the State Plan has evolved since the passage of the New Jersey State Planning Act. The chapter also seeks to make a statement about public policy making more generally and the diﬀerences between public policy decision making and its implementation. The point that this chapter seeks to make is that public policy is often less about what public policy decision makers decide as it is about what complex organizations ultimately implement in response to those decisions. Initial decisions are aﬀected by the complexity of organizational expectations and changes constantly taking place in the wider social environment. For these reasons, public policy and its implementation are better understood as an evolutionary process rather than as a single decision point. Decisions have no resting point, no ﬁnal realization. Policy ideas and planning prescriptions become subject to a variety of contingencies, containing worlds...
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