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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Researchers Will Be Featured Speakers at 2013 Redevelopment Forum

Colette Santasieri, director of strategic initiatives at NJIT, will serve on a panel at the 2013 Redevelopment Forum.

How innovation districts can foster economic growth will be the focus of an upcoming panel, moderated by NJIT Senior Vice President of Research and Development Donald H. Sebastian at the 2013 Redevelopment Forum.  The event, sponsored by New Jersey Future, is set for March 1, 2013 in New Brunswick.  Other NJIT speakers will include College of Architecture and Design Dean Urs Gauchat, examining how new construction can “fit” into often delicate existing fabrics.  Colette Santasieri, director of strategic initiatives at NJIT, will sit on a third panel, addressing the tensions between port operations and redevelopments for nonindustrial/nonport related issues. 

Sebastian says that in the US and abroad, innovation districts are used as revitalization tools.  They have several key features, one of which is the presence of a university.  His panel will look at different roles a university can play in fostering an innovation district, what attracts private industry to such districts, and what municipalities can do to help establish such districts. One such district under development here will be presented.  Speakers will finish by discussing why these districts matter locally as well as to the state’s economic future.

According to Gauchat, the question of fit means to some emulating the past, while to others it is important that building is a process of renewal rather than replication.  He notes that  fit as a criterion for deciding where and what to build has been a concept advanced by Robert Geddes, the noted architect and founding, now emeritus dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University and NJIT honorary degree recipient.  In working with local communities, NJIT students of architecture become sensitized to the issue of fit.  Fit is an important ingredient in gaining acceptance by the communities in which buildings are designed.

Santasieri will highlight the relationship between ports and cities and how those relationships can contribute to conflicts between an operating port and redeveloping waterfronts for nonindustrial uses.  Her discussion group will assess both present and future issues of Port Newark/ Elizabeth’s economic impact on New Jersey—both its land-use needs and potential conflicts with other redevelopment priorities. 

Port Newark /Elizabeth, part of the Port of New York and New Jersey, is the East Coast’s largest port and third largest U.S. port.  It is an important driver of this state’s economy and is well-positioned, both geographically and economically, to maintain its competitive advantage as the goods movement industry evolves in the coming decades.  A port’s ability to compete in the global economy depends not only on its onsite operations but also on its landside capabilities.  The geographically fixed nature of ports means that many port-related land uses – e.g., rail yards, intermodal facilities – are not easily located elsewhere and their efficiency depends on adjacency to the port itself.

But with urban redevelopment becoming a more common phenomenon here and nationally, and with the conversion of industrial land and maritime facilities to non-port related uses (such as housing, retail or recreation) occurring near ports world-wide, port-related land uses may sometimes come into conflict with other important redevelopment initiatives. 

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.