Newark Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance to be topic of Catlin lecture, March 28

January 11, 2017

The Robert A. Catlin Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of Robert A. Catlin, Bloustein School professor, who died in July 2004. The 2017 lecture, “Addressing Cumulative Impacts of Pollution Through Local Land Use Policy Tools: A case study of the Newark Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance,” will be held on Tuesday, March 28 from 5:00-6:30 at the Bloustein School’s Governor James J. Florio Special Events Forum, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

The Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark and the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University-Newark are co-sponsoring the event.

In July 2016, the Newark City Council added a new chapter to its zoning and land use regulations. “Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts” is intended to create stronger environmental and land use policy tools at the local level to prevent and mitigate additional pollution associated with a variety of development and redevelopment projects.  It also addresses environmental justice by helping to prevent Newark, which has a disproportionate number of low-income and residents of color, from having a disproportionate number of polluting projects placed within its borders.

Among other things the ordinance, considered to be the first of its kind in the U.S. in terms of stringency and comprehensiveness, provides additional information to the Newark Environmental Commission, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Adjustment regarding applications that may contribute to overall cumulative environmental burdens facing residents in the city.

Three panelists will discuss the various components and impacts of the ordinance. Dr. Nicky Sheats, Esq., Director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, Thomas Edison State University, will focus on providing the backdrop for the conditions that prompted development of the ordinance and the rationale among advocates and local officials for pursuing an approach focusing on land use.  Dr. Ana Baptista Ph.D. ’08 (EJB), Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management and Associate Director at the Tishman Environment & Design Center, The New School, will provide a historical context for the development of the Newark ordinance, an overview of its purpose and design. Cynthia Mellon, Co-chair of the City of Newark Environmental Commission and Coordinator of the Newark Environmental Resource Inventory, will focus on initial outcomes resulting from the Ordinance and challenges in its implementation, especially with regard to planning and decision-making in an urban community.

A light reception will follow the panel. The event is free and open to the public but registration is requested by visiting For directions and parking information, visit



The Robert A. Catlin Memorial Lecture honors the legacy of Robert A. Catlin, Bloustein School professor, who died in July 2004. Catlin began his career as a staff planner for governmental agencies and community organizations in several cities, including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York. He also served as dean of the College of Social Science at Florida Atlantic University, dean of the Camden College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers, and provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Bakersfield. He was inducted as an AICP Fellow in 2001. At the Bloustein School, he specialized in urban revitalization, planning, and the impact of race in public policy decision-making, which are the themes of the annual lecture.

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