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Real estate professionals are well versed in the challenges posed by suburban sprawl. We understand that developing compactly promotes energy and land conservation, and is wise in an era of scarce infrastructure dollars. Compact urban environments are also key locations for workforce housing and locations of innovation and job growth in the information economy. Since compact development is perhaps a real estate panacea, why is it so hard to achieve?

The challenge is easily identified. Decentralized zoning control and the prevailing attitude among local leadership to keep the status quo in the face of NIMBY voters has resulted in development in locations of least resistance, furthest from our region's core. While a handful of New Jersey towns like Morristown, Cranford and South Orange have embraced dense transit-oriented development, the vast majority of municipalities are running the other way.

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