July 30, 2013

Summer in the City of Newark is more than children playing in the pool, cook-outs and block parties. It is an opportunity for “green” farmers markets to bring local and region produce and green-centered businesses to the city’s residents. “Green Economy” is more than a national catchphrase but an important economic recovery public policy that the Leadership Newark Public Summit in November will explore through the keynote speaker, Van Jones.

If the name Van Jones sounds familiar, it should. As the former special advisor to the Obama Administration, co-founder and president of Re-Build The Dream, Jones has developed plans and policies on establishing a green American economy as a viable means of financial and economic sustainability. He has written extensively on the importance of green businesses within urban areas like Newark to enable community growth, economic development and pathways out of poverty. Across the nation, community organizations are developing models that center on these measures, incorporating green economy with overall city development goals. Newark’s Lincoln Park Cultural District (LPCCD) has made “being green” a part of its vision and mission.

Bringing cultures together and revitalizing the community is the cornerstone of the LPCCD. As a result of the efforts of the Regional Plan Association in the 1990’s, LPCCD seeks to “to plan, design and build a comprehensive arts and cultural district in the Lincoln Park/Coast area of the City of Newark, New Jersey.” (http://formulatenow.com/lpccd/about-us/). The urban planning, which focuses on green sustainability, cultural arts development and economic empowerment for Newark residents, developed by LPCCD brings Newark into the 21st century as a national and global model. As a part of the Partnership Village at the forthcoming Public Policy Summit, LPCCD will provide resources and education on specific green efforts happening in the City of Newark.

LPCCD’s signature 8th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival was held in Lincoln Park this weekend from Friday, July 25th to Sunday, July 28th. This much-anticipated, LPCCD event and cultural experience, aptly-themed “A Celebration of Spirit and Dance”, brought music lovers of gospel, jazz, house music and hip-hop genres into Newark’s cultural mecca. Not only did this festival bring a myriad of music-lovers together, it was a culturally diverse experience to the community in which generously hosted Leadership Newark as true community partner. Among the vendors, activities for children and a health and wellness pavilion, there was a green/sustainable market that showcased businesses and organizations in the “green movement” both locally and regionally.

This festival celebration of jazz, gospel, house and hip hop music has “an economic impact of 5 million dollars” on the City of Newark. (http://lpccd.org/arts-culture/music-fest/). “The 8th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival has become renowned community event that Newarkers have become proud to call their Festival – taking ownership of the Festival has increased civic pride in the community and has made Newark a destination for new and old” says Anthony Smith, Director of Communications and Community Affairs for Lincoln Park Cultural Coast District. Continues Smith “What started as an event to reshape the brand and image of the historical Lincoln Park area– has grown to have regional, national and international appeal. The success of this event is very important to community and to greater Newark. As a result of the Festival increased growth and appeal, it has had a significant economic, cultural and social impact in the City of Newark.”

LPCCD and its programs continue to create economic sustainability and increase efforts to push “going green” to the forefront in Newark. At the forthcoming Leadership Newark Summit, we will take a look at the new “green” movement, its implications in the overall national and local economic recovery efforts and what organizations like LPCCD are doing to make a difference.
To find out how you can hear Van Jones speak on economic recovery the upcoming Summit, check out the Summit website at www.leadershipnewark.org/lnsummit and join our email list on the Leadership Newark website home page. Don’t forget to LIKE US Facebook (leadershipnewark) and follow Twitter (@leadershipnwk) for more info.