Promoting greener, more equitable redevelopment of New Jersey cities

Jeff Fucci developed his green thumb in the back yard of his southern Bergen County home, where he grew tomatoes and basil with a view of the cities of Newark, Passaic and Paterson in the distance.

As an attorney, Fucci now hopes to take an up-close role in putting a green thumbprint on the redevelopment of New Jersey’s cities.

Community engagement is the only way that a project can take root. In New Jersey, including Newark, we are talking to an educated community of not just the professional people who are coming in, but the professionals who have been there for a long time,” said Fucci, 32, an associate at the firm DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole in Teaneck who works with the firm’s municipal and litigation groups, which includes involvement in environmental and affordable housing issues.

The biggest challenge is to take a place that has an industrial legacy, change it into something better and make sure that the people who are from there benefit from it, including after things are cleaned up,” Fucci said.

During a recent talk with members of the Rutgers Law School Environmental Law Society in Newark, he spoke about the concept of environmental justice, where a cleaner landscape includes helping the people in both New Jersey’s cities and suburbs. For Fucci, the law can be used as an effective leveler, a way to spread equitable green growth around the state.

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