South Ironbound Resiliency Action Plan (Newark, New Jersey)

The South Ironbound Resiliency Action Plan lays out resiliency goals for a portion of the Ironbound neighborhood in the East Ward of Newark, New Jersey called South Ironbound, that will inform funding priorities and inform longer term climate mitigation and adaptation goals. The neighborhood is prone to flooding due to sewer back-ups, heavy rain storms, and storm surge. The report is organized into strategic components related to resilience. For each strategy, there is an in-depth review of major actions and implementation considerations.

The plan is the product of a joint effort between the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) and volunteer planners from the Community Planning Assistance Program of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association. ICC has a long history in the neighborhood of fighting for environmental justice in collaboration with the residents. The Action Plan explains that future climate resiliency strategies will be driven by a Community Advisory Board made up of South Ironbound residents, small business owners, and other stakeholders. This group will monitor and guide the adoption of this plan through participatory exercises that will engage the wider community.

The Ironbound neighborhood identifies as a frontline and environmental justice community, with Hurricane Sandy being the most recent, and most severe, impact it has faced. The Ironbound has historically been an industrial and residential community where factories operate right next to homes. Despite local organizing, Ironbound is home to the state’s largest garbage incinerator. However, residents successfully defeated a second incinerator, preserved or developed two local parks, and continue to work in partnership with Ironbound Community Corporation, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, and Clean Water Action for climate resiliency.

Major goals of the Action Plan are social cohesion, inclusion, and community leadership. These goals are reflected in the project’s hiring of a local full-time organizer and locally-tailored actions to beautify and build community around underpasses, tree planting, and bus stops. Annex D and the policy agenda also outline how local entities can take responsibility for implementation of the resiliency plan.


The plan  identifies the following vulnerabilities: flooding, extreme weather, air quality, contaminated lots and buildings, littering and dumping, cancer clusters, pedestrian safety, crime, lack of recreation space and activities, and lack of preparedness.

Strategies and example actions for resilience include:

  • Green infrastructure: Establish a “Greening Vacant Lots” transition program
  • Brownfield redevelopment: Clean up and market priority sites according to planned end uses
  • Crime prevention through urban design: Following audit of conditions, establish a Special Improvement District
  • Complete streets: Employ “traffic calming” strategies and construct bike lanes and storage
  • Community facilities microgrid: Assess critical assets, loads, and threats
  • Social cohesion: Redesign Amtrak underpasses with lighting, green infrastructure, and public art
  • Emergency response planning: Create a family preparedness campaign for various emergency types
  • Climate change mitigation: Establish training and incubator for energy efficiency and renewable energy services

The Action Plan also includes a policy agenda in Annex B with recommendations for the state-level Sandy Climate Justice Roundtable, a municipal environmental justice ordinance, and city-level green infrastructure and preparedness measures.

Publication Date: August 26, 2015

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