CFP VP of Neighborhood Initiatives published in the Nature Conservancy's Newsletter
Building Sustainable Communities
Meishka L. Mitchell, AICP, PP
Vice President of Neighborhood Initiatives
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership
Once a thriving industrial center—home to the RCA Victor Talking Machine Company, Campbell’s Soup, and the New York Shipbuilding Company—Camden, New Jersey, has suffered from decades of population decline and industry loss. Camden’s legacies as the region’s cultural center, shopping destination, and economic engine have been replaced with headlines of poverty, crime, and contamination.
Despite this, residents throughout Camden are working on the grassroots level to capitalize on political, economic and social changes, which highlight the positive attributes of Camden’s excellent location, robust institutions, and rich culture.
Working with the Conservancy and other conservation partners, Camden has a chance at a greener, more sustainable future built upon stormwater management, green infrastructure planning and sustainable water resources management. Given the current availability of land and space throughout much of the city—including miles of inaccessible waterfront land—now is the time for Camden to create its vision for a sustainable community that will enhance its environmental, social, and economic future. By addressing this daunting environmental challenge on a citywide scale, Camden has an opportunity to reshape its environmental legacy through the rebuilding of its neighborhoods and empowerment of its residents.