The decline of American central cities during the mass suburbanization of the post-World War II era is well documented, and Paterson’s history is just as linked to this phenomenon as most. Urban historians, planners, political scientists, and sociologists alike have researched and documented the impacts of deindustrialization, depopulation, and disinvestment—all of which led to expanding areas of concentrated poverty in many of our nation’s older central cities.
In Paterson, the struggle to revitalize pockets of deep and persistent poverty into vibrant places where even the poorest residents have an opportunity for rewarding and productive lives has been difficult. While Paterson remains New Jersey’s third largest city, for years it has lived in the shadow of other larger cities throughout the region—struggling to find a balance between finding new revenue and delivering core services to the most needy.
What is less documented are the strategic ways in which Paterson has begun to lift itself up over the last several years by taking hold of its important historic legacy, its existing core assets, and strong partnerships with the public, private, and non-profit sectors—all of which are increasingly committed to the City’s future success.
Since 1994, New Jersey Community Development Corporation has taken a lead in this “lifting up” by building community in Paterson. From our very first AmeriCorps National Service Program to our most recent Comprehensive Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, our goal has not changed – to rebuild and strengthen our community through the empowerment of and partnership with those who live and work here.
Based in the Great Falls Historic District, surrounded by memories of Paterson’s golden age of industry, NJCDC works to improve the lives of children, teens, and families throughout Paterson.