Jersey City

United States


Steven Fulop


265,549 (2018)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Melissa Kozakiewicz

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve built environments

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Jersey City

Jersey City has partnered with the World Economic Forum and AeroFarms to launch an urban vertical farming program with the aim of improving residents’ access to healthy food post-Covid-19. Because those with pre-existing health conditions are most susceptible, the city sees better food access as part of a broader effort to mitigate residents’ exposure to infection. The project is also designed to help Jersey City reach its health-related goals despite potential budget spending shifts in response to Covid-19. Residents will receive access to sustainably grown food free of charge, in exchange for participating in healthy eating workshops and quarterly health evaluations.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Jersey City does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Jersey City approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Jersey City is focused on

Environment and climate change
Economic Development

Environment: Jersey City creates an office of Sustainability, implements plastic bag ban, completes greenhouse gas inventory, begins the process of electrifying the City's fleet, and creates a citywide composting program.

Economic Development: The city creates an office of Small Business Services, streamlines permitting process, and creates opportunities for small business incubation (i.e. Pop Up Container Village)

Policy areas by number of cities

Jersey City utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Community engagement staff
Communication officer
Policy analyst
Innovation roles by number of cities

As an independent department, Jersey City’s dedicated innovation team consists of 10 staff.

Terms Jersey City most associates with innovation

Data analytics

Jersey City's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Jersey City has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
city council approved funds/operating budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.

Activities being funded

Investing in digital systems
Paying for services
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

Jersey City’s funding for innovation capacity is generally directed towards investing in built environment projects. Similar to 61% of participating cities in the 2020 survey, Jersey City's funding for innovation capacity is also directed towards training staff and building capacity*.

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Jersey City has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private industry, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Policing and law enforcement



Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Public works


Economic Development


Land use

Government finance


Insufficient data

Social inclusion and equity


Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills


Public works

Social welfare/social services