Charting a path to the green

Downtown resident creates map of places in the city with sustainable resources

How does a Jersey City resident know if green, sustainable resources exist in town?
Downtown resident Richard Williams is making it easier for his fellow citizens to find out with the new JC Green Map that he has created.
The internet map displays icons representing numerous locations across the city where there’s a green-friendly presence, as well as local landmarks. The map, which makes use of Google Maps-type technology, can be accessed at Individuals can go to the map and zoom down using a satellite or street view to find the building, park, or area where you want an icon to sit, click to geographically place it on the map, then you can select from 1 to 8 icons to define its attributes, add some descriptions and useful URL/links and press “save”.


“This town does not stand still, so neither does this map.” – Richard Williams

One can find on the map that both Macy’s Department Store at Newport Centre Mall and the Shop Rite supermarket near Marin Boulevard have solar panels on their respective roofs.
Or that the soon-to-be developed Van Leer Place residential project near the Jersey City-Hoboken border will have a geothermal heating and cooling system that utilizes recycled groundwater.
Williams, who lives with his wife Michiko and their two children, Charlie and Bridget, created the map out of his belief that “Jersey City’s wide array of green assets and resources need more visibility.
“However, there is a lot going on here, and green maps seems to be an excellent way to promote our historic and vibrant home, and help others to appreciate the potential in Jersey City for green, clean-tech sustainability,” Williams said.

Organic and ever-evolving

Williams started working on the JC Green Map in June after meeting Wendy Brawer, the founder of Green Map System (, a New York City-based endeavor that works with people in various cities around the world to create environmentally themed maps utilizing its universal symbols and mapmaking resources.
Williams said he met Brawer at a course for people interested in going into the “Clean-tech” field, which Williams has currently entered with a new venture. While he works in the insurance industry, he is also the co-founder of Xergy Incorporated (, a Delaware-based company specializing in patents for new green refrigeration devices.
He also has a personal reason for building the green map, pointing out the natural gas pipeline proposed by Spectra Energy to run through Jersey City neighborhoods into Manhattan, which has been met with near-universal opposition due to the risk of an explosion that could cause major damage.
“What really drove my efforts on the JC Green Map, though, was the news that our fossil-fuel addiction was going to directly, and adversely, affect our very neighborhoods here in Jersey City,” Williams said.
He has been working on the map mostly by himself, although he credits the contributions of people who have sent him information, such as articles or links to web pages about anything green-related in Jersey City. Williams does not strive to “complete” the JC Green Map, but rather views it as a work in progress.
“This town does not stand still, so neither does this map,” Williams said. “Every time I discover some new community association or roof-top solar installation, significant piece of local history or a brown-field site, I put it on the map.”

Mapping the future

Williams said he hopes the map will help people discover what is happening around them and take pride in their area.
“What the map does, then, is put you and your community in context,” Williams said. “A simple list of historic events or old buildings in JC has limited appeal. But seeing where the Morris Canal used to be or the Bergen Arches still are, say half a block from your home, and discover that they were the engineering marvels of their age, and it makes you think, no?”
As far as future mapmaking, he has one in mind, showing, specifically, the potential for building community gardens in association with JC Green-Team’s Farms-in-the-City initiative, and another plotting historic gentrification and changes in land use.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at

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