Innovative Sustainable Re-development – Hudson Yards

place_thumb.jpgWith this article, we publish a case study on the Hudson Yards redevelopment project in New York, an innovative transformation project in which the harbour area is being transformed into a pedestrian-friendly, vibrant, transit-oriented mixed-use district.

Hudson Yards is the area of Manhattan, which is bordered by West 43rd and 43nd Streets, 8th and 7th Avenues, West 30th and 28th Streets, and Hudson River Park. The project is a joint venture which aims to encourage development on Manhattan’s far West Side along the Hudson River in Manhattan.


The project includes a renovation of the Javits Convention Centre, an extension of the NYC Subway line 7 to the area, and rezoning of the far West Side of Manhattan into a new neighbourhood. It is the largest development in NYC since Rockefeller Centre, and the largest private real estate development in the history of United States.


The eastern and western portion of the MTA West Side Rail Yards are being redeveloped into a mixed-use development. In Phase 1, the Western Rail Yard is being rezoned from manufacturing to commercial and residential use, and the Subway line 7 will be extended to a new station at 11th Avenue and 34th Street. New parks and public spaces are being created. The Eastern Rail Yard represents Phase 2, and it will contain even double the square feet in comparison with Western Yard.

It is expected that the area will consist of 16 new skyscrapers, and anticipated that more than 24 million people will visit Hudson Yards every year. At the end of the construction, the site will have more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential spaces, 5000 residences, more than 100 shops and restaurants, cultural spaces, a public school, a luxury hotel and 14 acres of public open space, as well as easy access to transportation for residents, employees and guests.

Hudson Yards timeline

The MTA, State of New York and the NYC have been extensively planning since 2001 to create this transformation project. Construction on 10 Hudson Yards began at the end of 2012, and it is expected that the whole Hudson Yards project will be complete by 2024. All of the separate buildings are being constructed gradually, on 28 acres, over a working rail yard that is divided by 11th Avenue into eastern and western portions.

Two “platforms” are being constructed to bridge 30 active train tracks, three subsurface rail tunnels, and a passageway. These platforms cover approximately three quarters of the rail yard: finished buildings will extend through the platform and rise above.


Rezoning of the Hudson Yards will transform this area into a vibrant, medium to high density extension of the Midtown business district with residential, cultural, hotel, and retail uses and substantial new open space and parkland.

It was important to detect the influence of the project in all of the four sections, to put emphasis not only on the hard factors, but also on the soft factors of the project, mainly the effect it will have on the community.

In the graphic displayed below, we have mapped the vision of the project, through four main factors that we identified were relevant in all of the projects we analysed.

hudson07HYDC (Hudson Yards Development Corporation) leads the process of the Hudson Yards development program. HYDC collaborates with numerous City and State agencies involved in financing, planning, development and construction. The structure of the entities involved is displayed in the graphic below:

hudson06Public investment in this project amounts to more than $2 billion. The planning, design and development of the project was managed by HYDC, with the exception of the extension of the number 7 train, which is overseen by the MTA. The Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation (HYIC) is authorized to issue bonds to finance capital improvements in the Hudson Yards area.

hudson08Since the city first rezoned the area, more than 5,500 apartments and more than 3,200 hotel rooms have been built in Hudson Yards, giving life to the city’s vision for creating a new mixed-use neighbourhood in the heart of Manhattan.

Above all, Hudson Yards is aimed to be a place that brings people together, a place that facilitates interaction with others, and a place with technological capabilities that allow authorities and developers to engage in an on-going dialogue with the public to improve the quality of the experience throughout the neighbourhood.

hudson09In our next case study, we will present the two new planned high speed rail lines in Sweden, the Götalandsbanan (Götaland Line) and Europabanan (Europe Line), whose goal is to shorten the travel times and extend the capacity of Swedish rail network.

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