Hudson Square Streetscape Improvement Plan
New York, NY
Hudson Square is a neighborhood west of SoHo in Lower Manhattan bounded by West Houston and Canal Streets, Sixth Avenue and the Hudson River. Historically it was a concentration of printing businesses that occupied the large floor-plate buildings. These buildings have since attracted 21st century media and creative professionals. However, the area lacks pedestrian-friendly streetscaping, and is dominated by heavy through-traffic, as well as the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. Working with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture and Hudson Square Connection, the business improvement district, we analyzed the neighborhood’s streetscape to develop short and long-term improvements. While the heavy north-south traffic stood out as a major challenge, it is a characteristic common to many NYC neighborhoods. Our analysis of Hudson Square revealed an equally significant problem effecting the neighborhood’s quality of life: a lack of pedestrian and retail activity on the cross streets. After documenting all the buildings in the district and creating a data base of ownership, use and projected growth, we discovered that the neighborhood’s short east-west blocks and large building footprints greatly limit cross-street activity. To address this challenge we worked with the landscape architects to develop active cross-street landscapes, incentives for pop-up loading dock conversions, and active corners written into the neighborhood’s new zoning. We are currently developing design proposals for Freeman Plaza, the underutilized space at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.
with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Hudson Square Connection
2015 MASterworks Award Winner for Best New Urban Amenity
“The Hudson Square Standard reimagines the potential for urban sidewalks by finding small changes to the design and structure of our streets that can yield major environmental and health impacts. Its innovation is best seen from below the ground, where trees have been planted in expanded subterranean plots that give their roots more room to grow. Hudson Square Connection continues to serve as a catalyst for efficient and sophisticated design intervention in the public realm.”