CityBizList: Hudson Square Connection’s Streetscape Improvement Plan Wins 2015 International Downtown Association Planning Merit Award

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  • Client: Hudson Square Connection

Hudson Square Connection has received an award for their $27M streetscape improvement plan which has been implemented to enhance public spaces and redesign the neighborhoods infrastructure with an environmentally friendly model.

New York CityBizList covered the story:

During its 61st Annual Conference and Tradeshow, the International Downtown Association (IDA) presented the Hudson Square Connection (HSC) with a Downtown Merit Award for its work and initiatives related to its $27 million streetscape improvement plan: Hudson Square is Now. This five-year plan—conceived as a public-private partnership with the City of New York—was among six qualified entries in the category of Planning, recognizing urban planning efforts that establish a strategic position for creating healthy and dynamic centers that anchor the well-being of towns, cities and regions of the world.

Launched in October 2012, Hudson Square is Now has four distinct initiatives:

1.Installing neighborhood seating, greening and lighting

2.Remaking a public space connecting Hudson Square to its neighbors

3.Redesigning a north-south grand boulevard with a series of small pocket parks

4.Transforming the primary east-west spine of the district (Spring Street) into area’s main street

“Hudson Square is proud to set the standard in urban development and sustainable planning,” said Ellen Baer, HSC President and CEO. “Hudson Square is Now reinforces the neighborhood’s public spaces in an innovative approach that will not only help New York City become healthier, but also safer and more resilient. I thank our designers at Mathew Nielsen Landscape Architects and our City partners for working with us to bring new life our streets and sidewalks.”

“The Hudson Square Connection received the IDA Merit Award for delivering excellence in neighborhood management”, said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “Each year the IDA Awards Jury recognizes organizations that utilize best practices in our industry. The Hudson Square is Now streetscape improvement plan is a shining example of excellent planning, delivering real value to the City of New York.”

At the heart of HSC’s neighborhood greening efforts is the Hudson Square Standard (HSS), developed as part of the overall streetscape plan. Much of the ingenuity happens below the ground, as each new street tree is planted in an enlarged tree pit connected to a subsurface trench filled with structural soil and covered by permeable pavers. The uniform treatment with tree guards enhances neighborhood identity. HSC will plant (and retrofit) 300 trees over the course of three years. The fully grown trees will capture 2.5 million gallons of storm water annually—nearly all of the rain in a two-inch storm. The more storm-resistant trees provide Interior Perspective looking Southshade, reduce the heat island effect and improve air quality. Ultimately, 25 percent of Hudson Square’s sidewalks will be permeable.

Planted with the HSS, the trees will not only have environmental benefits, but also economic and social benefits, as they encourage people to explore the neighborhood by foot, boosting retail attention and patronage.

HSC is the first and only business improvement district in NYC that has developed its own privately-funded green infrastructure program in partnership with the City. Today, each of HSC’s initiatives are in some stage of implementation:

– Received funding and design approval for new park at Spring Street/Sixth Avenue (construction begins early next year)

– Completed a visioning study with the NYC Department of Transportation to redesign a main avenue

– Planted 80 new trees and retrofitted 58 existing trees

– Installed 15 benches, 35 bike racks and four way-finding signs

The IDA Merit Award for Planning comes after HSC received the Best New Urban Amenity Award from The Municipal Art Society of New York for the Hudson Square Standard earlier this year, as well as the The 2014 American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award and 2013 Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award.

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