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April 14, 2014 | Source:

Hudson Yards to become first 'quantified community'

New York University and Hudson Yards developers announced Monday a smart-city project that will measure the way New Yorkers interact with their urban environment to make "cities a better place to live." By Joe Anuta April 14, 2014 New York University is teaming up with the developers of the Hudson Yards in the hopes big data collected from the future 28-acre complex will help it run more efficiently and make it a better place to live and work. New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress announced Monday that the mixed-use neighborhood being built over a Long Island Railroad yard on the far West Side of Manhattan will be the first "quantified community" in the entire country, meaning the university, in concert with Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group, will collect information on pedestrian traffic, air quality, energy production and consumption and even the health and activity levels of workers and residents. "The goals here tie back to the center's mission, which is to use big data to make cities better places to live," said Dr. Constantine Kontokosta, director of the center, though he emphasized the collection of any personal data would be voluntary. The partnership hopes to install thousands of sensors throughout the complex that will send information to secure servers. The data will be analyzed by a team of number crunchers, although details for the partnership have not been finalized. "Hudson Yards will be the most connected, measured, and technologically-advanced digital district in the nation," Jay Cross, president of Related Hudson Yards, said in a statement. The development, which is set to contain 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, a school and a hotel along with 14 acres of public space, also has two unique qualities that lend it to data monitoring: a central waste management system and an on-site power generation plant. The neighborhood waste management system consists of an underground pneumatic tube that will transport retail and residential waste, along with and recycled and organic material from kitchens, into a central pickup location, while organic waste from cafeterias in the commercial towers will be converted to fertilizer. Hudson Yards also boasts the ability to generate its own power, though it will still tap into the grid as a supplementary source. Taken together, the data streams could offer unprecedented insight into the many ways people interact with the built environment. Eventually, the team hopes that the data collection program at Hudson Yards could be a model for cities across the globe.

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