This three year community-based planning project culminated with Hell's Kitchen South: Developing Strategies, a guide and tool for local constituents, including the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association and Manhattan Community Board 4, as they steer future development in their neighborhood for the good of Hell's Kitchen and the larger city. 


After the completion of the project, the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association conducted an extension of the Development Strategies that responded to the Department of City Planning’s Hudson Yards Master Plan and directly influenced the emphasis on extending subway services, establishing a network of public spaces and accommodating interior medium-density residential uses with peripheral high-density mixed-use development in the rezoning plan of Hell’s Kitchen South that was approved in 2005.

The first phase of the Hudson Park & Boulevard project is scheduled to open in 2014 and will include entrances to the extended 7-line subway and an open space system of large plazas and grassy areas linked by landscaped walking paths between 10th and 11th Avenues stretching from West 33rd to West 36th Street. The second phase will extend the park over entrances to the Lincoln tunnel to 42nd Street and complete the connection from the northern border of Hell’s Kitchen South to the Western Rail Yard Site where a 26-acre master plan including office, retail, residential, cultural and open space development is currently in the implementation phase.


Hell’s Kitchen, a 100-year-old residential community in midtown Manhattan, is situated in the midst of one of NYC’s largest transportation hubs for train, bus and commuter rail. At the time of this project close to 30% of its land was vacant, making this area one of the last underdeveloped districts in Manhattan: Chelsea’s residential and commercial development is approaching from the South; adjacent abandoned rail yards represent a possible site for a new sports stadium; and to the West is redeveloped waterfront.


In June 1999, the Design Trust partnered with the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association (HKNA), a grass-roots community group, and four principals of Design + Urbanism (D+U) to organize a public planning conference at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The conference addressed the future of Hell's Kitchen South, one of the last under-developed areas in Manhattan and enabled a dialogue between residents and design and development experts . More than 200 urban planners, local residents, and government officials attended the two-day conference.

After the conference, the principals of D+U were awarded fellowships to continue the research and create design recommendations that would steer beneficial growth and impending development in Hell's Kitchen South. The Fellows invited and led 18 multidisciplinary research and design teams to develop program issues raised at the conference and create a variety of urban design ideas. Their design and planning schemes were exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture and at the Port Authority and were compiled into the final publication that outlines development strategies for the neighborhood. 

Hudson Yards as we see it at City Planning is one the rarest of opportunities to build a vast and dynamic district at the heart of our city, but where did we start? Well, we started with a book called Hells Kitchen really taught us the key values of Hell's Kitchen, its eccentricities, its idiosyncrasies, its assets, and its opportunities and really formed the foundation for our plan.

Amanda Burden, 2003, former Commissioner, NYC Dept. of City Planning

Key Milestones

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Select project and form partnerships

December 1998

The Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association (HKNA) approaches the Design Trust about collaborating on a project.

Assemble team

March 1999

HKNA and the Design Trust enlist the firm Design + Urbanism (D+U) to help organize and program a participatory conference and produce a final report. 

Conduct research

April 1999

D+U researches the neighborhood's history, zoning and development. 

Gather community input

June 1999

This two-day conference, Hell’s Kitchen Conference: Community Workshops to Reshape the Neighborhood, includes walking tours, roundtable workshops, lectures, panel presentations, and open forums.


August 1999

D+U invites thirteen teams to produce urban design recommendations based on the conference findings. Each team is given two months to conduct research, meet with the community, and develop viable strategies for the Hell's Kitchen. 

Public presentation

November 1999

The design teams exhibit their projects at the nonprofit gallery Storefront for Art and Architecture, many making gallery-specific installations of their projects. 

Peer review

December 1999

Invited panelists from planning, finance, and transportation fields offer advice for the project organizers and for the community members at a public symposium. 

Produce and release findings

June 2002

Over 150 community members attend the publication release party for "Hell's Kitchen South: Developing Strategies."


January 2005

The project's final report directly influences several components of the rezoning plan for Hell’s Kitchen South, particularly the emphasis on the public realm.