This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Hudson Yards Promised a High-Tech Neighborhood — It was a Greater Challenge Than Expected."
There’s something striking about the command center of America’s largest private real estate development, Hudson Yards, in that it’s actually pretty boring. The room—technically known as the Energy Control Center, or ECC for short—contains two long desks crammed with desktop computers, a few TV monitors plastered to the wall, and a corkboard lined with employee badges. The ceiling is paneled; the lighting, fluorescent. However, New York’s Hudson Yards was once billed as the country’s first “quantified community”: A network of sensors would collect data on air quality, noise levels, temperature, and pedestrian traffic. This would create a feedback loop for the developers, helping them monitor and improve quality of life. So where is the NASA-like mission control? Data collection and advanced infrastructure will still drive parts of Hudson Yards’ operations, but not (yet) as first advertised.