Global architecture firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) has revealed a masterplan for transforming over 180 acres of underutilized land in Western Queens’ Sunnyside Railyard into a thriving mixed-use neighborhood with a net carbon-neutral footprint. Developed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary design team on behalf of the City of New York, the ambitious urban revitalization project seeks multiple sustainability targets, from equitable economic growth and placemaking to the implementation of on-site renewable energy and energy storage systems. 

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a rendering of a Sunnyside Yard featuring an light-orange, tired building with a courtyard in front with grassy areas separated by walkways. people sit and stroll around the area.

Created in partnership with New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and Amtrak, the Sunnyside Railyard masterplan envisions a mixed-use program comprising 12,000 new 100% affordable residential units, 60 acres of open public space, a new Sunnyside Station to connect Western Queens with the Greater New York region, ten schools, two libraries, over 30 childcare centers, five healthcare facilities and five million square feet of new commercial and manufacturing space to stimulate new middle-class job growth. Walkability and livability will be major drivers behind the design and have informed decisions to incorporate more mid-rise scale buildings, anti-displacement strategies and an abundance of connective green space.

a rendering of a snowy are with an orange facade on a stairwell. people walk and bike in front of it.

“At over 180 acres, the Yard represents our city’s most significant opportunity to realize shared progressive goals all in a carbon-neutral environment that will set a model globally for sustainable urban growth while maintaining a scale and density reflective of Western Queens,” explained Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder of PAU. “Neighboring communities now have a unique opportunity to leverage this Plan to address long-standing needs in terms of transportation, housing, jobs, open space, social infrastructure, and environmental resilience.”

Related: Striking LEED Silver-targeted tower to rise in the heart of Philadelphia

a rendering of a bright grassy area in a city with people walking or lounging.

A major highlight of the masterplan is the “deck” that will be built over 80% of the existing rail yard to create a new elevated neighborhood that seamlessly connects with the rail operations below. The deck will also provide a new way for people to traverse Sunnyside Station — a new regional rail hub — on foot, bike or wheelchair. To meet carbon-neutral targets, the masterplan also calls for renewable energy systems, cutting-edge building technologies such as mass timber and the inclusion of an institute dedicated to research and development of clean technologies.


Images via PAU