Welcome to Hudson County!
Hudson County is New Jersey’s most densely populated and diverse county. Hudson County’s twelve municipalities in 46 square miles are filled with people of many different cultures and languages brought together by the county’s energy and quality of life to form a community.
Hudson County today has been shaped by many people, cultures, forces, and trends throughout its rich history. Jersey City was the site of the first permanent settlement in New Jersey, the Town of Bergen founded by Dutch colonists in 1660. The county’s prime location on New York Bay made it a center for international trade and shipping. The shipyards established along the waterfront led to the development of railroads to help facilitate the transit of goods, and these superior transportation connections attracted industries making a variety of goods and products sold all around the world. These industries propelled the rapid urbanization of Hudson County, attracting people to work and live, and the new residents built beautiful residential neighborhoods, many of which remain today and are preserved as historic districts.
Hudson County has been the starting point for millions of immigrants arriving in the United States. After being processed at Ellis Island and admitted into the country, they took ferries to the mainland, entering in Hudson County. Many would remain in Hudson County, while others took the Central Railroad of New Jersey to other destinations across the state and country.
The past connects with the present in Hudson County, as the county’s many assets continue to make it an attractive destination for many newly arrived immigrants, who come to live alongside long-time residents. Today, retail, financial firms, and services lead the county’s economy. Abandoned industrial sites have been transformed into housing, offices, businesses, and community parks. Historic buildings are being restored and adaptively reused for different purposes in a variety of creative ways. Local businesses, shops, restaurants, and the physical urban form contribute to vibrant, walkable neighborhoods. The county has a range of housing forms which provide homes for people and families in all stages of life. The Hudson County community has formed many active community organizations which provide supportive services to county residents and celebrate our diverse cultural heritage.
The county is well connected with an extensive transportation network, including trans-Hudson tunnels, interstate highways, buses, several train lines, ferries, and the county’s own light rail system which serve county residents and commuters. Hudson County’s ports and railroads, which contributed greatly to its development in the past, remain, though in evolved forms, to serve the needs of the economy in the present, and these transit facilities make trucking and warehousing important industries for the county today.
Physically, the county has a great diversity of landscapes, from the skyscrapers of downtown Jersey City to the marshes of the New Jersey Meadowlands. Residents and visitors recreate in many local neighborhood parks, the beautiful County Park System and Liberty State Park, one of region’s most important open space assets. Collectively, these resources make Hudson County a great place to live, work, and have fun.
Hudson County has been a leader for innovative local and regional planning. The Hudson County Planning Board was the first county planning board in New Jersey to incorporate a Green techniques checklist into its land development application to promote sustainability in building and site design. The County is dedicated to supporting and expanding the economy. Government, industry, and business leaders came together to create the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy “CEDS” Committee, and developed the first “CEDS” Plan in New Jersey approved by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. In 2003, Hudson County residents approved the creation of an Open Space, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, which has provided $44 million dollars for 116 projects including park improvements, open space acquisitions, and the rehabilitation of historic structures. The County has also taken steps to be prepared for emergencies, and established the USS Juneau Memorial Emergency Operations Center in Kearny. The County continues to reexamine its programs, policies, and plans in response to changing conditions, trends, and needs.
Geographically, Hudson County is located on two peninsulas, surrounded by the Hudson, Hackensack, and Passaic Rivers. The county’s 72 miles of shoreline make it vulnerable to flooding and storm surge from coastal storms. Hurricane Sandy powerfully impacted New Jersey, with Hudson County suffering as one of the most affected counties. Hudson County endured widespread damages and loss of service to public and private property and infrastructure caused by Hurricane Sandy. Emergencies responders, government officials, community groups, businesses, and individuals came together to provide assistance to those in need and recover from the storm.
Due to the effects of global climate change, Hudson County faces threats from sea level rise, and increasingly intense and frequent storms in the future, which put critical facilities, infrastructure, and residents at risk. The County has decided to take a proactive approach to prepare for the future, and has made resiliency to storm events a focus of planning and investment.
With grant funding from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grant Program, the Hudson County Division of Planning has launched the Engaging and Strengthening Hudson County Planning Initiative. This initiative is an inclusive strategic planning process which will involve a collaboration of professional planners, engineers, government officials, businesses, organizations, and the general public. It will result in four new planning documents for Hudson County: the creation of an update to the County Master Plan, a new County Parks Master Plan, a new 5-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy “CEDS” Plan, and a new County Capital Improvement Plan. An overall set of goals, objectives, and guiding principles will be established to connect these four plans into a unified vision for planning and resiliency in Hudson County. In addition, the Division of Planning will be conducting a broad, multi-faceted outreach strategy to encourage public participation in this planning process.
Together, we will create a strong vision of a diverse, dynamic, equitable, flourishing, and resilient Hudson County, expressed through these four plans, which will guide us into the future.
Funding for this project was granted through the NJ Department of Community Affairs Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grant Program.