To mark the 10th year of implementation of the City of Philadelphia’s landmark Green City, Clean Waters plan, SBN’s GSI Partners Initiative recognizes past and present public, private, and innovative green stormwater infrastructure projects in Philadelphia.
Even better, you get to vote for a project! A public online poll will determine the winners for each category. Voting closes on Friday, April 9, and we’ll announce each category’s winner at the 5th Annual Excellence in GSI Awards on Thursday, April 22. Haven’t registered yet? RSVP Now.
Innovation: Processes, programs or technology that break new ground, by applying information, ingenuity, and initiative to significantly advance GSI impact.
Please vote for one project in each category via our online voting form.
(See also: Public and Private Projects)
“The city’s first elevated public park represents an evolutionary innovation in design, particularly for shallow landscapes. This project casts a vision for the region in which challenging surfaces can inspire revolutionary design solutions.”
As Philadelphia’s first elevated public park and first blue-green roof, Cira Green represents an evolutionary innovation in design, particularly for shallow landscapes. This project casts a vision for the region in which challenging surfaces can inspire revolutionary design solutions.
By artfully integrating an innovative and unobtrusive stormwater management strategy into this extensively paved, high-traffic park, BRT and the design team created a new standard for city living which leverages the roof plane for unparalleled amenity spaces that also aggressively manage stormwater.
Philadelphia Parcel Viewer/Credits Explorer/GARP-Aggregator Property Manager
“The scalable and replicable nature of these stormwater management software tools makes it easy to use by other municipalities, and can dramatically improve the implementation of stormwater management plans.”
The scalable and replicable nature of Azavea’s innovative stormwater management software tools makes their use by other municipalities easily implemented, demonstrating how data and software technologies can dramatically improve the implementation, and therefore success, of stormwater management plans.
The Philadelphia Parcel Viewer application was developed to support the PWD’s new nonresidential stormwater billing system that relates a property’s burden on the sewer system directly to its stormwater charge by using the property’s impervious surface cover as the basis for the fee.
Smart Stormwater Management Technology
“Using technology to monitor and forecast weather events to create more efficient systems signifies a bright future for how innovative technologies can continue to improve GSI performance.”
When Cintas discovered that its property’s on-site stormwater retention basin did not meet current Philadelphia Water Department regulations or earn stormwater credits towards the Stormwater Management Service Charge, it engaged OptiRTC (Opti) to improve the performance and function of the basin and to create a long-term operations and maintenance plan for the entire property.
Using technology to monitor and forecast weather events to create more efficient systems signifies a bright future for how innovative technologies can continue to improve GSI performance.
Sandmeyer Regional Stormwater Facility
“The project, funded by PWD’s Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP), manages and aggregates stormwater on private property, allowing twenty properties to meet their stormwater management requirements.”
Utilizing funding from PWD’s Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP), the project successfully aggregates and manages stormwater on private property, allowing twenty properties to meet their stormwater management compliance obligations.
The completed facility is comprised of two infiltration basins that treat over 50,000,000 gallons of stormwater runoff annually. A separate storm pipe captures runoff from the impervious services of the thirty parcels along Sandmeyer Lane to be piped into the basin during storm events.
Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School
“In addition to the enormous stormwater management benefits, the project also functions to make underground GSI visible to the next generation of students and Philadelphia’s workforce.”
The Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School, located within the Tookany-Tacony Frankford watershed, lies on a 5.21-acre parcel, very little of which is green space. Without vegetation to naturally absorb runoff, the school has been required to pay extremely high stormwater fees.
In addition to the enormous stormwater management benefits, the project also functions to make underground GSI visible to the next generation of students and Philadelphia’s workforce. ISS’s goal is to promote GSI to young people while providing related educational activities and curricula to demonstrate how they can be a part of the solution.
Kelly Green Project
“The project builds the capacity for project success through design, construction, environmental literacy innovation, and educational programing, while also embracing a process that employs incremental steps to achieve its vision.”
Together, the Kelly Green Project, along with Asarum LandDesign Group has been working to transform the John B. Kelly school grounds from a vacant blighted landscape to a healthy vibrant play, education, and community gathering space.
Employing a socially engaged design and planning process to cultivate community buy-in, ownership, and stewardship, the project is revolutionary in that it builds the capacity for project success through design, construction, environmental literacy innovation, and educational programing, while also embracing a process that employs incremental steps to achieve a vision that continues to be caused.
“This publicly available tool is designed to help decision-makers make data-driven decisions on where, when, and how to create impactful GSI projects that provide a maximum return on investment.”
In 2018, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and its partners developed an innovative geospatial decision support tool (DST) to revolutionize the role of GSI in creating a healthy, vibrant, equitable, and climate-prepared Philadelphia. This publicly available tool is designed to help decision makers in the public and private sector make data-driven decisions on where, when, and how to create multi-benefit green infrastructure projects that provide a maximum return on investment.
In total, the decision support tool identifies as far as the parcel level to identify locations where GSI projects can meet multiple environmental, social, and economic objectives.
Green Infrastructure Living Laboratory (GILL)
“GILL’s technology has huge environmental and economic implications, contributing to avoided costs of plan replacement, maximizing GSI system efficiency and leak detection, offering major benefits for property managers and developers.”
The Green Infrastructure Living Laboratory (GILL) is taking a Smart City approach to GSI monitoring with a focus on low-cost, DIY solutions that use the latest communication technology to perform real-time, remote sensing. The research team transmits and stores data in the cloud to create actionable responses related to irrigation, maintenance, and the optimization of GSI systems.
GILL’s technology has huge environmental and economic implications, contributing to avoided costs of plan replacement, maximizing GSI system efficiency and leak detection, both which have major benefits for property managers and developers.
Green City Inlet Filter “Stormsacks”
“These green inlet filter devices overcome challenges of the past – improving durability and performance balancing both the goals of design and maintenance, contributing towards the goal of clean water and sustainable systems.”
Philly has been faced with the enormous task of developing a plan to maintain the existing green stormwater infrastructure systems that have been installed as well as improve the standard designs for future projects to make maintenance safe, efficient, and effective. What drives the success of the program in Philadelphia is two-fold: effective collaboration and that the voice of maintenance has a seat at the table and helps drives design.
The “Green City Inlet Filter” collects and traps curb-line sediment, trash and debris and prevents them from entering downstream waterbodies and GSI assets, contributing towards the goal of clean water and sustainable systems.