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.
Public Projects: Projects managed in large part by public agency and/or on public property; this includes municipal, state, and federal.
Please vote for one project in each category via our online voting form.
(See also: Private Projects and Innovation)
Lea Elementary School
“The renovation captured and infiltrated stormwater, increased tree canopy, and established a strong identity through a revitalized landscape.”
Renovations to Lea Elementary School, the recipient of a PWD SMIP grant, concentrated on capturing and infiltrating stormwater, increasing tree canopy, and establishing a strong identity for Lea through a revitalized landscape.
SALT’s cost-effective design manages stormwater from the both the school yard and the public right of way, and, through a series of multi-purpose interventions, maximizes opportunities for both students and teachers for play and education.
Penn Street Trail
“The project is now looked upon as the example for how to design a safer street through a protected approach.”
The goals of the Penn Street Trail were to encourage a healthy lifestyle by providing a safe, convenient and enjoyable venue for active recreation along the waterfront; and promote and encourage the use of non-motorized forms of transportation.
The project is now looked upon as the example for how to design a safer street through a protected approach by incorporating bicycle, pedestrian, place-making, and GSI elements within a public right-of-way.
John H. Taggart Elementary Schoolyard Improvement Project
“The final plan combined stormwater management elements such as rain gardens and permeable multipurpose play and recreation space.”
In 2013, Trust for Public Land selected the John H. Taggart Elementary School, a multicultural school whose vision is to “create a nurturing, supportive environment in which children can achieve and grow.”
The final plan combined stormwater management elements such as rain gardens and permeable multipurpose play and recreation space, with habitat enhancements and community garden beds.
“PWD and the community envisioned an area that would help manage stormwater, be a focal point, and would support the continual growth and greening of the city.”
Heston Garden represents a vacant lot that was transformed into a public park and recreational area. The new park features a rain garden that captures, manages, and store stormwater runoff from the adjacent roadways. The park also includes a walking path, gazebo, benches, and a vibrant mural.
PWD and the Hestonville community envisioned an area that would help manage stormwater, be a focal point of the neighborhood, and would support the continual growth and greening of the city. This project accomplished that in spades.
Jose Manuel Collazo Playground
“This project enhances long term climate resiliency through solutions that are multi-benefit and geographically suitable while also creating a safe haven for play in the community.”
The Trust for Public Land, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and the Philadelphia Water Department collaborated to transform this site into an attractive community asset that reflects the cultural heritage of the neighborhood.
This project enhances long term climate resiliency through solutions that are multi-benefit and geographically suitable while also creating a safe haven for play in the community.
Chester Arthur Schoolyard
“The renovation reflects the mission of the school through its landscape, by making the outdoor learning environment a key to an integrated and holistic approach to education.”
In 2015, Friends of Chester Arthur (FoCA) commissioned SALT Design Studio (SALT) to design a renovation of the Chester Arthur Schoolyard that implemented green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and integrated the fledgling STEM curriculum into a schoolyard landscape, while also addressing the bigger issues or place-making, sustainability, and how urban schoolyards can transform learning environments.
The Chester Arthur Schoolyard renovation reflects the mission of the school through its landscape, by repositioning the outdoor learning environment as an essential component to an integrated and holistic approach to primary education.
“The playground has become an avenue for flexible open space and a safe location for community collaborative events.”
Panati Playground is a park redevelopment and expansion project led by Philadelphia Department of Public Property (DPP) and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR).
Since reopening, the playground has become an avenue for flexible open space and a safe location for community collaborative events, including festivals, outdoor concerts, movie nights, and voting stations.
“The GSI at Wissinoming Park project is a marquee example of PWD’s successful implementation of their overall strategy that epitomizes the accomplishments of the first ten years of GCCW.”
Wissinoming Park, operated by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR), is an expansive neighborhood park encompassing 40 acres of land which houses several playing fields, tennis courts, hockey rinks, basketball courts, picnic areas, and a playground which are heavily utilized by the community.
Educational signage informs the residents about the Green City, Clean Waters plan, and the benefits associated with the dynamic nature of a wetland.
40th Street Trolley Portal
“The project succeeds in improving pedestrian and rider safety, increasing climate resiliency, creating green jobs, and bringing a pollinator-friendly planting design to the heart of Philadelphia.”
The 40th Street Trolley Portal Garden is one of the busiest public transit hubs in Philadelphia with more than 60,000 people commuting through the space per day. The overarching project goal was to transform a barren, lifeless paved expanse into a new, green public hub for West Philadelphia.
UCD’s overall goal for this project was to bring a sense of dignity back to the public transit experience and to create a sustainable landscape that eliminated the severe drainage issues existing prior to the improvements.
Kingsessing Recreation Center
“Overall the project helped rejuvenate the existing landscape, providing more plantings that not only add to the aesthetic but also provide stormwater management to the site.
The Kingsessing Recreation Center is a large community center for those of the Kingsessing neighborhood in southwest Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Water Department project was only the first phase of the future updates to the recreation space, as part of the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Program.
Overall the Philadelphia Water Department project at Kingsessing Recreation Center helped rejuvenate the existing landscape, providing more plantings that not only add to the aesthetic but also provide stormwater management to the site.
“This urban playground is now a vital green footprint in an urban desert, and the centerpiece of a thriving Olde Kensington neighborhood.”
Hancock Playground fulfills the triple bottom line: increasing socially equitable community access to public green space and promoting neighborhood engagement; decreasing pollution from entering urban waterways; and creating an environmentally resilient, multi-generational recreation space for residents of all ages and backgrounds.
These goals are reproducible and can be implemented elsewhere, meaning the impact can reach further than the local need in Philadelphia. This urban playground is now a vital green footprint in an urban desert, and the centerpiece of a thriving Olde Kensington neighborhood.