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PA Institute Of Architects Honors Philadelphia Green City, Clean Waters Program

The PA Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Thursday honored the City of Philadelphia’s multi-decade Green City, Clean Waters Plan to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows by 85 percent with its 2016 Architectural Excellence Design Awards Gala.

The award “honors individuals, corporations, associations or other groups who do not practice architecture. Recipients are cited for their direct contributions to the profession such as a building program, a public works project … or other significant disciplines which have had a strong influence on the field of architecture.”

Given how many people—representing a wide range of professions—have worked to grow Green City, Clean Waters since it officially launched in 2011, it’s fitting that AIA Pennsylvania chose to honor the whole program.

While many individual contributions made it possible for Green City, Clean Waters to surpass some pretty lofty five-year targets for green infrastructure creation and pollution reduction in 2016, the success of the program is driven by hard work in fields including modeling, planning, design, engineering, monitoring, maintenance, public policy, and even community outreach.

By working to together, those working on Green City, Clean Waters at the Philadelphia Water Department have paved the way and made it easier for city as a whole to adopt green stormwater infrastructure as an important part of what a future Philadelphia looks like.

When you look at the crucial role private development played in building the network of green infrastructure that exists in Philadelphia today—a network of green systems that will keep and estimated 1.5 billion gallons of polluted water out of our rivers and creeks this year—it becomes clear how important it is to have an architecture community that embraces Green City, Clean Waters.

From a technical perspective, smart stormwater management has become a key aspect of designing and building new structures in Philadelphia thanks to regulations put in place in 2015 that require many new developments to manage most of their stormwater runoff on-site.

In Northern Liberties, honey bees drink nectar from native flowers found in a stormwater bump out at 3rd Street and Fairmount Avenue.

In Point Breeze, kids play basketball on a court that also helps soak up and clean stormwater from the surrounding area.

On Eadom Street in Northeast Philly, patients find therapeutic value in caring for rain gardens that dot the parking lot of their health facility.

Looking across the city, it’s fair to say that Philadelphia’s efforts to protect local waterways from pollution through the use of neighborhood-based green tools has garnered fans who might not usually appreciate a well-designed piece of infrastructure.

As Philadelphia continues to expand the program and find new ways of managing stormwater, we think recognizing connections between the world of green infrastructure and the world of architecture makes a whole lot of sense.

Thank you to AIA Philadelphia, and congratulations to all the people and partners who have helped make Green City, Clean Waters a success!


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(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Water Department Blog.)


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