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Two examples of Philly's landmark stormwater management in action

It's a dry subject, but as Philadelphia wins widespread acclaim for its progressive approach to stormwater management, including the $2 billion, 25-year plan approved by the EPA last week, two projects on opposite ends of the city exemplify how the public and private sectors can cut runoff, flooding and pollution and improve neighborhoods.
On a North Philly block bounded by 16th, Master, Smedley and Seybert streets, an area without much open space, a public/private partnership is proposing Ingersoll Commons, 10 new, affordable rowhomes and a lush, new public park with rain gardens to collect and gradually infiltrate stormwater runoff from the site and neighboring blocks.  Planted with native meadow grasses, the "passive" green space -- no active recreation -- "would be a very different aesthetic from the traditional park," says Glen Abrams, an official with the Philadelphia Water Department's Office of Watersheds. The city's Department of Parks and Recreation and the Water Department are waiting on a request for state funding to build the new park; Community Ventures, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, is the partner on the residential piece of the project. 
Meanwhile, in South Philly, Carpenter Square at 17th and Carpenter will be a market-rate, mixed-used residential and commercial project with a small public plaza. But what really distinguishes the project, designed by Johnston Stromberg Architecture and developed by Goldenberg Group and MR Scott Development, is that it "celebrates stormwater opportunities," as architect Christopher Stromberg puts it.
The 11 townhomes and condo/commercial structure will have green roofs. The paving of the plaza and the rear parking will be porous. And along the street, instead of  tree pits, will be a series of three-by-15-foot stormwater planters with native vegetation. All of this, explains Stromberg, is designed to gradually drain water back into the ground instead gushing into the sewers. 
Both projects could be bellwethers of how real estate development will evolve under new stormwater regulations and the city's 25-year "Green City Clean Waters" plan. 

Source: Christopher Stromberg, Johnston Stromberg Architecture; Glen Abrams, Philadelphia Water Department
Writer: Elise Vider

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