Philadelphia is at the forefront of the green infrastructure movement, primarily because of the 45 inches of rain it gets per year, which regularly causes sewage to flow into the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. For the past 10 years it’s been renovating its stormwater system to provide the most benefits to the largest number of groups. Here’s an example of what’s going on:
In 2005, Philadelphia Green and PWD started work on a project to address stormwater problems at seven Philadelphia schools. At S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School, children created a raised bed vegetable garden in a paved parking lot, which will not only absorb stormwater, but also reduce the heat island effect. Vegetation, infiltration trenches, bioswales, and a rain garden replaced some of the school’s 3-acre impervious site.
Another joint stormwater project, in South Philly, will include the city’s first sidewalk infiltration planters, on South 13th Street. Modeled after street planters used in Portland, OR, they are designed to reduce overflows that led to basement flooding, a persistent problem in the area. These planters, which measure 30 feet long by 7 feet wide and are 4 feet deep, will be filled with native plants suggested by members of the PHS.
The 4-page article I’m quoting above has many examples and some good explanations of the intricacies of developing a green infrastructure. Go read “Philadelphia: Going Green to Manage Stormwater” by Margaret Buranen (Stormwater: The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, January-February 2010).
How Is This Restoration?
It’s more of a preventive measure, though planting native flowers and shrubs is certainly a form of restoration.