Meet the winners of Soak It Up!

Although Philadelphia is already a national leader in stormwater management thanks to the innovative Green City, Clean Waters program, the City is always looking for new creative and sustainable ways to improve on their practices and policies. The latest example is the Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up!, a nationally juried competition hosted by the Community Design Collaborative, Philadelphia Water Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The competition launched in early October and attracted 28 teams with more than 300 professionals from Philadelphia and across the country. A couple weeks ago, the winners were announced, which included Philadelphia companies Roofmeadow, OLIN and Urban Engineers. Tonight, the winners will be presenting their projects at the Academy of Natural Sciences during a conversation on the future of Philadelphia waterways. Tickets are already sold out, but the above video produced by GreenTreks Network (and premiering tonight!) gives a great overview of the competition process and highlights the three winners.

For more on Soak It Up! look for a special insert in our August issue done in partnership with the Community Design Collaborative. The insert will give an inside look into the competition process and some of the creative solutions proposed by the teams. 

CitiesAlive: Annual green roof and wall conference comes to Philadelphia

CitiesAlive, the only conference series in North America dedicated to green roof and wall industries, is in Philadelphia this week. This year’s four-day conference, “Restoring Urban Waters,” hosted by the industry association Green Roofs and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, will look at how green roofs and walls are part of Philadelphia’s plan to revitalize the city’s waters. The conference will feature education sessions, panel discussions, a trade show, demonstrations of the latest science and technologies, as well as tours of the city’s green roofs and walls.   

With so many innovative green projects and programs already underway, Philadelphia was an obvious choice for the 2011 conference. “Philadelphia is one of a few cities in the United States which has decided to rely upon urban greening as the fundamental, if not primary approach to addressing compliance with the Clean Water Act,” says Charlie Miller, founder of Roofscapes (now Roofmeadow), a Philadelphia-based green roof company.  

In addition to the small-scale greening initiatives, like farmer’s markets and composting services, our city features the tallest green building in America (Comcast Center) and Pennsylvania’s largest green roof on an existing building (45,000 square feet at PECO’s Center City headquarters). And then, there’s Green City, Clean Waters, the innovative multi-billion dollar, 25-year plan Philadelphia has adopted to restore water quality within the city.

Along with keynote speakers from Philadelphia’s water and environment sector, the conference will feature specific sessions on the city’s green transformation (December 1) and a case study of PECO’s green roof (December 2). Other highlights include tours of Philadelphia’s green spaces, technical sessions where industry experts will speak on policy, design, and research topics, and an all-day trade show. Green Roof Professional courses will be offered as well as the accreditation exam (separate registration is required). 

Anyone can register to attend the conference and there are several options, including two attendance packages and a student discount. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel (201 N. 17th St.). To register visit the conference website.

- Anna Louise Neiger