Fresh Water: Stormwater engineers mix disciplines by design

Meliora Design’s multidisciplinary team of engineers works with clients ranging from the Philadelphia Zoo to the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, harnessing a range of technologies like rain gardens and porous asphalt to manage stormwater. “You don’t get to sustainable design with one discipline — it’s an integrated process,” says Meliora founder Michele Adams. “We’re engineers and scientists focusing on water issues, but it’s never just about the water.

It’s about the community, the clients and making cities more resilient.” The Phoenixville-based Meliora (“always better” in Latin) was part of a winning team in the recent Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition for the “Leveraging Plants + Water on Zero Lots Sites” presentation, which displayed their mastery of the intersections of landscape, design, urban renewal and stormwater management.

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Story by Emily Kovach

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.