AT THE BOWKER CREEK FORUM: “What does the Bowker Creek Blueprint have in common with the City of Philadelphia’s green infrastructure initiative? What they have in common is peeling back paved surfaces and restoring an absorbent sponge, ” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he set the stage for a guided conversation on implementing a new culture for watershed restoration (February 2010)
Note to Reader:
At the Bowker Creek Forum, Kim Stephens introduced Philadelphia’s Green City, Blue Waters program as a way to set the stage for a facilitated conversation about implementation of green infrastructure.
Philadelphia’s program involves creating ‘greened acres’ — expanses of impervious land that are transformed either to absorb the first 1½ inches of rainfall or send it into rain gardens or other local green infrastructure systems.
Green City, Clean Waters is a first-of-its-kind combined sewer overflow compliance approach based primarily on green stormwater infrastructure. Implementation commenced in 2011. To learn more, download Clean Water….Green City: Blending the interests of land and water in Philadelphia, a presentation by Howard Neukrug, Philadelphia’s Water Commissioner that laid out the vision in 2010.
Implementing a New Culture for Watershed Restoration
“This is a memorable year, and not just because British Columbia is hosting the Winter Olympics. This is the year that we see weaving a seamless storyline for all the initiatives that are happening on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and in Metro Vancouver. That is the context for this guided conversation,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he introduced the final segment at the Bowker Creek Forum.
“I have a question for you – what does the Bowker Creek Blueprint have in common with the City of Philadelphia’s green infrastructure initiative? What they have in common is peeling back hard surfaces and restoring an absorbent sponge. It has been interesting to follow the Philadelphia story for the past year because there was skepticism initially. Now we are hearing more and about what Philadelphia is doing.
“The reason that I wanted to flag the comparison is that it is still very much a high level initiative. But is does tell you that the paradigm-shift is coming. As we get the word out as to about the Bowker Creek Blueprint, I believe that people will begin to look at and appreciate what the Bowker Creek Initiative has accomplished on the ground.
“Philadelphia’s motivation for peeling back the pavement and recreating an absorbent sponge is that the City cannot afford the traditional multi-billion dollar engineering solution. As I see it, the real story is that what is happening in Bowker Creek will begin to inform the Philadelphias of the North American continent.”
To Learn More:
Read FLASHBACK TO 2010: Philadelphia Urban Water Leadership Conference represents a “watershed moment” in the United States because it linked green infrastructure practices to water sustainability outcomes
Watch Kim Stephens on YouTube