GSI Excellence Awards Showcase Philly as the 'Silicon Valley of Green Infrastructure'

Philadelphia’s healthy (and growing) green stormwater infrastructure economy was evident at the inaugural GSI Excellence Awards, hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network (SBN) at the WHYY studios on March 31.

Nearly 200 people involved in creating and maintaining the kind of green systems that make Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program work came out to celebrate some of the best regional projects in green stormwater management. From top officials at Philadelphia Water to the owners of small private GSI maintenance firms, the crowd was an impressive and representative mix of the people making Philadelphia a national leader in green solutions.

Economic Benefits of Philadelphia Water’s Green Approach = Icing on the Cake

This rain garden is making our rivers cleaner while adding value to a South Philly business and block. Credit: Philadelphia Diner.
This rain garden is making our rivers cleaner while adding value to a South Philly business and block. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Here at Philadelphia Water, every piece of our expansive, 3,000 mile stormwater system works towards toward one goal: effectively managing the water in our city that comes from storms, whether they’re summertime cloudbursts or January blizzards.

Managing stormwater is a critical and necessary task for any city. In Philadelphia, we address stormwater both to protect our neighborhoods from flooding and to protect our drinking water sources, the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, from pollution.

We don’t get to choose whether or not we deal with stormwater. But, with our innovative 25-year, multi-billion dolar Green City, Clean Waters program, we’re finding new ways of managing that water that can have additional benefits for neighborhoods—and maybe even Philadelphia’s economy too.

Good Economy Challenge to Candidates Features Green City, Clean Waters

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) has stepped into the fray of this year’s city elections to offer up the “Good Economy Challenge” to all of the candidates for mayor and City Council. Highlighting the importance of a sustainable economy, they focus on five policy priorities: small business, procure local, solar homes, social enterprise and... Green City, Clean Waters! 

In a recent newsletter SBN wrote “Green City, Clean Waters is bringing many economic, environmental, and social benefits to the city, and is positioning Philadelphia as a national leader in urban stormwater management. Our next Mayor/Council Members should drive Green City, Clean Waters forward in a unified way, so that the program can continue to positively influence Philadelphia’s competitiveness, local and regional economy, environment, and quality of life.” (We're blushing over here!) And in their policy paper, SBN outlines three specific recommendations asking candidates to pledge their commitment to Green City, Clean Waters, to improve coordination across city departments to better support the program and to continue making Philadelphia a green infrastructure industry and innovation hub for the nation. You can check all of their recommendations here

Perhaps most importantly, SBN is hosting the Good Economy Candidates Forum, giving you a chance to hear directly from mayoral candidates on Saturday, April 25, 6:30-9pm. The forum takes place at Temple’s Fox School of Business, Alter Hall Auditorium, 1801 Liacouras Walk, Philadelphia, PA. You can register for the forum using this link

And they didn’t just stop at issuing the challenge and organizing a forum! To keep up the social pressure, SBN has provided all kinds of easy-to-use tools for people to spread the message of this challenge. They’ve provided suggested Twitter and Facebook language (we’re partial to this one) so YOU can be part of the effort to put these policies in front of the mayoral and council candidates—scroll to the bottom of this page here for more examples. 

We appreciate that SBN has been such a strong advocate for Green City, Clean Waters and included it in this challenge. If you agree that Green City, Clean Waters, and sustainable, local business is an important topic for our new leaders, then make sure you attend the Forum, spread the word and get involved!

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