ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe studio thanks all those who contributed to the process and ideas that were a part of creating this book. Special thanks goes to those individuals who took the time to present information and discuss ideas with us during the course of the semester:
Howard Neukrug, Office of Watersheds, Philadelphia Water Department
Patrick Starr, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Diane Rosencrance, Natural Land Trust
Randall Arendt, Conservation by Design
We would also like to extend our gratitude to all of those individuals who offered feedback and constructive criticism during our midterm and final reviews. This information was invaluable as we shaped our analysis and vision:
Dean Marilyn Taylor, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Professor John Landis, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Domenic Vitiello, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Michael Larice, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Laura Wolf Powers, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Patrick Morgan, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation
Brenda Barrett, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Cindy Dunn, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Carolyn Wallis, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Carol de Wolf, Natural Land Trust
Ferdinando Micale, Wallace Robert and Todd
Susan Weiler, The Olin Studio
Patricia Elkis, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Laurie Actman, Viridity Energy
Michael DiBerardinis, Department of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
Master of City Planning Candidates:
David Aiken Community and Economic Development
Nic Baker Transportation Master of Science in Historic Preservation
Elizabeth Dow Land Use and the Environment Land Preservation Certificate
Allison Gillum Land Use and the Environment Land Preservation Certificate
Zachary Guren Public-Private Development Master of Environmental Studies
Bruce Hansen Land Use and the Environment
Mason McClellan Public-Private Development Historic Preservation Certificate
Beth McKellips Community and Economic Development
Elizabeth Schlingmann Urban Design
Noah Swistak Land Use and the Environment
Paul Thompson Public-Private Development Master of Social Work
Christopher White Land Use and the Environment
iiiTABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTSi. EXECUTiVE SUMMARY ii. PROJECT OVERViEW iii. ECOSYSTEM SERViCES iV. STATE OF THE WATERSHED V. ENViSiONiNG THE FUTURE Vi. MODELiNG THE WATERSHED Vii. iNTERVENTiONS Viii. iMPLEMENTATiON STRATEGY iX. APPENDiCES
Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA PennPraxis
Michael Nairn University of Pennsylvania Urban Studies Program
Amy Lynch University of Pennsylvania Doctoral Student, City and Regional Planning
Schuylkill Green: A Framework for Resiliency within the Schuylkill WatershedPennDesign Graduate Studio 2010
ENViSiON A RESiLiENT WATERSHED WHERE iNVESTMENT iN ECOLOGiCAL iNFRASTRUCTURE RESULTS iN LONG TERM iMPROVEMENTS iN HEALTH, EQUiTY, ECONOMiC SECURiTY, AND SOCiAL ViBRANCY.
ENViSiON A RESiLiENT WATERSHED WHERE iNVESTMENT iN ECOLOGiCAL iNFRASTRUCTURE RESULTS iN LONG TERM iMPROVEMENTS iN HEALTH, EQUiTY, ECONOMiC SECURiTY, AND SOCiAL ViBRANCY
PRiNCiPLESi. A DiVERSiTY OF SYSTEMSThere are several different types of landscapes and natural systems needed to support livable communities. This concept requires creating a network of overlapping relationships from the built and natural environments.
WATER QUALiTY The configuration of land patterns and land types can significantly impact the quality of water. For example, impervious surfaces can impede groundwater recharge, while forests help groundwater infiltration and riparian buffers prevent runoff from entering streams.
HABiTAT Preserving habitats of critical mass and type allows for a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Certain species need large contiguous hubs to prosper, while others flourish on the edges of habitat. A diverse assortment of habitats will ensure that biodiversity remains strong in the region. Maintaining biodiversity can also assist in food production, as well as manage pests and invasive species.
AGRiCULTURE The watershed has a vibrant farming history and contains prime agricultural land in the Great and Oley Valleys. Both Berks County and nearby Lancaster County administer leading farmland preservation programs, which reflects a strong cultural and political commitment to farming.
RECREATiON A variety of trails, green pathways, and other open park spaces provide recreation space that can nurture vibrant communities.
BUiLT ENViRONMENT Utilizing a variety of building styles that work to increase dense, mixed use development patterns, provides a dynamic way to break from the standard suburban style of development that typically is land intensive and results in large proportions of impervious surface and lawn.
ii. A CONNECTED NETWORKConnectivity’s definition is twofold. First, there is the very literal meaning allowing people and wildlife to access the natural environment through a trail and park system, as well as a hub and link habitat system. Additionally, we also add a social dimension to this principle that aims to nurture shared interests and ideas across communities.
TRAiLS There is a significant existing network of trails throughout the watershed. Connecting these trails to create an overall network provides a significant way to create a strong regional asset without a large amount of capital.
HUBS AND LiNKS Birds and other animals must be able to migrate when seasons and food sources change throughout the year. In addition, studies have shown that wildlife flourish in large, circular blocks of habitat hubs. Cutting the linkages between hubs and reducing the size of natural habitat hubs can alter the food chain, and consequently affect other natural systems.
HYDROLOGY Water is a complex natural system that currently provides clean drinking water with minimal human intervention, through groundwater and surface water systems. Disturbing this system can have lasting and costly effects for communities as they may be forced to construct expensive water treatment plants or purchasing water from other regions.
REGiONAL COOPERATiON As degradation of the ecosystem services within the watershed occurs, a mutual understanding of the importance of protecting the ecological infrastructure within the watershed is needed. A collective, combined effort from watershed governments will yield the best results.
As energy sources and prices are in flux, providing a variety of transportation choices will allow the region to be more resilient to change. Furthermore, improving transportation access can expand economic opportunities to low-income residents who do not have access to an automobile.
EQUiTY Creating the ability for all residents to access quality open space and trails will increase the quality of life throughout the region.
iii. A SENSE OF PLACEThe Schuylkill Watershed has a long and rich history, evident in both it’s beautiful farmland communities and traditional development patterns. However, many areas in the watershed lack a sense of place. Moving forward, vibrant communities will enhance local character through honoring the region’s history, natural resources, and architectural traditions.
STEWARDSHiP To maintain a sense of place, individuals must realize their role in the protection of natural and built environments. While formal organizations play an important role in the preservation of cultural landscapes, individuals stewardship practices ensure that these unique places are not degraded or lost. Individual decisions such as housing type, mode of transportation, and landscaping can have a great impact on the health of natural systems within the watershed. Ultimately, maintaining the health of the ecological infrastructure will rely on a collective effort from all residents.
SELF SUFFiCiENCYCommunities that create self-sufficient systems for producing energy, water infiltration, and other basic services will be more resilient to unpredictable future changes in energy prices and global climate destabilization.
LOCAL GOVERNANCEHome rule governments are able to determine what policies and incentives are appropriate for their communities. While this is commonly considered a challenge in the Schuylkill Watershed, this government structure needs to be capitalized upon to create meaningful changes.
CiViC ENGAGEMENT Local government and key stakeholder organizations should involve residents in the ecological infrastructure implementation process to identify important issues of public concern.
FOOD SYSTEMSThe Schuylkill Watershed contains a significant amount of high quality farmland. The quality and quantity of this land can support the production of substantial amounts of food. Creating and maintaining strong markets for this food allows for economic development as well as provides other social benefits through creating opportunities for people to connect at farmer’s markets and other community events.
STRATEGY FRAMEWORK:ESTABLiSH A WATERSHED COMMiSSiON TO FACiLiTATE REGiONAL COOPERATiON
ACTION 1:ALiGN POLiCY iNiTiATiVES
ACTION 2:PRACTiCE RESPONSiBLE RESOURCE EXTRACTiON
ACTION 3:UNLOCKiNG GREEN VALUE
ACTION 4:BUiLD AWARENESS