Philadelphia is one of the newest cities getting a stormwater garden facelift.
According to an Instagram video shared by user Andrew Conboy (@andrew_the_arborist), the Pennsylvania city added gardens along Henry Avenue — one of the “busiest roads” in the city. The city removed some of the streetside parking and replaced it with beds filled with native plants like black-eyed Susans, bald cypress trees, and blue flag Iris.
“The native plants in these gardens will increase food and habitat for native wildlife, and they’ll add beauty to an otherwise bleak landscape as they bloom throughout the season,” the caption read.
These gardens can act as an oasis for pollinators like bees and butterflies, which would otherwise not have a safe place to eat and rest.
Curbside gardens are a key urban design feature to help reduce water runoff onto impervious surfaces — like roads and sidewalks. According to the video, the gardens were built slightly below street level so the water could easily flow into them. Without the new green feature, the water would just pool on the city streets and potentially cause issues with flooding.
Another benefit of constructing these curbside gardens is to reduce the urban island heat effect. This phenomenon is caused when urban areas have a ton of non-reflective, heat-trapping surfaces like roads, roofs, and buildings. Green design, which includes projects like green roofs, gardens, and reflective pavement, helps cool off the city — and they look pretty cool, too.
Instagram users praised Philadelphia’s investment in this urban stormwater infrastructure.
“Beautiful! I would love to see this in neighborhoods all over the city,” one user wrote. “Projects like this are good for the environment and I would like to see more of these projects in neighborhoods where there has been an extreme divestment of resources.”
“This is awesome! Way to go, Philly!” another user shared.
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