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Neighborhood Planning For Green Stormwater

Step 1 of 6: Neighborhood-wide Project Identification

PWD encourages community organizations to identify green stormwater infrastructure opportunities in their neighborhood through a public planning process.

The project identification process can take place in two different ways:

  1. A community is already developing a broad-scale neighborhood plan and would like to incorporate green infrastructure into its recommendations.
  2. A community would like to analyze its neighborhood primarily for the purpose of identifying green stormwater infrastructure opportunities.

Either of these options will result in a list of community-approved sites for GSI projects that can be submitted to PWD for review.

After opportunities are identified, the list of potential project sites can be submitted on-line via the neighborhood-wide submission form. The Neighborhood-wide Submission is essentially a submission of multiple projects within one neighborhood that have been approved by the community via a public input process.

Neighborhood-wide Submission Requirements

  • Neighborhood-wide submissions of green infrastructure project sites can only be accepted from an established organization, public agency or consultant serving that neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood-wide submissions must have undergone a public process and have incorporated input from residents, community groups and other community stakeholders (such as business owners, non-profit institutions and city agencies).
  • All neighborhood-wide submissions must demonstrate community support and approval.

Neighborhood-wide Project Identification

Here are some tips to lay the ground work for identifying potential green stormwater infrastructure projects in your neighborhood.


To initiate the project identification conversation, draw or develop a map of your neighborhood that identifies potential GSI sites. This can be as simple as walking around your neighborhood drawing out the blocks or can involve aerial photography or even GIS data. If you need assistance in mapping your neighborhood, you can contact the Community Planning Staff for your district.

  • Google Maps can be used to find aerial photographs of your neighborhood.
  • Review the Combined Sewer System Map to determine what portion of your neighborhood, if any, is included in the combined sewer system. PWD prioritizes project sites located within the Combined Sewer System.
  • Map out sites such as schools, parks, recreation centers, city-owned parking lots, vacant lots, community gardens, traffic triangles, public plazas and other city-owned land. Sections 2 and 3, Project Criteria and Project Types, will describe potential sites in more detail.
  • Use the address search function at the Office of Property Assessment to determine ownership of any sites of interest that are not clearly city-owned. With the exception of vacant lots (which can be private or publicly owned), only sites that are owned by either an agency of the City of Philadephia or the Philadelphia School District will be considered for GSI projects.
  • Use the Big Green Map to locate other planned and completed PWD projects in your neighborhood. These may offer ideas for future projects or partnership opportunities.

Community Outreach

  • Hold public meetings and focus group sessions to gather input from residents, community groups and other community stakeholders on potential greening opportunities.
  • To identify the civic organizations that serve your neighborhood, consult the City’s Community Organization Maps for your area.
  • If you need assistance in conducting community outreach, you can contact the Community Planning Staff for your district.

Neighborhood Priorities

  • Review any previous plans for your neighborhood that may contain recommendations for greening. Take note of plans for streetscaping, green space development, vacant lot rehabilitation and other related efforts that could be supported by a green infrastructure project.
  • A list of city-approved plans can be found here: Philadelphia Neighborhood Plans and Independent Community-Based Plans. Keep in mind that there may be other plans for your neighborhood that are not included in this list.
  • Gather recommendations for greening and GSI projects through the community outreach process.


  • If your neighborhood has funding sources for community improvements that it would like to leverage through a partnership with PWD on a green infrastructure project, make note of the amount of funding and any constraints or deadlines for use of that funding.
  • The best way to leverage funding via a PWD partnership is to identify as many potential GSI projects in the neighborhood as possible and rank them by importance via the Neighborhood-wide Submission form. PWD can then identify the projects with stormwater management opportunities and respond to the community to develop a collaborative project.

Identify Projects

  • Continue to Project Criteria, Project Types and Stormwater Analysis links (Steps 2, 3 and 4) to determine the types of sites in your neighborhood that are best suited for green infrastructure projects.

Continue to Step 2. Project Critera