In urban areas, stormwater runoff usually carries surface pollution that—without strategic green infrastructure—strains sewers and flows into streams and rivers. Many of our plans promote elements such as rain gardens, so that vegetation can trap and filter stormwater onsite. Incorporating sustainable elements within schoolyards can empower students to play a part in shaping their city’s future—one with clean, attractive waterways and a safe, affordable water supply.
In Philadelphia, schools can receive funding as part of the Green City, Clean Waters initiative by the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD). This strategic 25-year plan supports green infrastructure to manage stormwater in a more natural way and reduces impacts on the sewer system and waterways.
The images below show designs for several schools that promote green approaches to stormwater management.
Bioswales and rain gardens: The plan for McCall School uses a “bioswale” area and a rain garden to capture water that runs off paved, impervious surfaces.
Porous paving: This cross-section of the yard and parking lot at Meredith School shows how porous asphalt and a layer of compacted stone would allow rainwater to seep into the soil below.
Rain barrels: The plan for Stanton School shows this inexpensive, easy-to-install way to manage stormwater on the playground—a basic environmental lesson that kids can replicate at home.
When planning and designing a schoolyard that will manage stormwater, consider these elements: