Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Cliveden Park


Tags: bioswale, grading, infiltration, management, park, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, stormwater, swale, topography, water

This Philadelphia park renovation demonstrates minimally invasive techniques for stormwater management through topographic manipulation.

Cliveden Park is a demonstration project for stormwater management, implemented by the Philadelphia Water Department in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, Friends of Cliveden Park, and Bank of America.  The park is located at the intersection of Chew and Johnson Avenues in Mount Airy.  The design's premise is the capture and detention of stormwater via topographical manipulations, a combined rain garden and bioswale.  Where possible, the team used the park's natural contours, including an overall downhill slope from one end of the park to the other, to capture street runoff and slow the flow of water into the combined sewer system.  As rainwater is channeled into the park, a series of small wetland depressions hold the water in sufficient volume and for long enough to effect filtration and evapotranspiration as the water flows slowly down the terraced site.  The overall effect is a gently terraced series of basins or swales.  Not only does less water enter the combined sewer at once during storm events, but the entering water is of better quality than most street runoff, thanks to the cleaning action of the park.  Cliveden Park demonstrates how minimally invasive renovations can dramatically improve the stormwater volume control of an urban social space, combining environmental and community benefits in a single site.


Philadelphia Water Department Office of Watersheds

Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc.

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