how well do integrated landscape systems work as green stormwater infrastructure?


Landscape architects face increasing pressure to design high-performance landscapes in cities where regulatory requirements and underlying engineering models tend not to reflect the measurable capacity of green infrastructure within different contexts, particularly soil storage and evapotranspiration. Understanding how built green infrastructure performs is critical for informing new engineering models, advocating progressive regulations, and advancing sustainable landscape design.To help address this knowledge gap between science and policy, Andropogon and researchers at the University of Pennsylvania collaboratively pursued a three-year post-occupancy study at Shoemaker Green, a non-infiltrating, 2.75-acre urban park, designed as a high-performance college green. The team monitored runoff volume, water quality, soils, and vegetation to better understand the landscape’s performance and evaluated the long-term impacts of adaptive management. Findings reveal that the park has the potential to manage more than three times the stormwater that the engineering models predicted.

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The Shoemaker Green research study revealed that:

  1. This integrated green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) system can manage at least three times more stormwater runoff than the engineering models predicted, significantly reducing overflows to the combined sewer system.
  2. Irrigation system monitoring is critical in preventing cistern overflows to the storm sewer and for sustainable water management.
  3. Native floodplain species and un-compacted turf are stormwater workhorses.

Effective advocacy for GSI policy and implementation requires more field-tested research to determine which soils and plants have the potential to manage the most stormwater under a wide variety of conditions. This research can not only help advocate for more implementation of GSI systems, but also achieve goals such as net-zero water on a site though programs such as SITES and the Living Building Challenge.


  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Size: 2.75 acres
  • Role: Landscape Architect of Record
  • Services: Sustainable Site Design, Stormwater Management, Environmental Analysis, Construction Documentation and Observation, Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse



  • 2016 ASLA Honor Award in the Research Category from the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • 2014 ASLA Honor Award in the General Design Category from the American Society of Landscape Architects
  • 2014 Groundbreaker Award Finalist from the Delaware Valley Green Building Council
  • 2014 SCUP Merit Award for Excellence in Landscape Architecture-General Design from the Society for College and University Planning
  • 2013 Stormwater BMP Award from the Temple-Villanova Sustainable Stormwater Initiative