Azavea’s Brown Bag Lunch program provides a unique monthly opportunity for Azavea staff to talk about projects they are pursuing inside/outside of work as well as hear from community leaders in the Greater Philadelphia region.
In his 2008 inaugural address, Mayor Michael Nutter set the ambitious goal of making Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015. The centerpiece of this effort is Greenworks Philadelphia, a framework for municipal sustainability that encompasses more than 160 achievable, measurable initiatives in the interest areas of energy, environment, equity, economy and civic engagement. Azavea’s Brown Bag Lunch speaker for July 2012 was Katherine Gajewski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, who is responsible for implementing Greenworks Philadelphia to make the city more energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and poised to compete in the emerging green economy. Ms. Grajewski provided an update on the status of Greenworks Philadelphia and how its diverse and multi-faceted approach makes it unique among urban greening plans.
While most major cities are focusing on a single issue, such as renewable energy or green jobs, Philadelphia is aggressively focused on five goal areas and fifteen inter-related targets. Under its energy goal, the City of Philadelphia has reduced municipal energy usage in both the public and private sectors through initiatives ranging from replacing 85,000 incandescent traffic signals with LED bulbs to expanding the residential weatherization efforts of EnergyWorks. Under its environment goal, the City is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality with efforts such as introducing hybrid and electric vehicles to city fleets and increasing local recycling. Under its equity goal, Philadelphia is delivering more equitable access to healthy neighborhoods through projects involving green stormwater infrastructure, expanded open space, and walkable access to new markets and gardens that provide healthier food choices. Under its economy goal, Philadelphia is creating a competitive advantage from sustainability through an increase in walking, biking and public transit, as well as developing new approaches to deal with climate change. And under its engagement goal, Philadelphia’s citizens are uniting to create a more sustainable future through their shared enthusiasm and commitment to making Philadelphia a better place to live, work and play. In fact, as the Greenworks Philadelphia implementation reaches the halfway point in its timeline, Ms. Gajewski reported that the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability has completed or started work on 89% of the Greenworks initiatives. They are also working to extend these efforts on a regional basis. To learn more about the goals and initiatives of Greenworks Philadelphia, check out the complete 2012 Progress Report at: http://www.phila.gov/green/PDFs/GW2012Report.pdf.
Azavea has been involved with several of the objectives outlined in the Greenworks initiative. We’re particularly proud of our work on the Philadelphia Water Department’s stormwater billing and green infrastructure work, as well as the PhillyTreeMap implementation of our OpenTreeMap tree data management platform.