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Greening Greenfield Elementary


VLS partnered with SMP Architects, Meliora Environmental Design and the Greening of Greenfield Committee to develop a didactic schoolyard for the students, teacher and neighbors of the Greenfield School in Center City Philadelphia. This project is particularly important for the City of Philadelphia because it returns open space to Penns Green Country Towne, manages small storm events and returns water to the soil mantle. Equally significant, the project transforms the site into a living laboratory that teaches children about microclimates and other aspects of the natural environment.

VLS used their team building expertise to run charettes with participants like committee members, school children, teachers, parents, the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Horticultural Society and the Philadelphia School District. The result is a plan that is fully supported by the constituents.

Phase 1 consists of a bioswale with check dams to slow run-off, allow absorption and a lush variety of native plants. The landscape evapotranspires stormwater, provides shade, and creates a mini native Pennsylvania forest ecosystem. Other components of Phase 1 include new climbing play equipment, porous pavers, recycled materials for the check dams and benches, and a gardening area. Phase 2 collects stormwater through a porous rubber play surface with a series of mounds for play. Infiltrated stormwater collects in a planted bed and infiltrates or evapotranspires. Phase 1 was completed September 2009 and Phase 2 was completed during the summer of 2010.

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