Enabling Citizens and Owners to Invest in Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia

EPA Grant Number: R835554
Title: Enabling Citizens and Owners to Invest in Green Infrastructure in Philadelphia
Investigators: Hsu, David H. , Landis, John
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Current Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology , University of Pennsylvania
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: November 1, 2013 through October 31, 2015 (Extended to October 31, 2017)
Project Amount: $1,000,000
RFA: Performance and Effectiveness of Green Infrastructure Stormwater Management Approaches in the Urban Context: A Philadelphia Case Study (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Watersheds , Water


The overall environmental goals of the City of Philadelphia, as expressed in the Philadelphia Water Department’s Long Term Control Plan (PWD, LTCP) will require many citizens and owners to invest in green infrastructure (GI). This project will develop a comprehensive understanding of their motivation to invest in GI by analyzing existing policies in Philadelphia and other cities, and identifying obstacles to investment in GI. This project will also develop new tools, policies, and processes that could enable actors at all levels, including citizens, neighborhoods, institutions, and PWD, to overcome these obstacles to investment, in order to achieve the LTCP’s ambitious goals. At its conclusion, this project will seek to provide actionable policy analyses and usable tools that the City of Philadelphia could subsequently then choose to test and/or deploy in the future. These tools, policies, and processes for promoting GI will also be transferable to other cities that are seeking to improve their stormwater management.


This project combines qualitative and quantitative policy analysis, as well as learning by doing through making and designing new tools. First, a comparative assessment will be conducted to analyze how GI policies have been implemented in other cities, and to identify theoretical barriers to investment from other similar problems in environmental economics. This assessment, and implementation of GI policies in the Philadelphia region to date, will be reviewed with local experts. Second, quantitative decision models will be developed in order to predict the willingness of residents, property owners, and investors to invest in GI on private land. Third, the insights from the comparative assessment and quantitative modeling will be used to develop tools that enable the full range of system actors (e.g. parcel owners, community development corporations, engineering firms, policymaking and regulatory agencies) to invest in GI, by identifying potential projects, enabling the actors to find and work with others, and by providing better information about the value of GI investment.

Expected Results:

The quantitative policy analysis will produce analytical models and maps that can be used to shape the market for GI investment, target public subsidies and private investment, and achieve the environmental and hydrological goals of the stormwater system. The qualitative policy analysis will provide a better understanding of how well policies to promote the installation of GI are working in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Combining the quantitative and qualitative analyses will enable prediction, simulation, and forecasting for the effects of new policies and processes to overcome barriers to GI investment in Philadelphia. Finally, developing new web-based tools for collective action will engage and educate many different stakeholders, provide tools for community engagement efforts, enable better functioning markets in order to spur investment in GI.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 5 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, integrated assessment, sustainable development, decision making, community-based, PA, EPA Region 3

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • Final Report