EPA Green Infrastructure Design Challenge

Philadelphia University image: Jules Bruck
Philadelphia University
image: Jules Bruck

Now that summer has officially ended for most academics (although you wouldn’t be able to tell from the thermometer outside my office here in Delaware), many folks are busy running design studios for various courses. I was all set to run a studio using a community redevelopment project I have been working on when a colleague who works for a state department emailed an interesting design challenge that piqued my interest – and I hope it comes as news to some of you. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its fifth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge offering a green infrastructure challenge for colleges and universities.

According to the EPA Challenge website, “Student teams design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus that effectively manages stormwater runoff while benefiting the campus community and the environment.” There are two design categories – Master Plan and Demonstration Project, and this year teams will be asked to incorporate climate resiliency and consider community engagement in stormwater management designs.

The challenge is comprehensive and requires both interdisciplinary teams as well as coordination with the college or university’s facilities planning department as a way to ensure feasibility. Submissions will be judged based on documentation, performance, resiliency, innovation and value to campus, interdisciplinary collaboration, likelihood of implementation, and community engagement; and the criteria are quite specific, allowing educators the benefit of a built-in rubric. Maintenance is even a criterion for the demonstration project, but not the Master Plan project.

Registration is open September 1-30 with final entries due December 16, 2016. I am still waiting to hear from my campus facilities department to determine if it is feasible for the University of Delaware to participate with actual submissions this year, but either way I intend on using the criteria for the challenge I give my studio course this year.

by Jules Bruck, ASLA, Education & Practice PPN Co-Chair

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