Greenworks Philadelphia

Greenworks Philadelphia was launched by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2009, and serves as the City of Philadelphia’s first comprehensive sustainability plan. The ambitious plan set out to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015. A 2015 update on progress within this report can be found here

Greenworks Philadelphia addresses sustainability through five lenses - Energy, Environment, Equity, Economy and Engagement. For each, an overarching goal was set, with measurable targets then laid out and specific initiatives designed and described to help Philadelphia reach the targets by 2015. The plan considers sustainability through the five overarching goals; 15 measurable targets; and more than 160 initiatives.

Target 8 of the Plan focuses on the use of green infrastructure strategies (primarily strategies using natural landscapes) to manage stormwater and reduce flood impacts.




The equity section of the plan describes efforts to use green infrastructure to better manage stormwater, noting that this will offer indirect benefits that can address equity concerns. This green approach will provide access to open space, reduce heat, lower energy costs, improve air quality, and provide green jobs. As part of this initiative, the plan explains that it will target vacant land and prioritize new green space creation within low-served neighborhoods. The ultimate goal is to provide park and recreation resources within a 10-minute walk of 75% of residents. 


The 2015 Progress Report describes the City's expanded equity focus since the launch of Greenworks Philadelphia. See that report here

"Philadelphia can manage its stormwater while creating healthier neighborhoods by planting thousands of new street trees; increasing the amount of green and open space; using pervious pavement on parking lots and playgrounds; building green roofs; and distributing rainwater collection barrels to homeowners."

In further consideration of climate impacts, Target 13 sets out to “increase the state of good repair in resilient infrastructure” for 70 percent of the City’s infrastructure by 2015. The plan also acknowledges that “steps must also be taken now to begin to adapt infrastructure to certain climate changes caused by global warming.”

Other strategies address reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, greening neighborhoods and making them more walkable, and increasing the urban canopy by 30%. 

Over six years of implementation, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability has collected the best available data on all Greenworks targets. Most but not all annual data are complete within six to 12 months after the end of a given year, and made available in annual progress reports.

Greenworks Philadelphia builds upon Philadelphia’s 2007 Local Action Plan for Climate Change, which was produced by the Sustainability Working Group, a task force of municipal employees. The Local Action Plan outlined a series of steps that the City of Philadelphia government should take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2010. Many of these efforts are already underway and described in Greenworks Philadelphia.

In Mayor Nutter's January 2008 inaugural address, he pledged to make Philadelphia the number one green city in America. To make good on his pledge, he created the Mayor's Office of Sustainability. The Office spent a year researching municipal sustainability, talking with residents, and drafting Greenworks Philadelphia.


Publication Date: 2009

Related Organizations:

  • City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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  • Plans (other)

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