ReTHINK the Refinery: 2100

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Alyssa Hannigan, Taylor Sidney Buckingham

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The former Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refinery is a 1,300-acre property situated along the Schuylkill River in southwest Philadelphia. The property is currently inundated during the 1% Annual Chance Flood. Sea level rise scenarios vary, but by 2100 nearly all models including NOAA, FEMA and local agencies agree, sea level rise will increase the current extent of the Base Flood Elevation. This project provides a design framework for how ecological restoration fosters resilient land development in a flooded future. It envisions a symbiotic landscape where the river can flood, native plant communities buffer flood impacts, and people tend to the urban landscape so it can reach maximum resiliency and respond to the river community it protects. Site inventory and analysis combined with historic cultural and ecological research inform the site’s conceptual design. The single largest limiting factor identified is sea level rise; half of the site will be underwater in the future. Plant communities are more suitable than static architecture in projected flood zones. As water levels vary now and into the future, a restored ecosystem will move with the water, regenerating and offering the much-needed ecosystem services such as flood attenuation, providing cleaner water and air, carbon sequestration, stormwater filtration, habitat value, and more. ReTHINK the Refinery: 2100 envisions a landscape where land development is designed in balance with human and ecological communities. Forward-thinking planning and design at this site create a resilient landscape that acknowledges and responds to a changing future that benefits the community, economy, and ecology.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program