Zollhallen Plaza is new counterpart for the historic customs hall which was restored in 2009. The plaza is a fine example of water sensitive urban design, as it is disconnected from the sewer system. Beautiful planters provide infiltration points, and subsurface gravel trenches with innovative in-built filter medium reduce the hydraulic overload on the sewer system.
A prevalent problem facing cities and regions is inadequate stormwater infrastructure. Sixteen billion gallons of raw sewage get dumped into Philadelphia’s rivers and streams each year after rain events. Because wet-weather flow is a dispersed problem, it has become increasingly clear that it requires a dispersed solution. Consequently, cities have started to explore alternatives for stormwater capture and treatment that are decentralized and incremental, rather than a system-wide upgrade. Individual lots in aggregate can have a significant impact on water quality. With funds being directed towards infrastructure rather than recreational or public space per se, we must explore creative ways to use infrastructural improvements as open space amenities.