Philadelphia, which defines green infrastructure as anything that captures the first inch of rainwater, has new street-greening standards. The goal is to remove 50% of impervious cover in 20 years. The inspiration for the program came in 2000 from a landscape architecture professor, Anne Spirn, now at MIT, who was at the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia. Spirn had ideas for the area’s renewal. “We put her in a van with civil engineers, went to a site, and she gave us a vision,” says Neukrug.
Planners also support the landscape architects’ comeback. They bring “very valuable skills to the team,” says Joe MacDonald, a senior associate with the American Planning Association.