The Office of Sustainability (OOS) and the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS) are leading the coordination to align City, State, and Federal efforts to improve community well-being in Eastwick. These efforts are informed by Eastwick’s history, present context, and residents’ vision for a resilient future.
The goals of this initiative are to:
- Create a shared understanding of the issues that impact Eastwick residents
- Engage and empower Eastwick’s community in the decision-making process
- Align ongoing City, State and Federal efforts in the neighborhood to deliver a “Whole of Government” approach
- Co-develop actions that are guided and informed by the lived experience of flood survivors to build a resilient future
- Increase communication between Eastwick residents and City government for a more transparent process
- Reduce the impact flooding has on the lives, property, and well-being of Eastwick residents
Eastwick is an environmental justice community due to its location near numerous environmental burdens including a federally designated Superfund site (Clearview Landfill), the largest oil refinery on the Eastern Seaboard (now shuttered), and noise and air pollution from major highways (I-95 and I-76) and the Philadelphia International Airport. The most significant environmental challenge in Eastwick is flooding; Eastwick is one of the lowest lying areas in Philadelphia and has historically experienced severe riverine flooding. The Cobbs and Darby Creeks converge in Eastwick, carrying fast, forceful water from upstream. Tides bring water from the coast, causing water levels to rise in the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, as well as in Darby Creek. Water can be trapped in the area with nowhere to go, and this condition will only worsen with sea level rise.
To address the legacy of environmental injustices and challenges worsened by climate change, OOS is working closely with community organizations and agency partners to co-develop a climate resilience strategy in Eastwick. To achieve this goal, we aim to:
- Strengthen partnership and collaboration
- Create a shared understanding of the issues
- Co-develop actions that build a resilient future
- Deliver and sustain transformation initiatives
Several flood resilience measures have been proposed and studied already, yet no comprehensive vision or plan for flood resilience has been developed. Due to the complexity of flooding in Eastwick, reducing the impact of flooding will need a multi-pronged solution and must also allow the community to stay whole. OOS plans to submit an application to FEMA for federal funding to develop an integrated and comprehensive flood resilience strategy, building on studies already completed or underway by our agency and institutional partners, and aligning with the future vision of Eastwick community leaders and residents.
This initiative is funded by the City of Philadelphia’s Operations Transformation Fund among other sources of funding.