On May 5th, the Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange announced the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in our GSI Trailblazers campaign, launched in March in partnership with The Atlas – an online community where over 3,000 city officials gather to connect and find the solutions and partners they need to solve their toughest problems. The campaign – a new Exchange awards initiative – seeks to spotlight trailblazing work by Exchange members regionally that pioneers innovative solutions in green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). In the first phase of the campaign, the focus was on innovative GSI projects and approaches that specifically center equity and inclusion. The case studies can be viewed on The Atlas portal or by clicking each of the links below. 

The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati was chosen as the 1st place winner! Cincinnati’s trailblazing case study, featuring their Lick Run Greenway project – an exceptional feat in planning & engineering that removes roughly 500 million gallons of stormwater per year from the combined sewer system – describes how South Fairmount (a low-income neighborhood) was deliberately selected for this project, how equity and community inclusion were placed centerstage throughout the project, and how that resulted in the highest level of community participation on any project to date. Read the case study here.

The City / County Association of Governments of San Mateo County was chosen as the 2nd place winner! San Mateo County’s trailblazing case study describes how their groundbreaking new Sustainable Streets Master Plan approaches integrating green into already existing transportation plans to more effectively manage stormwater runoff and reduce flooding plus improve water quality, while prioritization projects in areas where multiple environmentally or socially vulnerable community indicators overlap. Read the case study here.

The City of Vancouver was chosen as the 3rd place winner! Vancouver’s trailblazing case study showcases how their 63rd and Yukon GI Plaza provides amenities and rainwater management in a lower income neighborhood, while also integrating public art sculptures from 9 indigenous youth that support reconciliation and bring awareness to indigenous culture. Read the case study here

Case study submissions were reviewed and scored by the Exchange Communications Subcommittee around 5 key parameters, including: 1) innovative GSI approach, 2) centering equity, 3) clear, concrete, easy to replicate model, 4) valuable lessons learned and imparted, and 5) challenges and how to overcome them. The winning case studies will be highlighted on The Atlas and Exchange websites and through both partners’ social media channels. All winners will receive exquisite art-glass awards resembling raindrops. In addition, Cincinnati will receive a $500 donation to the local water management or community-based partner organization of their choosing.

Congratulations to the winners on their tremendous work and these well-deserved awards! 

Our heartfelt gratitude to our funders for their support of our mission, which makes our work possible.