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Here's to acting locally: small changes to stormwater basin features make for big benefits downstream.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) works tirelessly with a number of partners to advocate for more sustainable urban stormwater solutions in southeastern PA, and they have the research and successful pilot projects to prove it. One such area of their work in renovating "grey" infrastructure is stormwater detention basins. Have you ever see those big, rectangular grass basins with unusual hunks of concrete on either end, typically found near a big campus or just beyond the horizon of parking lot at your local big box development? Those are stormwater detention basins. They are designed to quickly collect runoff and channel it into a nearby stream. This polluted, fast-moving water can cause significant damage to our waterways. Furthermore, these basin designs can be expensive and even dangerous to maintain.

PEC collaborates with municipal, engineering, corporate and nonprofit partners to demonstrate how to reduce the financial, design and permitting barriers to retrofitting stormwater detention basins. But telling this story—and proving the value of such retrofits—to such a diverse group of stakeholders is a real challenge. I worked with PEC to develop a number of products, including an interactive infographic, a retrofit guide, a logo specific to their stormwater work and a style guide to ensure consistent graphic treatment to all related visuals. These products emphasize not only the mechanics of a retrofitted basin, but the benefits, too.

Check out the site at www.stormwaterpa.org!

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In college, I studied industrial design at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, for its aspirations to create beautifully useful things and for its focus on how a good design process leads to a better solution.

I’ve worked at Margie Ruddick Landscape, a boutique landscape design office with top-notch ambition. I learned about reading landscapes, thinking spatially and designing for the ecologies of a place. I worked on projects like eco-resorts in India, vast urban waterfronts in New York City and sustainability guidelines. Studying an environment’s peculiarities—its ecology, economy, culture and ambition—taught me new ways to be a better designer.

I’ve also worked at Wallace, Roberts and Todd, LLC (WRT), where I discovered ways to integrate visual communication with planning and landscape strategies. My capabilities grew to include environmental and ethnographic research, program development, mapping and visualizations, site design, communications design and management on projects ranging from national parks to green stormwater infrastructure design. I became the first art director within the planning and urban design practice, driving the communication of complex design and planning issues from the beginning of a project through to its final documentation. My approach helped to facilitate many nationally recognized projects, and ultimately, I helped to build the planning practice to include place-branding strategies and innovative methods that broke through the traditional boundaries of planning. In 2008, I became an Associate and built the visual communications practice to include fulltime graphic design staff.

I have had an ongoing role within the industrial design program at the University of the Arts as a guest critic and lecturer, and also as an adjunct professor of two-dimensional design techniques.

In 2010, I launched my independent communications design practice, and I continue to work with pioneers in planning and design to communicate their issues and ideas.

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Get in touch! Email me at andee@andeemazzocco.com or call me at (215) 880-4406.

© 2016 Andee Mazzocco, Whole-Brained Design, LLC. Website by Andee Mazzocco with a little help from her friends.