Camden SMART Initiative

Group building a rain garden, Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenger Winner logo

NEWS UPDATE: Camden is a Tier 2 Runner-Up of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge.

Recognition: The Camden SMART Initiative has enabled the community to institute creative solutions in green infrastructure, addressing hazardous urban flooding from extreme rainfall events and bringing attention to environmental justice.    

“Brimm Medical Arts High School loves the rain garden constructed for the school by the Camden SMART Partners. The garden beautifies the exterior of the school, provides an educational context for students to learn about the impact and solutions to combined sewer overflows, and helps Camden tackle its fight against stormwater.” - Dr. Steven Fine, Teacher, Brimm Medical Arts High School

Location: Camden, New Jersey, population 76,119

The Problem: As a result of Camden’s overtaxed combined sewer system, a one-inch rainstorm can leave major roads impassable, turning parking lots into stagnant lakes and sending sewage into parks, homes and waterways.

Group plants a rain garden

Woman teaching group of children Children pose for picture with a bee mascot

Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Approach: The SMART Initiative will reduce the number of sewer overflows to improve water quality in waterways and green infrastructure. The SMART Initiative already works to capture, treat and filter over 61 million gallons of stormwater annually that would otherwise end up in the sewer system, but is working to further identify community problems. Through a variety of new mobile apps, community meetings, social media and other efforts, the Camden SMART Initiative Reengagement Process Project will directly engage with city residents identify flooding areas. Midway through the Challenge, Camden was awarded the Spotlight Award. Learn more about the interim award. 

HC50 Learning Network

HealthyCommunity50 finalists can log into the Learning Network to join discussions, connect with fellow finalists, get inspiration and cheer each other on!