The Landscape Guide

Colour Plans, Green Belts, Green Towns, Greenways, Minerals, Public Open Space, Sustainability, Urban Design, Village Envelopes



The international greenways movement  should be supported (see article on greenways). Greenways should be planned in both urban and rural areas.. Greenways have recreational, ecological and aesthetic roles. In an earlier age, it was appropriate to plan public parks where industrial workers could rest in green surroundings after a week of strenuous labour. In our own times, when a majority of the population have sedentary jobs and private gardens, the primary open space demand is for exercise in pleasant surroundings. Greenways can assist with:

The reclamation of urban rivers and streams, many of which have been channelised and treated as ‘surface water sewers’.

The planning and design of urban walkway networks and safe routes to school.

The creation of cycleway networks, supporting sustainable transport initiatives.

The establishment of biological corridors in town and country.

The linkage of public parks to improve accessibility and create long distance routes for walkers and joggers.

The enhancement of public access to the countryside.


The ‘greenway’ idea developed in America in the 1960s, with the term formed by joining the ‘green’ from green belt to the ‘way’ from parkway. Greenways link the environmental objectives of green belts to the recreational objectives of parkways. A greenway can be defined as ‘a route which is good from an environmental point of view’.

In 1996, the international greenways movement can be said to have come of age with the publication, by Elsevier, of: Greenways: the beginning of an international movement. The book contains 26 papers of which the editors, Fabos and Ahern, state:

The purpose of the book is to present a broad range of original international research and case studies engaging: the origins of the international greenway movement, greenway planning, and perceptions and implementation of greenways. The book is the first international publication on the subject of Greenways, which is seen by the editors as the beginning of an unprecedented international movement involving: landscape architects/planners, geographers, ecologists, scientists, decision makers, and land managers.

Greenways provide a focus for landscape planning initiatives. Under the umbrella of the statutory planning system, they can bring together professional expertise, community enterprise and imaginative fund-raising. Proposals for new greenways should be:

  • Incorporated in Local Plans.
  • Explained in Supplementary Guidance Notes and used as a policy framework for development control.
  • Used as the subject for lottery bids and other fund-raising activities.
  • Instigated by community groups and conservation volunteers.

Greenways as a major opportunity to use public-private partnerships for improving the planning of urban and rural areas. It is, of course, important to conserve what is good about the existing environment. But is also essential to launch greenway initiatives which will result in improvements to the landscape. Landscape architects have a key role in greenway planning.