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Can greenways perform as a new planning strategy in the Pearl River Delta, China?

Liu, Zheng, Lin, Yanliu, De Meulder, Bruno, Wang, Shifu
Landscape and urban planning 2019 v.187 pp. 81-95
decision making, empirical research, green infrastructure, landscapes, leadership, participation (behavior), planning, public services and goods, river deltas, rivers, rural areas, stakeholders, tourists, transportation, urban areas, urbanization, walking, China
The modern greenway movement in China originated in 2010 when Guangdong Provincial Government launched the Pearl River Delta greenway network. The PRD greenway planning has strategic objectives that respond to issues associated with urbanization in the region. This article presents a conceptual framework that explains the potential impact of several key factors in the planning context on the strategic uses of greenways. The framework is then applied to empirical research carried out in the PRD. The results show that greenway planning is a feasible strategy to promote rural economic development by attracting tourists and promoting the development of service sectors. In general, the PRD greenways function as a social strategy: they create new recreational spaces and provide public goods and facilities in both urban and rural areas. However, the results also show that many greenways lack landscape and ecological strategies and become primarily a transportation strategy that defines space for walking and cycling routes in urban areas. The emerging transportation-led greenways reflect the inconsistency of planning goals and outcomes, which is a compromise to both the centralized administrative system and the inadequacy of greenway resources. This article concludes that although strong leadership is necessary in greenway development, insufficient social participation can undermine the achievement of the goals and priorities of the greenway plan, particularly the ecological goals and functions. How to engage local agencies, interested groups, and affected stakeholders in the planning and decision-making process has become a big challenge for greenway planning in the PRD greenways.