Greenway (landscape)

A greenway is "a strip of undeveloped land near an urban area, set aside for recreational use or environmental protection".[1] However, the term can in fact include "a scenic road"[2] and though many are in urban areas, there are some rural greenways, as for example the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, a hiking trail in southern New Hampshire.

A greenway is a trail (and sometimes a wildlife corridor) found in both urban and rural settings that is frequently created out of a disused railway, canal towpath, utility or similar right of way, or derelict industrial land. Rail trails are one of the most common forms of greenway, and they also resemble linear parks.

In Southern England, the term also refers to ancient trackways or green lanes, especially those found on chalk downlands, like the Ridgeway.[3]


The American author Charles Little in his 1990 book, Greenways for America,[4] defines a greenway as:

  • a linear open space established along either a natural corridor, such as a riverfront, stream valley or ridgeline, or overland along a railroad right-of-way converted to recreational use, a canal, scenic road or other route. It is a natural or landscaped course for pedestrian or bicycle passage; an open-space connector linking parks, nature reserves, cultural features, or historic sites with each other and with populated areas; locally certain strip or linear parks designated as parkway or greenbelt.[5]

The term greenway comes from the green in green belt and the way in parkway, implying a recreational or pedestrian use rather than a typical street corridor, as well as an emphasis on introducing or maintaining vegetation, in a location where such vegetation is otherwise lacking. Some greenways include community gardens as well as typical park-style landscaping of trees and shrubs. They also tend to have a mostly contiguous pathway. Greenways resemble linear parks, but the latter are only found in an urban and suburban environment.

Though wildlife corridors are also greenways, because they have conservation as their primary purpose, they are not necessarily managed as parks for recreational use, and may not include facilities such as public trails.

Tom Turner analyzed greenways in London looking for common patterns among successful examples. He was inspired by the pattern language technique of architect Christopher Alexander. Turner concluded there are seven types, or 'patterns', of greenway which he named: parkway, blueway, paveway, glazeway, skyway, ecoway and cycleway.[6]

The European Greenways Association defines it as "communication routes reserved exclusively for non-motorised journeys, developed in an integrated manner which enhances both the environment and quality of life of the surrounding area. These routes should meet satisfactory standards of width, gradient and surface condition to ensure that they are both user-friendly and low-risk for users of all abilities." (Lille Declaration, European Greenways Association, 12 September 2000).


Railway Platforms on Parkland Walk
Railway Platforms on Parkland Walk, North London, England

Charles Little describes five general types of greenways:[7]

  • Urban riverside (or other water body) greenways, usually created as part of (or instead of) a redevelopment program along neglected, often run-down, city waterfronts.
  • Recreational greenways, featuring paths and trails of various kinds, often relatively long distance, based on natural corridors as well as canals, abandoned rail beds, and public rights-of-way.
  • Ecologically significant natural corridors, usually along rivers and streams and less often ridgelines, to provide for wildlife migration and species interchange, nature study and hiking.
  • Scenic and Historic routes, usually along a road, highway or waterway, the most representative of them making an effort to provide pedestrian access along the route or at least places to alight from the car.
  • Comprehensive greenway systems or networks, usually based on natural landforms such as valleys or ridges but sometimes simply an opportunistic assemblage of greenways and open spaces of various kinds to create an alternative municipal or regional green infrastructure.

Greenways are vegetated, linear, and multi-purpose. They incorporate a footpath or bikeway within a linear park. In urban design, they are a component of planning for bicycle commuting and walkability.

Greenways are found in rural areas as well as urban. Corridors redeveloped as greenways often travel through both city and country, connecting them together. Even in rural areas greenways serve the purpose of providing residents access to open land managed as parks, as contrasted with land that is vegetated but inappropriate for public use, such as agricultural land. Where the historic rural road network has been enlarged and redesigned to favor highspeed automobile travel, greenways provide an alternative for people who are elderly, young, less mobile or seeking a reflective pace.[8][9]

Greenways are found almost globally. However, most examples are known to be in Europe and North America.


In Australia, a foreshoreway is a greenway that provides a public right-of-way along the edge of the sea, open to both walkers and cyclists.[10] Foreshoreways include oceanways,[11] and resemble promenades and boardwalks.

Foreshoreways are usually concerned with the idea of sustainable transport and the term is used to avoid the suggestion that the route favours either pedestrians (footpath) or cyclists (bikeway). A foreshoreway is accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists and gives them the opportunity to move unimpeded along the seashore. Dead end paths that offer public access only to the ocean are not part of a foreshoreway.

A foreshoreway corridor often includes a number of traffic routes that provide access along an oceanfront,[12] including:

A major example is The Gold Coast Oceanway along beaches in Gold Coast, Queensland, a shared use pedestrian and cyclist pathway on the Gold Coast, connecting the Point Danger lighthouse on the New South Wales and Queensland border to the Gold Coast Seaway. The network includes 36 kilometres (22 mi) of poor, medium and high quality pathways. Others include: The Chicago Lakefront Trail, the Dubai Marina, the East River Greenway, New Plymouth Coastal Walkway, and the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.

Public rights of way frequently exist on the foreshore of beaches throughout the world. In legal discussions the foreshore is often referred to as the wet-sand area (see Right of way for a fuller discussion).

Notable examples

United States



United Kingdom


New Zealand


See also


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of English
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Environmental Studies by William Ashworth and Charles E. Little. New York: Facts on File, c1991.
  3. ^ The Ridgeway Project Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Susquehanna Greenway
  5. ^ Tennessee Greenways and Trails: "What is a greenway".
  6. ^ Turner (1995)
  7. ^ Tennessee Greenways and Trails
  8. ^ Natural England
  9. ^ Loh et al.
  10. ^ Foreshoreways of Australia's Gold Coast
  11. ^ Foreshoreways of Australia's Gold Coast
  12. ^ Foreshoreways of Australia's Gold Coast
  13. ^ "Greenway Cooks River to Iron Cove". Inner West Council. 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  14. ^ American Trails: Pearl River Greenway, China


External links

Media related to Greenways at Wikimedia Commons

Bike path

A bike path is a bikeway separated from motorized traffic and dedicated to cycling or shared with pedestrians or other non-motorized users. In the US a bike path sometimes encompasses shared use paths, "multi-use path", or "Class III bikeway" is a paved path that has been designated for use by cyclists outside the right of way of a public road. It may or may not have a center divider or stripe to prevent head-on collisions. In the UK, a shared-use footway or multi-use path is for use by both cyclists and pedestrians.


Environmentalism or environmental rights is a broad philosophy, ideology, and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the impact of changes to the environment on humans, animals, plants and non-living matter. While environmentalism focuses more on the environmental and nature-related aspects of green ideology and politics, ecology combines the ideology of social ecology and environmentalism. Ecology is more commonly used in continental European languages while ‘environmentalism’ is more commonly used in English but the words have slightly different connotations.

Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment and critical earth system elements or processes such as the climate, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution or protect plant and animal diversity. For this reason, concepts such as a land ethic, environmental ethics, biodiversity, ecology, and the biophilia hypothesis figure predominantly.

At its crux, environmentalism is an attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend in such a way that all the components are accorded a proper degree of sustainability. The exact measures and outcomes of this balance is controversial and there are many different ways for environmental concerns to be expressed in practice. Environmentalism and environmental concerns are often represented by the colour green, but this association has been appropriated by the marketing industries for the tactic known as greenwashing.

Environmentalism is opposed by anti-environmentalism, which says that the Earth is less fragile than some environmentalists maintain, and portrays environmentalism as overreacting to the human contribution to climate change or opposing human advancement.

Green belt

A green belt or greenbelt is a policy and land use zone designation used in land use planning to retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighbouring urban areas. Similar concepts are greenways or green wedges which have a linear character and may run through an urban area instead of around it. In essence, a green belt is an invisible line designating a border around a certain area, preventing development of the area and allowing wildlife to return and be established.


Greenspace or green space may refer to:

Greenspace or open space reserve, protected areas of undeveloped landscape.

Urban open space, open space areas for "parks", "green spaces", and other open areas

Greenspace, the natural environment.

Greenbelt, a policy or land use designation used in land use planning.

Greenway (landscape), a linear greenspace running through an urban area.

Green infrastructure, a concept in land use planning

Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL), the environmental record centre for London

GreenSpace (video game)


Greenway or Greenways may refer to:

Greenway (landscape), a linear park focused on a trail or bike path

Another term for bicycle boulevards in some jurisdictions

Greenway footpath, London

The Greenway is a long footpath and bike freeway in London, mostly constructed on the embankment containing the Northern Outfall Sewer. It is similar to the Ridgeway in south London that covers the Southern Outfall Sewer.The western end of the Greenway is at Wick Lane in Fish Island but the Greenway actually continues a bit further north to Victoria Park, London alongside Wick Lane underpass on pavement under the East Cross Route in London Borough of Tower Hamlets and it crosses Stratford and West Ham. The eastern end is at Royal Docks Road in Beckton. It was known locally as Sewerbank before a full renovation in the mid-nineties. Work has taken place to resurface and renovate the route—especially around the Olympic Park.

The Capital Ring Walk (section 14) follows the Greenway for most of its distance.

The western half of the Greenway embankment is roughly at house eaves height giving a view over the surrounding flat area. Between Stratford High Street and Beckton the route is flat. There is a renewed tarmac surface along its full length, with grass kept short on either side and bushes/trees on the embankment sides. The tarmac area is the width of a narrow two way road allowing easy passing of pedestrians and cyclists, with approx the same width of grass on either side. The renovation of the Greenway with gates, ramps, stairs and signs is almost complete by end of 2017, after major water supply work by Thames Water along the western half.

A community group was set up in 2016 for Greenway users.In mid-2018, Transport for London designated the section of the Greenway between the A13 and A118 as Quietway 22.

Iron Horse State Park

Iron Horse State Park, part of the Washington State Park System, is a 1,612-acre (7 km2) state park located in the Cascade Mountains and Yakima River Valley, between Cedar Falls on the west and the Columbia River on the east.

The park is contiguous with a rail trail that crosses Snoqualmie Pass. The trail is located within the former right-of-way of The Milwaukee Road, officially the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Most of the right-of-way between Cedar Falls and the Idaho border was acquired by the state, through a quitclaim deed, as a result of the railroad's 1977 bankruptcy. As part of the reorganization of the company, the railroad embargoed its lines west of Miles City, Montana, in 1980 and ceased service in Washington. The state acquired the land in the early 1980s and eventually converted the right-of-way west of the Columbia River into a 110-mile (177 km) hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trail. The trail, known as the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail, continues beyond Iron Horse State Park to the Idaho border. Iron Horse State Park contains the most developed portion of the trail.

At Cedar Falls, the west end of Iron Horse State Park, the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail connects to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail of the King County Regional Trail System. The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is built on a portion of the former Milwaukee Road branch line from Cedar Falls to Everett.

Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center

The Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center (WNC)is an outdoor education facility with a focus on natural history. It is located in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, northern Washington County about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of St. Paul, Minnesota. Warner was the first private nature center in the state of Minnesota. With funding from the Warner Foundation, WNC is the only nature center in the state of Minnesota to still provide free on-site programming to schools.

Linear park

A linear park is a park in an urban or suburban setting that is substantially longer than it is wide. Some are rail trails ("rails to trails"), that are disused railroad beds converted to recreational use, while others use strips of public land next to canals, streams, extended defensive walls, electrical lines, highways and shorelines. They are also often described as greenways. In Australia, a linear park along the coast is known as a foreshoreway.

Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a foreshoreway for walking or cycling, 32 miles (51 km) long, around the island of Manhattan, in New York City. The largest portions are operated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. It is separated from motor traffic, and many sections also separate pedestrians from cyclists. There are three principal parts — the East, Harlem and Hudson River Greenways.

Open space

Open space may refer to:

In architecture, urban planning and conservation ethics:

Open plan, a generic term used in interior design for any floor plan, especially in workspaces, which makes use of large, open spaces and minimizes the use of small, enclosed rooms

Landscape, areas of land without human-built structures

Open space reserve, areas of protected or conserved land on which development is indefinitely set aside

Urban open space, urban areas of protected or conserved land on which development is indefinitely set aside

Greenway (landscape), a linear chain of open space reserves or a recreational corridor through the same

Public space, areas left open for the use of the public, such as a piazza, plaza, park, and courtyardIn business:

Open Space Technology, a procedure for conducting a business conferenceIn other uses:

Open Space (band), an indie rock band from Minsk, Belarus

Open Space (Italy), a faction within the Italian political party The People of Freedom

Open Space (TV programme), a BBC TV programme produced by their Community Programme Unit

Open Space (publications), a music publishing collective

Open Space Theatre, a defunct London theatre run by Charles Marowitz

Open space reserve

An open space reserve (also called open space preserve, open space reservation, and green space) is an area of protected or conserved land or water on which development is indefinitely set aside.

The purpose of an open space reserve may include the preservation or conservation of a community or region's rural natural or historic character; the conservation or preservation of a land or water area for the sake of recreational, ecological, environmental, aesthetic, or agricultural interests; or the management of a community or region's growth in terms of development, industry, or natural resources extraction. Open space reserves may be urban, suburban, or rural; they may be actual designated areas of land or water, or they may be zoning districts or overlays where development is limited or controlled to create undeveloped areas of land or water within a community or region. They may be publicly owned or owned by non-profit or private interests.

A certain amount of overlap occurs with similar planning and conservation terms. Protected areas are open space reserves in which certain resources indigenous to the landscape are protected as opposed to conserved. Urban open space specifically refers to open space reserves within an urban setting; such may include natural landscapes or manicured urban parkland. Greenways are linear open space reserves, linear corridors that span interconnected open space reserves, or linear chains of connected open space reserves. A green belt is a general area of open space surrounding an urban area. Green infrastructure is the total mass and viability of undeveloped, natural, and agricultural land and waterways, protected or not protected, within a particular community or region. Nature reserves and wildlife refuges are areas of open space set aside for the sake of protecting non-human species. National parks, state parks, and municipal parks, recreation areas, and reservations are types of open space reserves managed by government agencies for the primary purpose of passive or active human enjoyment. National forests, state forests, and municipal forests are types of open space reserves set aside for the primary purpose of forest conservation. Flood control projects and protected ecological research areas may also be considered open space reserves secondary to their primary purpose.

There is growing evidence that open space is unequally distributed based on race and class, particularly in the US state of California, leading to concerns regarding Open Space Accessibility in California and other areas.

Park system

A park system, also known as an open space system, is a network of green spaces that are connected by public walkways, bridleways or cycleways. The concept first emerged with the need to minimize fragmentation of natural environments and was referred to as "patch and corridor." In modern landscape architecture, the park system is collaborating with the idea of planning greenways, which run through urban and rural areas. These systems can serve the landscape through ecological, recreational, social, cultural, and healthful measures, and are designed with intentions of sustainability.One of the earliest park systems, in London, came into existence by chance. As London expanded around former royal parks in the nineteenth century, St. James's Park, Green Park and Hyde Park became part of the urban area. This arrangement was admired in France and adopted for the nineteenth century re-planning of Paris by Baron Haussmann. It was also admired by Frederick Law Olmsted and used to create the famous Emerald Necklace in Boston. Another example is Ebenezer Howard's Adirondack Park concept. These green networks were part of the nineteenth century Garden City Movement.In 1927, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission was formed to plan and acquire parklands along stream valley corridors in the then-rural northern and eastern suburbs of Washington, D.C. Over 33,000 acres (130 km²) are now protected in the Montgomery County, Maryland portion and provide welcome green space in this urbanized region. A major proposal for a park system was included in Patrick Abercrombie's 1943-4 County of London Plan.

The largest continuous urban parks system in North America is the North Saskatchewan River valley parks system in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which is 7,400 ha (18,000 acres) in size and 48 km (30 mi) in length, and also includes 22 ravines, which have a combined total length of 103 km (64 mi). The largest urban parks system in Australia is the Western Sydney Parklands, which is 5,280 ha (13,000 acres) in size and 27 km (17 mi) in length.

Rail trail

A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway track into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding and snowmobiling. The characteristics of abandoned railways—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various developments. The term sometimes also covers trails running alongside working railways; these are called "rails with trails". Some shared trails are segregated, with the segregation achieved with or without separation. Many rail trails are long-distance trails.

A rail trail may still include rails, such as light rail or streetcar. By virtue of their characteristic shape (long and flat), some shorter rail trails are known as greenways and linear parks.

Shared use path

A shared-use path or mixed-use path is a form of infrastructure that supports multiple recreation and transportation opportunities, such as walking, bicycling, inline skating and people in wheelchairs. Motorcycles and mopeds are normally prohibited. A shared-use path typically has a surface that is asphalt, concrete or firmly packed crushed aggregate. In the U.S., the 1999 AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities defines a shared-use path as being physically separated from motor vehicular traffic with an open space or barrier. Shared-use paths differ from exclusive bikeways in that shared-use paths are designed to include pedestrians even if the primary anticipated users are cyclists. Some shared paths have been built as rail trails.

Shared-use paths sometimes provide different lanes for users who travel at different speeds to prevent conflicts between user groups on high-use trails.

South East London Green Chain

The South East London Green Chain, also known as the Green Chain Walk, is a linked system of open spaces between the River Thames and Crystal Palace Park in London, England. In 1977 four London boroughs and the Greater London Council created this Green Chain of 300 open spaces to protect them from building activity. The four London boroughs are Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich. More recently it has been extended to include sections in Southwark. Many parts of the system are also part of the Capital Ring route.

The system begins at three places on the River Thames: Thames Barrier, Thamesmead, and the riverside at Erith. There are various circular walks along the route, and there is an offshoot from the main route to Chislehurst; and the next section reaches Crystal Palace via Bromley.

From there it goes north with branches to Dulwich and Nunhead.

The major open spaces in the Chain are:

Lesnes Abbey

Bostall Heath and Woods

Parks in Charlton including Maryon Park, Maryon Wilson Park and Charlton Park

Woolwich Common

Plumstead Common

Shooters Hill area, including Oxleas Wood and several other woods and open spaces

Eltham Park and Common

Eltham Palace

Avery Hill Park

Chinbrook Meadows

Elmstead Wood

Parks around Beckenham, including Beckenham Place Park

Parks around Bromley including Sundridge Park and Chislehurst Common

Crystal Palace ParkThe complete list and the routes are to be found at


Sustrans is a UK sustainable transport charity.

Its flagship project is the National Cycle Network, which has created over 16,575 mi of signed cycle routes throughout the UK, but about 70% of the network is on previously existing, mostly minor roads, in which motor traffic will be encountered.Sustrans works with schools to encourage active travel (cycling, walking or scooting) among students. It also works with employers and local authorities. It administers several thousand volunteers who contribute their time to the charity in numerous ways, such as cleaning and maintaining the National Cycle Network, enhancing biodiversity along the routes, leading walks and rides and supporting communities to improve their air quality.

Urban open space

In land use planning, urban open space is open space areas for "parks," "green spaces," and other open areas. The landscape of urban open spaces can range from playing fields to highly maintained environments to relatively natural landscapes. Generally considered open to the public, urban open spaces are sometimes privately owned, such as higher education campuses, neighborhood/community parks/gardens, and institutional or corporate grounds. Areas outside city boundaries, such as state and national parks as well as open space in the countryside, are not considered urban open space. Streets, piazzas, plazas and urban squares are not always defined as urban open space in land use planning.

Urban park

An urban park or metropolitan park, also known as a municipal park (North America) or a public park, public open space, or municipal gardens (UK), is a park in cities and other incorporated places to offer recreation and green space to residents of, and visitors to, the municipality. The design, operation and maintenance is usually done by government agencies, typically on the local level, but may occasionally be contracted out to a park conservancy, friends of group, or private sector company.

Common features of municipal parks include playgrounds, gardens, hiking, running and fitness trails or paths, bridle paths, sports fields and courts, public restrooms, boat ramps, and/or picnic facilities, depending on the budget and natural features available. Park advocates claim that having parks near urban residents, including within a 10-minute walk, provide multiple benefits.

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