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Eastern Pioneer Valley Greenway/Greenspace Planning: The Applications of Geographic Information Systems to the Regional Greenway/Greenspace Planning Process

The public agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) have made major stride in acquiring, planning and managing of valuable public lands in Eastern Pioneer Valley Region. The nine communities of the region have recognized that they need to coordinate and perhaps integrate their efforts to increase mutual benefits from such integration. Indeed, these towns are poised to create a unique greenway network which could maximize nature protection, outdoor recreation and historic preservation. The purpose of the study is to integrate each town's effort to create the Eastern Pioneer Valley Region greenway/greenspace system or network that links the nine communities, protects the vital natural and cultural resources and permits recreational uses. The focus of the study is on the Eastern Pioneer Valley Region greenway/greenspace vision plan using geographic information system (GIS) technology. A four step framework model for regional greenway/greenspace planning is designed and used in the study. Each step is described as procedure(s). This model is thought to be a comprehensive greenway/greenspace planning approach. The framework model and its procedures are proposed to guide the process of Eastern Pioneer Valley Region greenway/greenspace planning. This framework model also outlines the information needed to be developed into the GIS database of study area. The Eastern Pioneer Valley Region greenway/greenspace system is planned and envisioned under the guidance of the framework model and its procedures through the applications of GIS technology. The areas of 66,026 acres or 42% of the region are planned as greenways/greenspaces. The Eastern Pioneer Valley Region greenways/greenspaces system is envisioned as a living network consisting of nine primary and hundreds of secondary greenways and sixty five square miles of greenspaces. They serve to protect the Eastern Pioneer Valley Region's vital resources and provide people with access to nature. The study provides the public agencies and NGO's of the region with a method of regional greenway/greenspace planning and the results of the application of the method to improve and aid their decision-making on greenway/greenspace issues. This study also illustrates that the powerful GIS technology can help and improve the process of regional greenway/greenspace planning while demonstrating the usefulness of GISs for regional greenway/greenspace planning.
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