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Greenways design and planning has been largely framed as a multi-functional, multi-objective approach to address socio-cultural and ecological concerns (Fabos,2004; Hough 2004, Steiner, 2002; Fabos, 1995, Ahern, 1995; Ndubisi, 1995; Forman,1995). Social well-being, identity and memory have been predominant socio-cultural concerns while biodiversity preservation and natural resources conservation have been key ecological concerns. These concerns have now been superseded by the more urgent concerns of sustainable development such as availability of energy resources, both food and fuel. Whether and how the design and practice of greenways meets these sustainable development challenges is the primary question raised through this paper.

The greenway design and planning practice is reviewed through academic papers, government proposals and greenway reports generated by relevant agencies. Physical design typology in reference to the given physical, socio-cultural, political and ecological contextual is studied, and a hypothetical compound network design typology explored through academic projects. The inquiry overarches the realms of landscape design, planning, sustainability and urbanism.

The paper, (a) outlines three predominant design typologies of greenways: connector design, containment design and composite network design, (b) advocates for composite network design typology of greenways for its scalar versatility enabling neighbourhood to city level applications, (c) illustrates the sustainable development outcomes related to socio-cultural, ecological and economic wellbeing as generated through green network design at neighbourhood scale, and, (d) articulates greenways as synergistic landscapes that create harmony amongst the urban system with broader biophysical system. Essentially, the paper calls for a renewed approach to greenways design and planning practice in order to start meeting sustainable development challenges more effectively and advocates for landscape synergism approach to design for sustainability and harmony.



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