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"Greenways are networks of land that are planned, designed and managed for multiple purposes including ecological, recreational, cultural, aesthetic, or other purposes compatible with the concept of sustainable land use." (Ahern, 1996) The term greenway comes from the "green" in greenbelt 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. Some greenways tend to have a contiguous pathway, allowing urban commuting via bicycle or foot. Greenways are seen as a critical part of urban green infrastructure and as a positive way to conceptualize green space planning. The aim is to increase the quality of natural capital rather than concentrate solely on the quantity of natural capital. Greenway planning represents the coming together of various interests. It is not seen just as a way of providing an improved green structure for the landscape, but also as a mechanism for more informed decision-making and more ‘joined-up’ thinking in relation to urban and regional environmental planning.

The history of greenway planning in Iran goes back to year 1600 A.C. Sheikh Bahaie, the architect and the urban planner of Isfahan in the 17th century used the Zayanderud River as the main structure of the greenway system and used the Madies as the greenway network in the city. Madies were manmade streams that they have been set apart from Zayanderud River. This kind of greenway planning in Isfahan was a crucial decision to transform the city from an arid region into a green city. Nowadays the development and planning of the cities are far from the application of greenway planning model. Tehran, the capital city of Iran, is the largest and the most populated city in the Middle East. Today, Tehran has the lack of green open spaces and the greenways could be a great response for this problem. This paper studies the greenway planning for Tehran and considers the greenways as the main green structure of the city. Greenway planning in Tehran is an exceptional opportunity to fulfill both ecological and recreational needs, while enhancing the green open spaces in the city. More specifically the goals are:

⎯ Connectivity in urban green structure with an easy access from different parts of the city

⎯ Penetration of green spaces into the urban context

⎯ Connect green areas to present a strategic whole that is greater than the sum of the parts

⎯ Improve the quality of green areas to better serve local needs



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