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Greenways are linear open spaces and networks of lands that are planned, designed and managed for ecological, scenic, recreational and cultural purposes (Little, 1990; Ahern, 1995; Fabos, 1995; Erickson, 2004; Jongman & Pungetti, 2004). Greenways are commonly structured by natural or humanmade features such as rivers, ridgelines, railroads, canals or roads (Erickson, 2004). In the international greenway movement, greenways no longer had only a beautification and recreational function, but expanded to multiple objectives, such as habitat protection, flood hazard reduction, water quality improvement, historical preservation, education and interpretation (Searns, 1995; Tan, 2006). Moreover, the concept of greenways shows high compatibility with diverse forms, which is “a route which is good from an environmental point of view” (Turner, 1998).

In China, the modern greenway movement started in 2010, when Guangdong Provincial Government initiated a three-year political campaign to construct the Pearl River Delta (PRD) Greenway Network. In 2014, the PRD greenways had a total length of 8,909 kilometers, connecting all 46 districts/counties in the PRD metropolitan region. The PRD Greenway Network has been assumed to be a feasible and low-cost approach to tackling with Chinese urbanism issues. Consequently, it is becoming an influential model for the greenway development at the national scale. Eleven provinces in China have recently planned or implemented provincial greenways, and many cities are working on municipal greenways.

The development of greenways is beginning to stimulate the growth of greenway literature in China. Most of existing studies focus on early efforts and visions of greenway functions and benefits based on western experiences (Yu, Li, & Li, 2006). However, there is a lack of comprehensive profile of the rapidly developed greenways. Therefore, this paper will review the forms, functions and qualities of greenways based on a series of case studies.



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