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Regular physical activity is an important element of healthy lifestyle, which has proven positive impacts on human health (Bedimo-Rung et al., 2005, Telama et al., 2005). Due to the increasing number of sedentary jobs and increased reliance on motorized transport, leisure time physical activity is becoming more and more important in fulfilling recommended physical activity levels (Bedimo-Rung et al., 2005: 159).

Accessible green open spaces encourage physical activity. Several studies have shown that people of all age and social groups, who have access to green open space, are physically more active and consequently, healthier (Abraham et al., 2010, Ward Thompson and Travlou, 2007, Bedimo-Rung et al., 2005). Abraham et al. (2007) emphasize the importance of accessible green environments for mental, physical and social well-being of people. These environments have restorative effect on people, proper facilities promote physical activity, and, last but not least, they enhance social integration.

The question, which arises at this point is: which areas could be classified among “healthy green environments”? The category is by all means very diverse, from neighbourhood park and village green, to regional greenway systems.

In the project, presented in this paper we were in the first place focusing on the development of the vision and the strategy of sport and recreational activities within Ljubljana urban region - LUR (Slovenia). Secondly, goals and objectives set in the vision were further developed through several projects, aiming towards establishing regionally important sport and recreational facilities, suitable and available to all age and social groups. Two of the proposed projects, which will be presented in this paper, focus specifically on the development of recreational facilities as a part of regional green infrastructure/greenway system.

The importance of greenway planning was stressed by many projects and theoretical discussions (Ahern, 1995, Gobster, 1995, Fabos, 2004, Turner, 2006). From Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace in Boston, planned in the late 19th

century, the concept of greenway planning has undergone many changes, but the main idea – connecting naturally preserved areas to provide a restorative environment for the well-being of people, has remained the same. Greenway planning is more than park planning, it’s an overall planning concept. As such the planning of greenways is explicitly multifunctional. Fabos summarizes the contemporary literature review and classifies greenways within three main categories: (1) greenways of ecologically significant corridors and natural systems, (2) recreational greenways, often near water, trails and scenery, and (3) greenways with historic heritage and cultural values. At the same time he emphasizes that these three categories are increasingly overlapping (Fabos, 2004: 332).

Good Practice Guide, published by European Greenway Association emphasizes the importance of greenways as backbones for recreation and for undertaking necessarily daily utility trips (e.g. to work, school, shopping). As such they are exclusive of motorised traffic and adjusted to diverse users – from pedestrians, cyclists, people with limited mobility, roller skaters, etc. (Turner, 2006: 242).

This presentation focuses on the greenways as recreation as well as daily commuting infrastructure. Furthermore, it looks at whether the green areas and their interconnections could be used to revitalize degraded (sub)urban areas.



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