From greenways to blueways: the evolving greenway network in the Pearl River Delta, China



Publication Date

August 2022


The Pearl River Delta has been the leading region of greenway development in China, in which greenways became a special policy tool in a three-year political campaign, with over 15, 000 km of greenways developed between 2010 and 2019. Recently, in response to the issues of lacking ecological concerns and recreational resources and the establishment of the River Chief System in China, Guangdong Province started a new round of top-down greenway campaigns, namely Guangdong 5,000-kilometer Ecological Belts. A series of planning interventions have been widely deployed, which include the water pollution remediation, the integration of recreational trails and the redevelopment of waterfront public spaces. Starting with the introduction of the development of greenways and blueways in Guangdong, this paper explains the reasons for the evolution from greenways to blueways, and takes Guangzhou as a case study of blueways planning and implementation. After that, we will further investigate the environmental benefits of blueways based on the analysis of representative blueways cases. The empirical findings show that planning interventions for blueways have significantly changed the water environment in Guangzhou, especially in terms of addressing pollution issues.