A greenways approach to resource management: the process of environmental corridor design

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


The many miles of our river and stream corridors are some of our country’s most valuable resources. The lands adjacent to rivers possess important agricultural soils, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitats, floodplains, historic communities and places for recreation. In the United States, early uses of rivers include; thoroughfares for crop exportation and exploration, and important source of water for many uses, and places to dispose of unwanted wastes. Recently, efforts to improve water quality have resulted in a new awareness of the nation’s rivers and streams. This growing public recognition that rivers have many other values besides simply traditional economic uses has resulted in the multi-objective river corridor management activities which are occurring in numerous cities and countryside’s across the country. Often termed greenways, these projects are generally grassroots efforts to preserve ecologically sensitive resources and at the same time provide for a growing recreational demand.

A key feature, essential to the success of these projects, is the development of cooperative public and private partnerships, incorporating multiple objectives into the planning process. This thesis is an attempt to analyze that process and break it down into general terms in an effort to provide a framework for communities to follow when entering into greenway planning projects.

The methodology used to get at this process is a combination of; reviewing the existing literature available on corridor design and grassroots movements, as well as an in depth look at successful river greenways in an effort to extract the critical elements involved in environmental and recreational corridor planning. With an understanding of these elements, a process is constructed which highlights the essential steps in the planning process and their order of implementation.

Once the process model is constructed, it is then applied to a site in order to illustrate the process and how it can be fine tuned to meet the needs of a specific region and community.