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Neighbourhoods in Action: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities for Managing Vancouver's Neighbourhood.. Fernandez, Jose Maria Garcia 2011-08-16

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Neighborhoods in action: Exploring challenges and opportunities for managing Vancouver’s neighborhood greenways Jose Maria Fernandez Garcia Final Project Report • School of Community and Regional Planning • August 16, 2011 		Abstract Greenways are linear open space corridors in the built  or natural environment that not only contribute to the preservation of biodiversity, but  also are an innovative way to engage communities in preserving and connecting them, through their use, to nature. Since 1995, the City  of Vancouver has had the Vancouver Greenway Program. As part of this Program, the Neighbourhood Greenway Program promotes the engagement of communities in the planning and implementation of greenways. However, this initiative has many opportunities to strengthen, expand, and improve if it evolves beyond some of the current challenges that exist for both the City and community-based groups in creating and maintaining greenways. This preliminary research explores these challenges and identifies opportunities to improve the community-led initiative. Factors such as partnerships, public involvement and commitment, organizational structure, funding, communication and advertising, are among the problems identified by the community-led groups that participated in this research. The findings are drawn from reviewing literature on experiences elsewhere and from interviews conducted with nine volunteers from four neighborhood greenway projects and one staff member from the City  of Vancouver, that have been used to illustrate the issues surrounding greenway implementation. Finally, recommendations to build on this preliminary analysis by the participants collaborating on refining the assessment and improving the existing program framework are made to facilitate the future implementation of Neighbourhood Greenways in Vancouver.  iAcknowledgments I would like to express my deepest  appreciation and gratitude to the following people for their support  and contributions to this project. Had it  not been for all of you, this research would have been very difficult to complete: Anthony Dorcey, my research supervisor, for your guidance, moral support, all your insights, patience and commitment over the past few months. I feel unbelievably lucky that you took a chance on me to be one of your students. Thank you so much. Erin MacDonald, for providing me with the overview of the Neighborhood Greenway Program, for sharing her experience and knowledge with me, and for assisting me with various queries I had in relation to greenways. Thank you for your time and consideration, your work has inspired me, and I am extremely grateful for this. My family for your encouragement and love, and for keeping me every day in their thoughts. My friends Alejandra Lopez, Melanie Schambach, Jannie Leung, Johanna Mazur, Maria Jose Espinosa, and Ursula Diaz. Thank you very much for your generosity, understanding, and moral support. I specially want to thank Alejandra Lopez for always being there to support  me and advice me. My classmates and friend, Thien Phan and Benita Menezes, for your advice, and taking time to review my project; Metha Brown and Zsuzsi Fodor, for your all your advices, laughter and love. You all have inspired me and I love you for that. All the participants, for sharing your experiences with me, and for all the work you are doing in making your community a better place to live. Thank you.  iiTable of Contents Abstract…………………………………………………………………….......................... i Acknowledgments………………………………………………………………………..... ii Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………........... iii List of Tables…………………………………………………………………………......... iv List of Figures……………………………………………………………………………… v 1.  Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… 1.1 Research Focus……………………………………………………………….. 1.2  Structure of Report……………………………………………………........... 1 1 2 2.  Literature Review……………………………………………………………….......... 2.1  Understanding Greenways…………………………………………………... 2.2  Functions and Benefits of Greenways……………………………………….. 2.2.1  Natural Systems…………………………….......………………..... 2.2.2  EconomicSystems………………………………………………..... 2.2.3  Social Systems…………………………………………………….. 2.3  Challenges for Greenway Development……………………………………… 2.3.1  Involvement of Public and Stakeholders…………………………... 2.3.2  Jurisdictional Boundaries………………………………………….. 2.3.3  Property Rights…………………………………………………….. 2.3.4  Funding…………………………………………………………..… 2.3.5  Natural and Physical Barriers……………………………………… 2.4  Summary of Literature Review………………………………………………. 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 3.  Methodology…………………………………………………………………………... 3.1  Literature Review………………………………………………..…………… 3.2  Use of Case Study……………………………………………….…………… 3.3  Data Collection………………………………………………………..……… 3.4  Research Limitations…………………………………………………………. 10 10 10 11 12 4.  Case Study: Neighborhood Greenways in Vancouver…………………………….... 4.1  Overview of the City of Vancouver…………………………………………... 4.2  Policy Review: the Vancouver Greenway Initiative………………………….. 4.3  Neighborhood Greenways (NG)……………………………………………… 4.3.1  The NG Planning Process………………………………………….. 13 13 17 19 21 5.  Research Findings…………………………………………………………………..…. 5.1  Commonalities…………………………………………………………….…. 5.2  Defining “successful” v. “unsuccessful”………………………………….….. 5.3  SWOT Analysis………………………………………………………….…… 5.3.1  Strengths……………………………………………………..…….. 5.3.2  Weaknesses………………………………………………..……….. 5.3.3  Opportunities………………………………………………….…… 5.3.4  Threats…………………………………………………….……….. 23 23 26 31 31 32 33 35 6.  Recommendations…………………………………………………………………….. 37 7. Conclusions…………………………………………………………………………….. 41 References……………………………………………………………………………........ 42 Appendix A – UBC Behavioral Ethics Review Board Approval…………………………... 44 Appendix B – Interview Questionnaire…………………………………………………….. 45 	 iiiList of Tables Table 1. Description of existing Neighborhood Greenways (NGs)………………...……… 20 Table 2. Requirements for groups to start a NG………………………………………….... 21 Table 3. Benefits of having a greenway in the neighborhood……………………………… 25 Table 4. Example of a relatively  “successful” greenway…………………………………. 27 Table 5. Description of a greenway under the “required attention” category……………… 29 Table 6. Example of categories and criteria to represent NG……………………………… 30 Table 7. Preliminary SWOT analysis………………………………………………….. 36 ivList of Figures Figure 1. Map of City of Vancouver and its neighborhoods………………………………. 14 Figure 2. Statistical data on immigrant population as in 2006…………………………….. 15 Figure 3. Statistical data on visible minorities as in 2006…………………………………. 15 Figure 4. Map of City Greenways………………………………………………..………… 18 Figure 5. Map of Neighborhood Greenway projects in Vancouver……………………...... 19 Figure 6. Description of planning process…………………………………………………. 22 Figure 7. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Greenway………………………………………… 24 Figure 8. Public event at Napier Neighborhood Greenway………………………………... 24 Figure 9. Food gardening at Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway…………………………… 26 Figure 10. Napier Neighborhood Greenway ………………………………………………. 30 Figure 11. Napier Neighborhood Greenway ………………………………………………. 30 Figure 12. Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway ……………………………………………... 30 Figure 13. Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway ……………………………………………... 30 Figure 14. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Greenway.............................................................. 33 Figure 15. Napier Neighborhood Greenway’s Blog.............................................................. 34 v1. Introduction  Greenways are becoming a crucial feature in the urban fabric of more sustainable cities. By linking the natural and built environments of neighborhoods, these corridors are designed to offer a recreational space for a local community, while preserving local and regional biodiversity. All greenway projects undertaken by the City of Vancouver have been pedestrian or cyclist  trails, which meet  some of the greenway criteria (e.g. preserving ecological features, creating social and cultural spaces, connecting humans and nature). As the concept gains popularity among Canadian municipalities, it is important to learn from early experiences with implementation and identify how the challenges arising can be met.   The literature discusses the economic, social, and ecological advantages of greenways and supports a high degree of advocacy for the use of greenways. However, there has been little research on the issues surrounding greenway implementation. The literature suggests that  in any place, such as the City of Vancouver, numerous factors and challenges are likely to determine the extent  to which greenways will become a prominent  and successful feature of the landscape including partnerships; public involvement and commitment; funding; space; and advertising.  This research project is a preliminary exploration of the experience with greenway planning and implementation in Vancouver giving particular emphasis to the Neighbourhood Greenway Program. It includes an examination of the extent to which the experience with existing Neighbourhood Greenways (NGs) might  be taken into account  when planning and implementing greenway projects in other neighbourhoods. There is an investigation of the existing policy framework in relation to the provision of greenways and recommendations are made for building on this initial analysis and policy improvements. 1.1  Research Focus  Greenways have been described as one of the most  successful community-level conservation strategies of the past  two decades (Bryant 2006). Successful neighborhood greenway proposals are usually initiated at the local level, as a result  of community-based initiatives and tend to involve broad and diverse stakeholder support. Concerns about sustainability have contributed to a high degree of advocacy for the potential benefits of greenways, particularly in Europe and North America. However, there is a lack of more localized research on the challenges in developing and implementing NGs within the City of Vancouver. 1 For this reason, the purpose of this initial study is to identify the opportunities and challenges for community-based groups under the Neighbourhood Greenways Program  through a preliminary examination of experiences so far. By understanding these experiences, the research aims to provide recommendations to strengthen the program, the relationships between the City and community groups, and successfully implement  more neighborhood greenways in other parts of the city.  The methodology for this research uses a qualitative component in the form of expert interviews. Interviews were conducted with nine participants from four different  NGs projects, and one staff member from the City of Vancouver. The qualitative component  has been used to demonstrate various aspects of the matters arising from the literature review and to provide additional information. It  should be noted that  although many of the elements discussed in this research could apply anywhere, the focus is on the City of Vancouver. The two-part question that guides the research is: • How does Vancouver’s experience in implementing Neighborhood Greenways compare with what is discussed in the literature? • How can the City of Vancouver and community groups strengthen their work? 1.2  Structure of Report  This research project  comprises seven sections. Section 1 states the focus of this research and its goals. Section 2 describes the greenway concept  as it has been developed in the literature review including the definition of greenways, their potential benefits, strategies for their development  and experiences with their planning and implementation. Section 3 summarizes the primarily qualitative methods used in undertaking a case study of Vancouver experiences through interviews with ten (10) participants in four (4) Neighbourhood Greenway projects and develops the analytical framework by drawing on the literature review and thus the questions pursued in the interviews.  Section 4 sets the context of this research by providing an overview of Vancouver, the policy around developing greenways, and describes specifically the Neighborhood Greenways that are the focus of the research. Section 5 analyses the results obtained from the expert interviews using the analytical framework of questions created in Section 3. Section 6 concludes with a discussion of the results and a set  of recommendations to facilitate future neighborhood greenway planning in Vancouver. Section 7 is the conclusion of this report. 22. Literature Review  Greenways have been designed in cities throughout North America and elsewhere for more than one hundred years (Hellmund and Smith, 2006).  They can be seen as an adaptation, a response to the physical and psychological pressures of urbanization (Searns, 1995) - such as flooding or degrading water quality – seeking alternatives to mitigate the loss of natural space, or can be also an act of pure vision for a better community. This section explores several definitions of greenway and the elements that define it; the different types; its roots that go back several centuries; and the social, economical and environmental benefits for cities. 2.1  Understanding Greenways  Landscape architects, ecologist, and urban planners, among others, have proposed greenways, creating in the process varying definitions that  describe the characteristics of a ‘greenway’. Hellmund and Smith  (2006) define greenways as “bands on the landscape designated for their natural or recreational resources or other special qualities, ranging from narrow urban trails to very wide landscape linkages”. Anhern (1995) considers greenways as “networks of land containing linear elements 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.” The Stewardship Centre of British Columbia et al (1995) provide a more inclusive definition: “Greenways are linear green corridors that connect natural areas…to provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities; greenways can include both public holdings and private working landscapes; and are created as part of an integrated approach to land planning, balancing the needs of human communities and natural systems”.  What  the above definitions have in common is that greenways are considered a network of corridors that  have different  purposes and aim to maximize the use of landscapes in ways that connect communities with nature: • They connect larger areas of open space and provide for the conservation of natural resources, protection of habitat, movement of plants and animals, (Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 2003c, in Bryant, 2004), 34 • They include routes, trails or natural corridors used in harmony with their ecological function, providing options for safe transportation, recreation and tourism, and encourage a healthier lifestyle (Friends of Czech Greenways, 2011), and • They bring local people and businesses together with regional and state governments to work towards improvement of their communities (Friends of Czech Greenways, 2011). Anhern (1995) describes four key elements that define a greenway: 1) the spatial configuration, which is primarily linear and presents advantages in terms of movement  of material and species; 2) the linkages across spatial scales, making it a network; 3) its multifunctional characteristic, where the goals set  for greenways reflect social and cultural values, as well as environmental protection and economic enhancement; and 4) looking at  greenways as a complement to comprehensive landscape planning and not a replacement. Greenways can be classified in terms of the landscape in which they are situated: one related to its context (e.g. agricultural, urban, rural); a second related to the scale, ranging from small areas such as neighborhoods, small streams, to larger areas such as river basins, mountains or even continents (Anhern, 1995; Bryant, 2004); and a third the reasons for their creation or goals - biodiversity related, recreational, historical and cultural (Anhern, 1995). Green areas have been an essential component  of town and city planning over the last  century and have been justified on the basis of ecological and social services while they also meet social and psychological needs of the urban dwellers (Ignatieva et al, 2011). The term greenway is relatively new, emerging in the late 1950’s, but the design of linear green spaces in Europe, Asia, and the Americas predates the name by nearly a century. From axes and parkways in the sixteenth century, to recreational trails and greenbelts after World War II, and to their ‘multi-objective’ characteristic these days, the evolution of greenways has reflected a response to human needs: refuge, outdoor spaces that  soothe and entertain the psyche, a desire to remain connected with nature, and to maintain a semblance of the ‘natural’ landscape in the urban setting (Searns, 1995). 2.2  Functions and Benefits of Greenways The diversity of greenway types and forms, combined with geographic differences, means that greenways may function very differently ecologically and socially. Among the wide array of functions are natural, economic and social systems.2.2.1.  Natural Systems  Greenways are one of many initiatives that  can contribute to the solution of complex ecological problems. Creation of connectivity, reduction of habitat fragmentation, ecological restoration, as well as public awareness and beautification of communities, are some of the functions provided by greenways. Anhern (1995) mentions that  greenways have the potential to moderate the flow of nutrients, species and energy between landscape elements that  are under intensive land use and having detrimental impacts on ecosystems. Greenways have the potential to act  as buffers to moderate disturbances (e.g. stormwater runoff or erosion) by filtering sediments, controlling erosion, and regulating water temperature. Riparian corridors, wetland filters, and patch edge buffers are some of the forms a greenway can take. Greenways provide an opportunity to reduce habitat fragmentation that  causes the loss of habitat  for different species (Linehan et al, 1995), by protecting patches of interior habitat  from outside disturbances and by providing higher levels of connectivity. Connectivity enables certain species to migrate, disperse and repopulate patches in heterogeneous landscapes, and by linking patches of habitat into a network. Thus, greenways can enhance survival prospects for species (Anhern, 1995) by restoring natural systems (O’Neill, 2005) due to the infusion of native vegetation in developed areas and helping preserve regional biodiversity and maintain habitat connections. Greenways represent  an excellent  opportunity for environmental education by offering spaces for learning to occur in informal outdoor classrooms, where people of all ages can interact with nature in close proximity to the places where they live and work (Miller, 2005). They form the context within which much social life and learning takes place, and thus, can educate and inform people about the connection between humans and natural systems (El Adli Imam, 2006) 2.2.2  Economic Systems  In terms of economics, greenways have the potential of creating jobs, enhancing property values, expanding local business, attracting new or relocating businesses, increasing local tax revenues, decreasing local government expenditures, and promoting local tourism (Forman and Collinge, in Hellmund and Smith, 2006). The U. S. Department  of the Interior – National Park Service (1995) summarizes the economic benefits of protecting greenways in their book “Economic impacts of protecting rivers, trails, and greenway corridors”: 56 • Parks, greenways and trails increase nearby property values, thus increasing local tax revenues and offsetting greenway acquisition costs. • Spending by local residents on greenway related activities helps support  recreation related business and employment, as well as businesses patronized by greenway and trail users. • Greenways often provide business opportunities (e.g. tourism), locations and resources for commercial activities such as recreation equipment  rentals and sales, lessons, and other related businesses. • Agencies responsible for managing a river, trail or greenway can help support local businesses by purchasing supplies and services. Jobs created by the managing agency may also help increase local employment opportunities. • The conservation of rivers, trails, and greenways can help local governments and other public agencies reduce costs resulting from flooding and other natural hazards. Greenways along rivers can help reduce the cost of repairing flood damage and improving water quality. 2.2.3  Social Systems  In order to support ecosystem preservation in cities, the places where people live and work need to be designed so as to offer opportunities for meaningful interactions with the natural world (Miller, 2005). By properly designing and managing natural areas such as greenways, we will not only restore human connections with nature, but we can also tie diverse neighborhoods together in ways that  increase civic interaction and expand and deepen people’s sense of community (Hellmund and Smith, 2006).  Miller (2005) notes that addressing the issue of design and management  requires the participation of different  stakeholders – scientists, planners, architects, health professionals, local citizens, etc – in creating partnerships that  open spaces for dialogue about  what people want in their community. Here is where greenways with greater community involvement can bring people together and build community. Greenways can enhance cultural resources by creating a network that connects users to local or regional history and culture (Bryant, 2006). As humans create roads, railroads, trails, canals, etc., that over time may take on historical significance, greenways can be a way of preserving and sharing with communities some aspects of historical resources (Hellmund and Smith, 2006). 2.3.  Challenges for Greenway Development There is a wide array of potential benefits of greenways in environmental, social, economic, and cultural terms, but  there are significant challenges to be overcome in developing them that need to be taken into consideration when designing and implementing greenways. Some of the key challenges relate to ecological complexities, community context, stakeholder engagement, multiple jurisdictions, funding, natural and physical infrastructure, and land ownership. 2.3.1  Involvement of Public and Stakeholders  Communities play a significant role in the development of greenways. Bryant  (2006) notes that greenways are one of the most successful community level conservation strategies of the past two decades. Greenway projects that encompass public involvement have a greater possibility of being implemented than those that  do not (Ryder 1995). Since many greenway projects are initiated by community groups at  the local level, the public has become a key stakeholder in the greenway collaboration process.  Ahern (1995) argues that a multipurpose greenway planning approach requires that  the planning process be multidisciplinary, inclusionary and with a high level of public involvement. As a result of community initiatives, greenways tend to involve a broad and diverse constituency of support. The involvement  of the public and the support of other groups, including through non- governmental organization, should be undertaken in the conceptual planning, design and long-term care of greenway systems. Therefore, public participation in the planning process is essential to successful planning and people are more likely to accept a project when they have had a voice in the decision-making.  However, it must be kept in mind that  stakeholder groups associated with greenways are not homogeneous, and often a strong or dominant stakeholder group drives the planning process and the resulting changes reflect  their particular values. The concept  of a greenway needs broad support  from the range of relevant  stakeholders to be successfully implemented. The building of a supporting constituency is the most important process in the implementation of public ideas. This constituency must be at  all levels: citizens, decision makers, policy writers and the media (Quayle 1995).  72.3.2  Jurisdictional Boundaries  The linear nature and length of greenways, and their tendency to follow natural landscape features mean that  greenway protection efforts require policy coordination across multiple jurisdictional boundaries (Hoover and Shannon, 1995). This is not  only in terms of the landscape, but also in terms of stakeholders, where any given project may include more than one type of government (local, state/provincial, federal) and different community groups and local residents. Therefore, coordination among government  agencies and non-governmental and business organizations is another challenge in greenway implementation. 2.3.3  Property Rights  Implementing a greenway may be politically unacceptable in some situations because of problems with private property rights (Bryant  2006). Private land owners may perceive a public corridor as an encroachment on their property rights and choose to oppose the greenway (Ahern 1995). Engaging all stakeholders in the consultation and planning process can assist in overcoming opposition to greenways by adjoining land owners, especially if the benefits to the community, including such land owners, are explained. 2.3.4  Funding  Successful greenway projects require adequate funding. Currently funding for greenway projects usually comes from a public source, whether it is local, state/provincial or federal government, non-governmental organizations (Erickson, 1997), or community groups through their own fundraising activities. Searns (1995) suggests that  project  funding is possibly the most crucial challenge for greenway projects. However, greenways can be affordable because they require a relatively small amount of land, when compared with large non-linear open spaces, to accomplish their objectives. Without  any adequate funding, meaning small or large according to the nature of the project, and with total reliance on in-kind contributions, it is unlikely that a significant greenway project will be created. 2.3.5  Natural and Physical Barriers  Development of greenways in an urban area will often encounter physical barriers. Greenways may meet difficulties with natural and manmade landscapes in the process of development  (Ryan et al 2004). When selecting a site to develop a greenway, it  is important to look at these barriers, and select those that  have less physical barriers (or even free of them). These areas are more likely to have the potential for greenway development  and likely to need less funding. 82.4  Summary of Literature Review  In summary, some research has examined the barriers to implementation of greenways, but  finding a formula to overcome these challenges is not  easy due to the varied context  and unique nature of each greenway project. Hellmund and Smith (2006) note that  greenways should be planned carefully and that  a broadly inclusive process is an important vehicle for overcoming social conflict  or aspects of environmental inequity. Therefore, paying attention to factors such as the planning processes, coordination and collaboration between agencies and organizations (partnerships), and public involvement can be the key to the success of greenways. 93. Methodology  The description of the methodology for this research is divided into three parts that detail the different methods used to collect  information. It includes an extensive literature review, a local case study, and a qualitative component in the form of expert interviews. 3.1  Literature Review  An extensive analysis of existing literature available on the historical and current  literature, relevant  policy documents and legislation available in relation to greenways, was undertaken to establish the theoretical background for greenways, experiences with developing them and their relevance in the Vancouver context. It  comprised a review of international books and websites focusing on the beginning of the greenway movement, the benefits of greenways over natural, social and economical systems, and the potential challenges associated with greenway development and implementation. It  is worth mentioning that  there is little research about greenways in Vancouver, and the findings are related mostly to European and US experiences.  3.2  Use of a Case Study  A local case study is used to explore in the Vancouver context various aspects of development  experiences that were identified from the literature and to provide additional information to be considered in the future. The Neighbourhood Greenway Program is examined to exemplify issues with greenway development and implementation in Vancouver. The data for this case study include a brief statistical analysis of Vancouver’s demographics, policy documents and Master Plan for the Vancouver Greenway Program, and informal discussions with the City’s staff and stakeholders involved in the Neighbourhood Greenway Program. The research questions for this research were developed from these informal discussions, which revealed the need to document experiences around the development and implementation of NGs. 103.3  Data Collection  The data collected for this research project include interviews with members of different  NG projects and the City’s staff. Details about the groups are presented in Section 4. The selection criteria used to choose participants included differing perspectives, experiences and knowledge of the communities involved in the NG program. A particular effort was made to include 1) active members of the community-based groups involved in the NG Program; and 2) groups considered by the City of Vancouver as “successful” and “unsuccessful”.  During the recruitment process, Engineering Services, which is the lead organization for this program in the City of Vancouver, provided the contact information of the liaison person for each NG. Each of these liaisons was contacted by email. Once they replied expressing an interest in participating in the study, a face-to-face interview was scheduled. On the day of the interview and before proceeding with the interview, I explained the purposes of the research and discussed the consent form. Once the participant  agreed to participate, I conducted the interviews. Participants had the option of withdrawing from this study at  any time. If so, subsequent contacts were established through her/his recommendations, and the whole process was replicated. From this recruitment process, six NGs projects were contacted because of their close relation with the City of Vancouver; one NG project was contacted through researcher’s acquaintances. It  wasn’t possible to contact the two remaining NGs because there isn’t a liaison person with the City. From the seven NGs contacted, only four agreed to participate, and nine participants consented to interviews; there was no answer from the other three NGs.  Three interviews were conducted with one representative of the NG, and one group interview was conducted. The interviews were conducted to gather the knowledge, perceptions and experiences of participants in relation to NGs. The interviews aimed to get  first  hand information about the characteristics of the groups, their challenges in creating and maintaining the greenway, the support  they received from the City and other sources for the groups’ work, and the opportunities they see to improve their work. As mentioned above, the group interview was conducted as a result of a request  by the group members. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, this group interview provided an insight  into the group dynamic and how they influence the success of the NG. One interview was conducted with the Green Streets Program Coordinator who manages the Neighbourhood Greenways Program to get an understanding of how the NG Program works, how the City characterizes the nine existing NG projects, and what the future vision is for the Program. The City of Vancouver considers three of these NGs as being relatively “successful” and one as “unsuccessful”. These assessments are explained below. 11 All of the interviews were tape recorded and transcribed afterwards to ensure the accuracy of the information collected. I drew common themes from the interview data to support the interpretation and analysis of the results, and proposed recommendations and conclusions. Even though participants consented that their quotes could be attributed to them, individuals have not been identified as this was felt  to be unnecessary for the purposes of this report  and consistent with the terms of the UBC Behavioral Ethics Review Board approval of this study (Appendix 1).  An interview questionnaire was designed to guide the expert  interviews with participants. These questions (Appendix 2) were designed to further understand and to respond to the research question. To conduct the analysis, I divided the responses into three major considerations: 1) Identification of commonalities  between the different NG’s, to determine perceptions of NG purposes and the benefits for their communities. These commonalities, as articulated by the participants, speak about  the perceived reality of Vancouver’s context  for developing NGs. 2) Identification of criteria for assessing whether the NG’s are seen as being relatively successful or unsuccessful. I compared the experiences of the Vancouver NGs with what was found by others elsewhere as described in the literature review section. This analysis also explains the assessment  of NGs by the City’s staff in categorizing their perception of the existing NGs and compares with other participants. 3) Identification of the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a SWOT analysis, of the existing Program that are crucial to consider for its continuity and strengthened development. These are compiled by the researcher and use key comments from participants to support the researcher's findings.  The results identified a number of key elements for a successful greenway framework and implementation in Vancouver as identified by participants. Section 6 summarizes my recommendations drawn from the results. 3.4  Research Limitations  This research has some limitations that need to be considered while reading the report. First, the experiences of NGs are drawn from only four projects, and each of those have different contexts and demographics. While all nine NGs are not in the same situation, the current assessment  provides an insight into how the Program is currently functioning and some possible 12strategies to improve and strengthen its benefits. Notably the research considers two examples of what is seen by two NG projects as constituting successful and unsuccessful outcomes, which provides an enhanced basis for assessing what works and acting on what needs to be improved.  Second, due to the relatively small scale of the NGs and the specific context  of Vancouver neighborhoods, there is no ready basis for comparison between Vancouver’s NGs and other examples in Europe or the rest of North America.  Third, there is no quantitative data at  present  to analyze the achievements of NGs in Vancouver because there is not data available and none is generated in this project. This is an opportunity for future research. 134. Case Study: Neighborhood Greenways in Vancouver 4.1  Overview of the City of Vancouver  The City of Vancouver is widely known for the beauty of its natural setting. Situated along English Bay and the southern shore of the Burrard Inlet (Macdonald, 2008), this city is a municipality of approximately 578,041 people (2006 Census), divided into 22 neighborhoods, and covering 11,467 hectares to the north of the mouth of the Fraser River (Figure 1). Figure 1. Map of City of Vancouver and its neighborhoods * Source: City of Vancouver, 2011  The City is located in one of the most exceptional natural environments in the world, and is considered one of the best places in the world to live, work, and invest  (City of Vancouver, 2011). This has to do with how its urban form interacts with the natural setting and with physical patterns that structure the public realm. Macdonald (2008) describes the public realm elements that characterize the city: magnificent  street  trees; extensive waterfront parks; walks and bicycle paths; narrow and traffic-calmed residential streets; and numerous neighborhood parks, community centers, and schools; and some heritage buildings. All these elements, combined with city policies, such as for transit  and high-density living, help create a city that is walkable, bikable, and outdoor recreation oriented. 14!"#"$ %%#%$ &#'$ !#%$ (#($ ($ )#'$ %#'$ %#'$*#+$ )#'$ Percentage of visible minorities (2006) ,-./010$ 2345-$61.7/$ 8.9.:./3$ 2345-0715$61.7/$ ;7:7/010$ <3=07/$ >7?/$6@0=.A7/$ B015$61.7/$ C97AD$ 6=7E$ F5-0=1$ * Source: BC Stats, 2006.  Simultaneously, it  is also recognized for its multicultural population, being considered the second most popular destination in Canada for new immigrants (Cooper, 2006) with a high percentage of visible minority and immigrant populations in Canada, 43,470 immigrants in 2006 (BC Statistics, 2006), particularly from China and South Asia (Cooper, 2006). The City of Vancouver states “Vancouver’s ethnic diversity is one of the primary contributions to the unique character of the city” (City of Vancouver, 2011). Figures 2. Statistical data on immigrant population as in 2006. Figures 3. Statistical data on visible minorities as in 2006. !"#$ %"&$ '(")$ '%")$ ))"*$ '("!$ Percentage of total immigrant population  (before 1961 to 2006)  +,-./,$'0('$ '0('$1.$'0!#$ '0!'$1.$'0%#$ '0%'$1.$'00#$ '00'$1.$2###$ 2##'$1.$2##($ 15 * Source: BC Stats, 2006. These two key factors are reflected in Vancouver’s neighborhoods. The first one is related to the current urban development  approach that focuses on increased residential density, in renewing existing neighborhoods beyond the downtown with a view to accommodating the majority of all population growth over the next 25 years (Cooper, 2006). Secondly, changes in cultural diversity are bringing new and varied elements to the neighborhoods, such as food, architecture, traditions, and ways to use the urban landscape (The Urban Landscape Task Force, 1992). Quayle (1995) summarizes, in ways particularly appropriate to the present  study, the issues identified by the City: • Accommodating growth and density in neighborhoods • Meeting the needs of diverse ethnic populations • Achieving equity in access to open space across the city • Providing different kinds of public open space • Improving safety and security • Balancing rights and responsibilities • Responding to global and local ecological issues • Making regional landscape connections • Monitoring the natural ecosystems • Managing the scale of change • Respecting people through public process • Clarifying the private and public realm • Gathering better information for coordinating planning and management • Funding Responding to global and local ecological issues  The Urban Landscape Task Force (ULTF) notes in its 1992 report  “Greenways-public ways” that  neighborhoods are the foundation of Vancouver’s spirit, recognizing the importance of promoting neighborhoods for their unique contribution to defining the character and diversity of the city’s landscape. If the city’s streets and open spaces are preserved and designed for everyone, adapting to changes mentioned above can be easier. Parks and playgrounds, public transit, schools and daycares, grocery stores, banks, and other amenities, represent  opportunities for residents to interact  and be outside together. Greenways, as mentioned in Section 2, are seen as connectors of these amenities, within a neighborhood or across neighborhoods, and they have been viewed since 1992 as innovative policy thrusts for promoting healthy and more inclusive communities in the city. 164.2  Policy Review: the Vancouver Greenway Initiative   In 1991, Vancouver City Council appointed a group called the Urban Landscape Task Force (ULTF) with a mandate to improve residents’ understanding of the value of the urban landscape and recommend to City Council how to manage, protect  and enhance it. Their report, “Greenways -public ways” (City of Vancouver, 1992) establishes the urban greenway as a primary method of connecting people to each other and to the natural world: “Greenways are "green paths" for pedestrians and cyclists. They can be waterfront promenades, urban walks, environmental demonstration trails, heritage walks and nature trails. Their purpose is to expand the opportunities for urban recreation and to enhance the experience of nature and city life” (Engineering Services Policy Report, 1995)  The report identifies actions for implementation by the City to promote responsible decisions in the public realms. These are: • Celebration of the natural and cultural legacies that are unique in Vancouver; • Development of a management plan for parks; • Reclamation of local streets for cyclists and pedestrians; • Development of a “street  strategy” to reclaim 20%-30% of residential streets for more multi- use public space;  • Inventory of major biophysical and cultural features of the urban landscape, including the identification of sacred and civic spaces, as well as environmentally sensitive areas; • Preparation of an ecological management plan to protect environmentally significant areas; • Promotion of Vancouver’s urban forest; • Adoption of ecological performance standards for stormwater management, and other environmental concerns, such as habitat  conservation, air quality, water and energy conservation, and waste management, among others; • Improvement of ecological literacy among residents; • Strengthen Vancouver’s image as a City of Gardens; and • Creation of a strategy to facilitate communication between the City and public about landscape issues. Five major themes emerged during the public and research process focused on reconnecting people to the public realm and nature: greenway connections, truly public spaces, democratic streets, ecological priority, and neighborhoods that work. The report  proposes the creation of a Greenway Trust –a public/private body that would promote and develop the Vancouver Urban Greenway System. 17In 1995, the Vancouver Greenways Plan was adopted by City Council. This Greenways Plan stated that the primary purpose of the greenway would be to expand the opportunities for urban recreation and to enhance the experience of nature and city life (City of Vancouver, 1992). The plan describes two major components of Vancouver’s greenway system: City Greenways and Neighborhood Greenways, each one with different  characteristics.  The City Greenways are a network of 16 routes that cover 140 kms and connect the entire city, using street  rights-of-way for 50% of the system, and the Seawall/Seaside route making up 30% of the total system (Figure 4). The Neighborhood Greenways are smaller in scale and more local in focus than City Greenways. They are handled on a case-by-case basis, as they are generally initiated by the community. These routes expand opportunities for urban recreation by connecting people to amenities within the neighborhood, provide alternate ways to move through the city, and enhance nature, community and city life experience. Both programs are coordinated by Engineering Services Department  of the City of Vancouver. Figure 4. Map of City Greenways *Source: City of Vancouver ( 18There are other related programs that complement the above including: • Green Streets Program, which encourages residents to sponsor traffic bulge or circle gardens; • Rain gardens, for stormwater management; and • Country lanes, as an alternative to traditional asphalt lanes. They are more environmentally responsible and help to calm traffic. 4.3  Neighborhood Greenways (NG)  The focus of the present project is to analyze this community-led initiative. As mentioned above, Neighborhood Greenways, the smaller greenway initiative, aim to improve local connections for pedestrians and cyclists, and connect features and infrastructure that are important for the neighborhood: parks, businesses, historic sites, and amenities. NG’s started by creating a partnership between the City and the community. The City, through Engineering Services, provides assistance in the design, development and construction of Neighborhood Greenways.  There are currently nine NG initiatives in the City of Vancouver (Figure 5). Each one of these projects is different due to factors such as physical location and demographics of the neighborhood. The existing NGs demonstrate a wide array of possibilities for individuals to come together as groups and show their commitment to making their neighborhood a better place to live. Table 1 describes each of the NGs. Figure 5. Map of Neighborhood Greenway projects in Vancouver 19 *Source: City of Vancouver ( Year of creation Neighborhood Purpose Cedar Cottage 1994 Kensington- Cedar Cottage Park-like connection between the surrounding residential neighborhood and Tyne Elementary School, on 19th  Avenue and Fleming  Street. A red brick path, gazebo, garden, pedestrian lighting, and a welcome mosaic, are among the design features of the greenway. John Street 1994 Riley Park – Little Mountain Walkway with a garden that connects John Street and Prince Edward Street. Later in 1997, the greenway was extended by upgrading the east-west lane connecting  John Street to the cul- de-sac of 26th Avenue Prince Albert 1997 Riley Park – Little Mountain Located in  Prince Albert Street and 14th Avenue, the greenway beautifies the neighborhood and provide a safe place for children to  play in a community-gathering place. The big idea was to extend the concept  of the garden into the street. The street was transformed into a strolling path for pedestrians and cyclists. Windsor Castle 1997 Sunset Part of the Ridgeway Greenway, it includes a play area along the Ridgeway at  Windsor Street. An expansion of two additional vacant properties along East 37th was completed in 2010. Renfrew Ravine 1997 Renfrew Collingwood Connect the Renfrew Community Centre and Park to the 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station. It provides views into  the ravine to Still Creek, one of the few remaining creeks in Vancouver. Atlantic 1998 Strathcona Connects Strathcona Park and the Strathcona Community Gardens along the south side of Atlantic Street to Malkin Ave. Napier 2002 Grandview Woodland It is a plaza that enhances the pedestrian link between Commercial Drive, the Britannia Community Centre and Britannia Elementary and Secondary  Schools. The plaza provides an open community  garden space that  is inviting for school children, shoppers and the local community Avalon 2006 Victoria-Fraserview Located at Wales Street and East 43rd Avenue,, adjacent to the historic Avalon Dairy. It provides a garden space for local residents, school children and neighborhood gardeners. Tupper 2008 Riley Park – Little Mountain It is located at a closed portion of East 23rd Avenue and Prince Edward Street, next to Charles Tupper Secondary School. It is a focal point for the school and the surrounding community. It includes a culinary herb garden, outdoor classroom, bicycle path, walkways, wetland gardens, green spaces and pedestrian lighting Table 1. Description of existing Neighborhood Greenways (NG’s) 20 * Source: City of Vancouver ( • Have an organized group • Have an available piece of land owned by Engineering Services, that is adequate for greenways • Be committed to participate in a collaborative planning and design process between City and community • Be committed to take care of it • Be able to do their own fundraising for equipment  and other financial needs the City won’t cover. 4.3.1 The NG Planning Process  This sub-section was made after an interview with City staff in charge of the Neighbourhood Greenway Program. The process is expected to start  when a community group approaches the city with a perceived need for their neighborhood to improve and enhance localized neighborhood connections - pedestrian, cyclist, or even to just to provide a more attractive public realm (Table 2). Engineering Services must  own the physical project site. If the physical site is adequate, then the City works collaboratively with the group in designing and planning the project. This step involves participation not only from the initial group, but also their neighbors, so a consultation process must  be delivered, and since the process is completely voluntary, it might  take a few years to be fully developed. Different  staff professionals from several City branches are also part of the planning and design process – landscape architects, architects, planners, and engineers. Table 2. Requirements for groups to start a NG * Source: Author Once the design is complete, Engineering Services submits the proposal (including the budget) to Council for approval, and if approved, the City is in charge of building the greenway. This includes installing infrastructure and planting. When the project is complete, the neighborhood is responsible for maintaining and caring for it. However, the City, through the Green Street  Program Coordinator, who is part of the Street  Activities Branch within Engineering Services, provides some ongoing maintenance support whenever each of the greenways requires it  (e.g. spring and fall clean up, trimming or cutting trees, compost, donation of plants, or maintenance to infrastructure). Part of the support  is to send letters to neighbors about the status of the program and other related initiatives, opportunities for gathering and exchanging experiences, or helping them out  in solving some specific issues (e.g. how to get everybody on board).    21Figure 6. Description of planning process * Source: Author The Neighborhood Greenway Program is more than just  a mandate stated in the Vancouver Greenway Program mentioned above. It  is seen by the City of Vancouver as a way to respond to local needs, specifically by enhancing connections within and/or between neighborhoods. It  is also seen as an opportunity for people to feel they are taking an active role in greening the city.  The future of the program depends in part  on the quality and type of relationships within each of those groups and the City of Vancouver. However, the relationships within each of those groups are also crucial for the continuity of the greenways. The next  section summarizes the factors identified in the interviews by participants in NGs as contributing to either the success or failings of their projects. Organized group and idea submission Determine whether available land (owned) by Engineering Services Collaborative planning and design (City & Community) Project and Budget Submission to Council for Approval Design implementation (City) Community maintenance City’s support when needed Project Proposal 225. Findings   This study's findings draw on interviews conducted with nine (9) volunteers from four  (4) different  greenways – Napier (six (6) volunteers), John Street  (one (1) volunteer), Atlantic (one (1) volunteer), and Cedar Cottage (one (1) volunteer); and one interview was conducted with the Green Streets Program Manager who manages the Neighbourhood Greenway Program. The purpose of these interviews was to collect the stories behind the creation of NGs, and to understand their current  situation, including the challenges and opportunities neighborhood groups and the City face when developing NGs.   As mentioned in Section 3, one interview was conducted as a group at the request  of the NG members, which provided a better insight into the group and its dynamics, and helped to identify the elements that  are necessary for a group to work together and succeed. This interview was different  from the other three NG interviews because of the presence of almost every member of the group at  the time of the interview. The interaction between the interviewees was friendly, there were not  any disagreements in the information they shared, and there was a clear connection among the members of this group. This group interview was used as reference point  in defining a successful NG. 5.1  Commonalities  Even though there are clear differences between Vancouver NGs, there are various elements or commonalities that they share. The interviews revealed that  the reasons to create the greenway and its benefits to the community’s quality of life are unifying factors across the participants.  The motivation to be involved in this Program was often a response to local issues that neighborhoods were facing at the time. Crime, illegal dumping, drug dealing, and prostitution, were addressed both by the neighborhood and the City in installing the greenway:  23“The strip of land in front of the houses was abandoned, it was a garbage dump, it wasn’t a park so it was the responsibility of the City to discourage prostitution, drugs, and illicit activities [by] improving what was abandoned land, the little piece of property that backs up industrial warehouses [that] was neglected” – Volunteer at Atlantic  The need for a space for community members to come together was another reason to create neighbourhood greenways. This reason, together with the interest in beautifying the surroundings and linking amenities within the neighborhood, was another unifying answer among the participants: “The unifying factor was everybody wanted to make it better and safer than what it was…It was very popular and used as a walk through, up and down, to go to the Tyee Elementary School, or St. Joseph School. It was overgrown with weeds and used as a garbage dump…Dangerous – needles and condoms, parking vehicles, dumping”- Volunteer at Cedar Cottage “The value for the greenway is welcoming and entry way to Britannia, and a green space, a place for people to sit, it is by the neighborhood so it looks like the neighborhood... [it is]a resting place for the community, the people who use it are the community, and they add the dimension to it of being a social microcosm of the community” – Volunteer 1 Napier 24 Figure 7. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author) Figure 8. Public event at Napier Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author) “It is an oasis,  a space that gets used in remarkable amounts of ways, on Sundays: sales, people with cellos that come and play, the whole sense of community space that is different than parks, so people walk through it all the time, a lot for them stop to read a book, play, etc…there are lots of activities. I can’t imagine the neighborhood without it. It is really stunning ‘cause there is not many chances where people get to meet, and meet some more and then meet some more” – Volunteer 4 at Napier “We actually do some of our planting and planning about how things are going to be put in the greenway to allow for people [homeless] to have a place to sleep at night, because we know they are going to sleep there anyways, they’ve been sleeping there for 10 years so let’s not try to do anything about that… this is one of the uses of the greenway, you either acknowledge that and work around it or you just have a lot of plants who have been slept on” – Volunteer 6 at Napier Neighborhood Greenway “People tell you compliments, they say things like ‘good job’ when working in the greenway, even though they don’t help…it also gives a sense of pride for people who live close by the greenway” – Volunteer at John Street  There are thus several benefits seen by participants in having a greenway in their neighborhood (Table 3). We can infer that the benefits participants see in having greenways in their community weigh more towards the social benefits of greenways. This doesn’t mean that the environmental and economical benefits aren’t important for communities, but it means the motivation for neighbors to create greenways is more related to improving their surroundings in order to maximize the social life of communities. Table 3. Benefits of having a greenway in the neighborhood Social Environmental Economical Herb and food harvesting (e.g. blackberries) Green space with a diversity of plants Improves property value substantially Indicates people care A place for the local fauna (e.g. birds, butterflies, bees) Provides connectedness between neighborhood and amenities It is pleasing to the eye Provides food for people and local fauna Makes the neighborhood more interesting There is s sense of order and safety It responds to neighborhood Needs *Source: Author One benefit that is important is that the NG is a place that welcomes everyone with no distinctions, and the planning and design of these spaces accommodate everyone’s needs: 25 The creation of the greenways in order to have spaces for people to interact with each other and with nature, and the benefits that this bring to the communities, are the common elements that characterize NGs. These commonalities identified in the interviews are related to what the literature review mentions about the functions and benefits of greenways in the natural, economical, and social systems. However, the major notable finding in this section is that NG are created as a response to the social issues the City of Vancouver has been dealing for many years relating to crime, drug use, prostitution, homelessness, and so on. Neighborhoods that are more vulnerable to these problems adapt public spaces to a form of NG to mitigate the impacts of such issues in the communities. Therefore, a NG is an initiative that deals not only with environmental and economical problems, but it is also a strategy to adapt spaces in neighbourhoods that can mitigate the social challenges that often depreciates feelings of safety and pride in a given community.    5.2  Defining “successful” vs. “unsuccessful”  The current status of the nine existing neighborhood greenways varies greatly, reflecting the differing contexts in which they are embedded. Participation and involvement, physical location of the greenway, funding, partnerships, and ways of approaching the greenway, are among the characteristics that make each one of the neighborhood greenways different. These differences influence the way Engineering Services sees neighborhood greenways as being: “successful” and “unsuccessful”.   Drawing conclusions from the literature review and from the interviews conducted with the City’s staff and NGs’ participants, the dominant  characteristics of a ‘successful’ greenway is seen as being one that  has a strong group of volunteers that  have well-established communications with the City, and that has a constant  presence in the community. An ‘unsuccessful’ greenway is the opposite, but  not necessarily inactive. Drawing on this information and broad differentiation, I 26 Figure 9. Food gardening at Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author)Napier Neighborhood Greenway • Located in East Vancouver at the entry to the Britannia Community Centre • It is in a dense urban area in the city • It used a neighborhood planning process (UBC Design Week) as a platform to discuss the idea of creating the NG • There is a core group of committed neighbors interested in maintaining the NG. This group is formed by a group of friends that share the same philosophy • There is strong leadership – One person is the liaison between the group and the City of Vancouver • Use of a communication system: • Blog - • Email - • Email list serve • Fund ing t h rough t he Eas t Vancouve r Tou r o f P r iva t e Ga rdens (h t t p : / / • Other partnerships within the neighborhood have been built (e.g.  Britannia Community Centre, local businesses) • The group uses other local events to promote the work they do at the NG and the Garden Tour. This is a way to invite more people to participate have elaborated two examples to illustrate the elements that  define more specifically what is seen as being a relatively more successful and an unsuccessful greenway.  The “successful” greenways are those where the neighbors are physically and actively present  in the space working together to maintain the greenway. There is a core group of neighbors, led by one of its member, that  come together when an issue comes up and discuss it to find the best solution. The leader of this core group not  only keeps the group together by its open communication (with both the group and the rest  of the community), and has constant communication with the City of Vancouver (specifically Engineering Services), but  is also able to establish partnerships with local businesses, the local Community Centre, and other local government agencies and organizations, to better support the needs of the greenway. The leadership is shared, meaning that everyone in the group plays an important role in supporting each other, and its involvement  is crucial for the continuity of the neighborhood greenway. The physical space is located in such a way that it is heavily used by the whole community, which provides the best  venue for the group to interact with other community members, and gives an opportunity to welcome new members. Table 4. Example of a relatively  “successful” greenway 27 *Source: AuthorAs I have found, the relatively “unsuccessful” greenways, however, are not  completely the opposite of the successful greenways. The perception of an unsuccessful greenway can be that the community is less active and doesn’t  follow a structured process to maintain the space. It  can be a reflection of either the lack of neighbours in coming together as a group, or the social disruption within the neighborhood due to lack of agreement, lack of consultation and consensus on how and when the work should be done, or the poor inclusion of new neighbors in the greenway. The lack of communication within the group, the community, and the City of Vancouver is another characteristic of these neighborhood greenways. Nonetheless, these neighborhood greenways still exist  and have somewhat active individuals committed to maintaining what  it  is already there, and sometimes have used the space for different  reasons than a greenway specifically (e.g. food production). 28 “It doesn’t just draw in whoever lives in your block, each selects to be in this group, and the reason why we select to be in this group is because we are progressive politically, we are on the left politically, and service to the community is kind of almost the requisite people should be doing. It is not an accident we are friends” – Volunteer 5 “The greenway seems to be a little separate from other things…I am not knocking on doors inviting people to participate. It is a private thing. [Having] a sub-committee that comes go knock door to door encouraging people to participate might be good” - Volunteer “It helps if people are connected in other ways. If we “There are enough of us, if someone cannot give time [to work], there are others out there to doing it. That’s why [the greenway] persists”  - Volunteer 3 people to participate in work parties,  I invite people I know, and we all do that. Each of us has connections [in the neighborhood]” – Volunteer 4Table 5. Description of a greenway under the “required attention” category Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway • Located in Strathcona, along the south side of Atlantic Street to Malkin Avenue, near the industrial lands • Strathcona is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Vancouver and one of the most culturally diverse • Before its creation, neighbors cleaned up the area to avoid illegal activities including garbage dumping, prostitution, and drugs • It used a neighborhood planning process, held at the Community Centre,  as a platform to discuss the idea of creating the NG • There is no formal group – the work is done informally by some neighbors • There is no funding. The maintenance of the NG is done with individual resources • There is no communication with the Green Streets Program Coordinator • There are no partnerships • There are no local events *Source: Author  The findings in this sub-section are supported by experiences of planning and implementing greenways in other parts of the world expressed in the literature review. The success of a NG relies on proper consultation processes and reaching agreement between the two parties - the community and the City - before the implementation of a NG. However, once it  is implemented and the responsibility of maintaining the greenway relies on the community group, the involvement  of the City is never finished.  A continuous coordination and collaboration structure is the key to the success of a NG initiative and it must be established between both parties for its continuity.  In summary, this illustrative analysis suggests that it  would be useful to elaborate more specific categories and associated criteria for representing the status of NG initiatives along with associated support strategies. As mentioned before, the social context of the neighborhood plays an important  role in the creation of the NG, and this information should be included in the proposed criteria to better categorize NGs, and identify the type of support  needed. Table 6 is an example of two designations that might represent the NG: “minimal support” instead of successful, and “required attention” instead of unsuccessful. The “required attention” might have specific points that need to be addressed by either the City or the community groups: communication, funding, 29Cedar Cottage    John Street   Atlantic     Napier ✓ conflict  resolution, and partnerships. This approach is only a preliminary idea, one that  participants involved in NG projects and the City could come together to refine and develop in terms of appropriate assessment criteria and associated strategies. A specific proposal for advancing this idea is included in the Recommendations section. Table 6. Example of categories and criteria to represent NG * Source: Author 30 Figures 10 and 11. Napier Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author) Figures 12 and 13. Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author)“We get to know our neighbors...there is a value in community bonding with the idea of a Village” – Volunteer at Atlantic 5.3  SWOT Analysis The SWOT analysis is conducted to identify more specifically the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the Neighbourhood Greenways in Vancouver (Table 6). The strengths and weaknesses express the internal factors that contribute to the satisfactory or poor results in achieving goals set by the group. The opportunities and threats represent the external factors that maximize or minimize desired outcomes and identify areas that require attention and guide future actions towards improvement. This SWOT analysis provides a snapshot of what is known from the qualitative interviews and is in no way intended to be comprehensive or all-encompassing of all NGs in Vancouver. It is designed to make how NGs are functioning more understandable through a preliminary analysis that can be refined through further collaborative research by key participants. 5.3.1 Strengths The strengths identified by participants are in terms of the interest in making the neighborhood more connected and more attractive. Interested neighbors come together to work on improving what used to be a neglected piece of land. Having a group of people organizing themselves, informally or formally, strengthens the social ties at different levels among individuals from the same community or other communities, local businesses, government agencies, etc. 31 “We spend so much time working in the greenway so we have a chance to meet people that are regular users of the greenway”- Volunteer 1 at Napier “In terms of what makes me stick with this project? Cultivating belief and community…wanting to really know my neighbors and provide opportunities for people to meet one another, and have those human connections.  In order to do that, I have to be able to really work in understanding the competing perspectives and interests. Cultivate an open heart” – Volunteer at Cedar Cottage “People that are part of the neighborhood, and from other neighborhoods, were interested in the project, so they donated their skills to plan and design the greenway. For example, a local landscape architect was interested in the project and donated the landscape design. He didn't live in the community but was interested in the project” – Volunteer at Cedar Cottage “Neighbors started to understand the differences between land that belongs to Parks Board,  what belongs to Engineering Services, Real Estate, and other City departments…The plot has street utilities running underneath, so it can never be sold as a building lot.” – Volunteer at Cedar Cottage The participants also identified land ownership, in this case owned by Engineering Services, as a strength. Since Engineering Services is the overseeing body for this land, they could also use this institutional backing to promote the Program using different platforms to communicate the opportunity to create a greenway in their community: There are also the perceptions of contributions from volunteers with different skills that also reinforce the activities the group does in the greenway. 5.3.2  Weaknesses However, not everybody involved agreed with each other. The collaboration has been weakened by the poor communication between neighbors when working in the greenway. Lack of communication, consultation, and agreement in what has to be done has created, in some cases, a social disruption that has been very difficult to overcome: 32 “The biggest platform to discuss this thing was at the Strathcona Community Centre, there were meetings about what was going on with the City. We discussed parks and there were extensive meetings about the zoning of the neighborhood…[the piece of] land was owned by City,  it is too small to sell…The opportunity was available from the City of Vancouver…they installed it and the neighbors will take care of it, I thought it was a good deal” – Volunteer at Atlantic “I got mad at one of my neighbors because he didn’t trim trees properly” – Volunteer at Atlantic “At some point, the greenway got neglected, and new families moved to the neighborhood.  A new neighbor thought not many people was taking care of it so she applied for one of the Olympic Legacy Grants to revitalize the greenway. This neighbor thought she did consultation to the community, but the rest didn’t think so…her problem was she lacked adequate appreciation of the historical context. There was a huge outrage, a lot of threatening and name-calling. She and her family left the neighborhood. I think what we have is still an injured community and that is kind of sad” – Volunteer at Cedar Cottage The lack of training in topics like plant trimming, can affect the quality of the plans presented for the greenway. At the same time, the lack of training in cross-cultural communication in highly diverse communities can affect the inclusion of new members needs. 5.3.3 Opportunities There are many opportunities to improve what is already in place.  The main opportunity identified was in regards to communication. The use of social media such as blogs, email, address, etc., by the groups can help to inform interested individuals about what is going on. 33 Figure 14. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Greenway (Photo: Author) “We had a neighbor [non-English speaker] who thought the project was about a parking lot instead of a park...we could have support in the future from someone in the City with experience in community facilitation and cross-cultural facilitation…[the greenway] has to be friendly for people from the entire neighborhood demographics, with an atmosphere of respect for everyone, even if you don’t speak English”- Volunteer at Cedar Cottage “Strathcona one of the oldest neighborhoods in Vancouver. We had a wave of immigration, all kind of people from all over the world. This neighborhood might represent their first home or the first round in the latter in Canada…there was opposition on the streets: an older Chinese man was opposed, I think it might’ve been a kind of a feng shui matter, the quote I remember from him is that if you put this thing in, bandits will hide in the trees” - Volunteer at Atlantic Neighborhood Greenway “We are working with different groups…local businesses like Drive Organic has offered help by picking up garbage bags and putting them in their garbage containers; they have also started a compost bin that the greenway can use” Volunteer 6 at Napier “We have a blog, an email address and a email distribution list. I send emails to invite people to participate in work parties, between 4-5 people show up. But even if there are not many people participating, people appreciate to be informed of what we are doing in the greenway” – Volunteer 2 at Napier At the same time, there are opportunities to build other partnerships with local institutions such as churches, community centres, or local businesses: Diversity of people in the community is seen as an opportunity to engage newcomers, or just diverse perspectives, into the work done in the NG. This can be a threat if groups have minimal or no experience in cross-cultural communication: 34 Figure 15. Napier Neighborhood Greenway’s Blog (Photo: Penny Street - Volunteer)“If the City stops supporting them, or if there isn’t enough people (e.g. young people) to maintain it, the greenway might disappear”- Volunteer 6 at Napier “ T h e r e are there other opportunities to use the greenway: the stone soup festival or authorized yard sales, bicycle sales, etc.  We make sure there are a lot of positive activities in the greenway” – Volunteer 4 at Napier Participating in different public events organized by the City, or local events are seen by participants as a way to promote the Program and the activities that each of the groups do.  There are some neighborhoods that are currently undergoing a planning process, such as Grandview- Woodlands, that can be used by the City as a platform to inform residents about the Program and to involve more individuals in existing greenways, or motivate individuals to create a greenway. 5.3.4 Threats Lack of public engagement and commitment are the biggest threats to NGs. As people move in and out, the amount of people who are committed to volunteer can fluctuate, and if the groups are not open enough to welcome new members, the continuity of the greenway can be in danger. The lack of financial resources is also threatening the continuity of the greenway. Volunteers sometimes have to invest in tools to maintain the greenway, resulting in an extra expense that many individuals are not willing to take.  The inability of groups to find other sources of funding is a reflection of the lack of formal organization and consensus to determine what needs to be done and how. 35 “Currently there is a planning and development process of the entire neighborhood led by the City of Vancouver, this can be an opportunity to promote the greenway”- Volunteer 1 at NapierStrengths Weaknesses • Community interested in making the neighborhood more attractive • Connections or links to main streets or amenities • Educational opportunities for users • Good selection of plants • Social interaction with other communities and its members • Community partnerships • Strong and supportive group of people • People with different skills • Land owned by the City • City’s support with clean-ups • People moving in and out of the neighborhood • Lack of commitment – energy goes up and down • Inadequate training (e.g. plant trimming, cross- cultural communication, etc) • Poor communication between neighbors • Sometimes it operates in isolation • Lack of leadership • Vulnerability of the community (e.g. homelessness) • Personal interests held too strongly • People in the right vicinity keep it for themselves and make it less inviting Opportunities Threats • Use of social media to communicate activities and connect people • Diversity within the community • Community events (e.g. work parties, City clean- up events, car free days) • Use of Community Centres for meetings • Collaboration with other community organizations • Use more empty lots owned by the City to create greenways • Community planning events run by the City can be used to plan, design, and implement new greenways • Littering and illegal dumping • Invasive species of plants • Apathy among neighbors • Lack of public consultation and agreement • The continuity of city’s staff. • Vandalism • Inadequate communication with the City • Lack of better space in the area • Weak core group • Cultural differences • Waiting for the City to do things • Funding • Minimal inclusion of new members Table 7. Preliminary SWOT analysis * Source: Author Table 7 summarizes the participant’s perspective of what are the factors that strengthen or weaken NGs, the opportunities to improve the initiative, and what the groups and the City need to pay more attention to when planning NGs. From this analysis and from the literature review, the City and groups need to pay special attention to the planning processes, coordination and collaboration (partnerships), and public involvement. However, the most  relevant finding from this analysis is the role the neighborhood issues, specifically social issues, play in generating interest among community members to create greenways, and how they are shaped according to the neighborhood needs. As mentioned before, there are different  factors when planning greenways that may vary according to the social, environmental, and economical context of the neighborhood, making each of the existing NGs unique. Because of this, there is no one formula that can be replied to either improve or create future NGs. 366. Recommendations There are a number of steps that might be undertaken to better encourage the development of NG in Vancouver. Understanding and engaging local groups of people by addressing their own needs, using their own capacities, is important for the city. The existence of this Program is crucial to accomplish the goals stated in the Greenest City Action Plan, which intends to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. The Neighborhood Greenway Program is a big step for this city in including and engaging communities in making their neighbourhood a better place to live. Both the City and NG groups need to work together in identifying the challenges that are threatening the development of greenways, and looking at possible opportunities to improve what is put in place. Based on the results of the literature review and insights from the initial analysis of interviews with the participants in Vancouver initiatives, a number of recommendations for enhanced support of NGs can be made. The recommendations reflect the importance of strengthening the collaborative approaches among stakeholders and the new opportunities that this can bring: • Connections with the  City are very important. Organizing individual meetings between the City’s staff and NG groups can be a way for the City to connect  closely with the groups, and show interest  and support  for the program. This can also show to groups that, even though the work must come from them, the City is there to back up the group when needed. It is the space and time to share concerns, needs, successes, or just  to share stories, and minimize the gap between policy and communities. • Promoting the creation of local partnerships. New partnerships for greenways would help to overcome the problems posed by the diversity of interests among stakeholders. The continuity of the NG should not be exclusively delegated to the City or the community groups. Instead, there should be a wider reach. According to their capabilities, both the City and community groups should make a greater effort to include community centres, churches, local businesses, schools, and other organized bodies, in the group's activities. Thus knowledge and experience could be brought to the support of groups and spaces provided for meetings.  Making compost, 37litter collection, recycling, or just advertising, can be some of the benefits of such coordinated efforts.  • Adequate financial resources must be available.  Funding the greenway activities is critical to support the activities in the greenway. The use of specialized tools is necessary at times (e.g. mowing machines) but because of the financial constraints, groups have no access to them. The new coordinating bodies could expand the access to resources. The City could guide groups in seeking new opportunities to partner with other organizations. • Establish more specific criteria to describe the current status and support strategies needed for greenways. As identified in the literature review and the findings, the specific neighborhood issues play an important  role in motivating the creation of NGs and its challenges. This research proposes a) two designations that could represent the status of the NGs, and b) specific points that need to be addressed by either the City or the groups. These criteria can help the staff person managing the Neighbourhood Greenways Program to determine the type of support needed by NGs to succeed. • Promoting the use of different communication tools. As mentioned in Section 5, the use of social media is one way to inform individuals about the work that is being done in the NG. Having the City promote and support groups in the creation of blogs, can increase the participation of people from the neighborhood and other neighborhoods in the group. By having a group email address, or other type of blogs (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc), groups can better connect with the community in general. This information can be part of the existing website Engineering Services maintains for the Program. • Support community assets through a mentoring program. Participants recognized the need for contributions by individuals with different skills – architects, landscape architects, community developers, etc, who would be involved in the planning and design processes. By strengthening community assets, groups would be able in the future to better address the varied issues related to the design of the greenway or conflicts that come up.  The City of Vancouver could support the existing greenways through a professionals mentoring program for both existing and potential new greenways. Trained professionals can significantly move forward greenway planning efforts, facilitate collaborative processes, and communicate planning ideas into common visions. This links mentors and mentees of NG on a volunteer basis. 38• Adequate support in cross-cultural communication and conflict resolution. As the city’s diversity increases, cross-cultural communication becomes more and more important if different ethnic groups are to be involved in ways that increase participation; thus groups become more diverse and represent the demographics of the entire neighborhood. This expertise is key in overcoming social disruption that reduces participation. The City can coordinate efforts with other departments, such as Social Planning, to bring together staff members to assist community groups in developing ideas to work in a multicultural environment. • Advertising the Neighborhood Greenway Program. The City of Vancouver can better advertise the NG Program by using different tools to reach out to communities. o City’s website – The Engineering Services website describes the nature of the NG Program and the groups that already exist. However, there is not enough information about the process of creating a greenway, and this is important to answer questions such as “How to do it?”  Sufficient information should be made available through planning guidelines that explains step-by-step the process of creating the greenway, including information of the existing NG and how they did it. Having this guideline available in different languages would be ideal so as to reach out to diverse communities. An application form online may be helpful as well. o Formal and informal events – Currently, some neighborhoods are undergoing a planning process to update their Community Plans - Fairview, Grandview- Woodland, Kitsilano, Marpole, and the West End. This formal process could be used as platforms to promote the creation of NG. Informal events such as car-free day, earth day, yard sales, or other community events, can help to advertise current projects that need more public participation, and to engage new individuals in the creation of greenways. • Spaces to exchange experiences. Some programs at Engineering Services throw annual events to celebrate the accomplishments of the people involved in projects (e.g. Green Street Garden Party). The Neighborhood Greenway Program could have a similar celebration to give recognition to the work volunteers do in their NGs. At the same time, it could be a space to bring all volunteers together, share stories and experiences, and create networks that will 39support their own activities in the greenway. This builds connections between City-groups and community groups. • Integrate the Neighborhood Greenway Program into other initiatives. The Greenest  City Action Plan recognizes the short, medium and long-term actions necessary to make Vancouver the greenest  city in the world. Goal No. 6 “Access to Nature” states that every person should live within a five-minute walk of a park, beach, or greenway, and the conversion of street right- of-ways into mini-parks, as well as identification of land to build new parks in neighborhoods, are high priority (Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, 2011). 407. Conclusions This research has identified various aspects of greenway development and implementation in the City of Vancouver that affect the social, economical and environmental sustainability of neighborhoods. The literature review expresses what  is known internationally in regards of greenways, and describes what are the possible issues Vancouver needs to pay more attention to when planning and implementing greenways.  From the interviews conducted with participants, it was possible to describe the critical elements that  define local NGs in Vancouver. Notably the creation of greenways are in response to issues related to illegal and socially disruptive activities, as well as providing better space for individuals to interact with each other and with nature. A number of factors are challenging greenway planning and implementation in Vancouver, as elsewhere: public participation and engagement; adequate communication, coordination; partnerships; inclusion of new volunteers; and poor organizational structure within groups. The recommendations reflect  some of the ideas that participants think are necessary for the improvement and continuity of the Program.  The City of Vancouver and the community groups should work together to find ways to address the issues identified in this research. The future of the Neighborhood Greenway Program is the responsibility of both parties involved. A better and more active role of the City is necessary to support  community-led groups, and these groups should contribute by finding ways to commit, communicate, and include new members.  One of the most important messages from this research is the power community groups have to build a better place to interact  with each other and nature. This type of initiative can bring together people of diverse backgrounds, different  ways of thinking, but with the same ideal: make Vancouver and its communities more sustainable. If neighborhood greenways have the potential to become an important  feature of the Vancouver landscape, collaborative strategies to manage green spaces must  be facilitated by the City, with adequate coordination between the City and community groups, and with benefits for all Vancouverites. 41REFERENCES  • Ahern, J. (1995). Greenways as a planning strategy. Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 131-55. • British Columbia Statistics (2006). British Columbia immigration and diversity profiles. Available at h t t p : / / w w w. w e l c o m e b c . c a / w b c / communities/facts_trends/profiles/2006/ region2/greater_vancouver/vancouver/ • Bryant, M.M. (2006). Urban landscape conservation and the role of ecological greenways at local and metropolitan scales. Landscape and Urban Planning 76, 23-44. • City of Vancouver ✴ Engineering Services: greenways/index.htm greenways/neighbourhood/ ✴Greenest City Action Plan (2011). Final report. ✴Greenest City 2020: ✴ Social planning: socialplanning/initiatives/multicult/ index.htm ✴ Urban Landscape Task Force (1992). Greenways, public ways. Final report. ✴ Understanding Vancouver: census/2006/index.htm • Cooper, M. (2006). Social sustainability in Vancouver. Canadian Policy Research Networks. Ottawa, ON, Pp. 86. • Crawshaw, P. (2009). The future of greenways in Sydney. University of South New Wales. Available at schools_and_engagement/.../_notes/ 5A2_41.pdf • El Adli Imam, K.Z. (2006). Role of urban greenway in planning residential communities: a case study from Egypt. Landscape and Urban Planning 76, 192-209. • Erickson, D. (1997). Implementation of metropolitan greenway networks: seven case studies. Planning and Zoning News, Michigan, US. 15-20 • Friends of Czech Greenways. Available at gw.html • Hellmund, P.C. and D.S. Smith (2006). Designing Greenways: Sustainable Landscapes for Nature and People. Island Press, Washington, DC. 42• Hoover, A.P. and M.A. Shannon (1995). Building greenway policies within a participatory democracy framework. Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 433-59. • Ignatieva, M.; Stewart, G.H.; Meurk, C. (2001). Planning and design of ecological networks in urban areas. Landscape and Ecological Engineering 7, 17-25. • Linehan, J.; Gross, M.; Finn, J. (1995). Greenway planning: developing a landscape ecological network approach. Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 179-193. • MacDonald, E. (2008). The efficacy of long-range physical planning: the case of Vancouver. Journal of planning History, 1-39. • Miller, J.R. (2005). Biodiversity conservation and the extinction of experience. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Volume 20, No. 8, 430-434. • Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Province of British Columbia; Larnac Consultants; Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada (1995).(1995). Community Greenways: linking communities to country, and people to nature. The Stewardship Series. Available at  http:// st_series/index.php/2 •  O’Neill, M.D. (2005). Designing and ecological experience. Lessons and recommendations for the Helmcken/Comox Greenway. School of Community and Regional Planning. Faculty of Graduate Studies. University of British Columbia. • Quayle, M. (1995). Urban greenways and public ways: realizing public ideas in a fragmented world. Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 461-75. • Ryder, B. (1995). Greenway planning and growth managemen t : par tners in conservation? Landscape and Urban Planning. 33, 417–432. • Searns, R.M. (1995). The evolution of greenways as an adaptive urban landscape form. Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 65-80. • US Department of Interior (1995). Economic impacts of protecting rivers, trails, and greenway corridors. National Park Service. Fourth Edition. Available at 43APPENDIX A - UBC BEHAVIORAL ETHICS REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL 44APPENDIX B - INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE Interview questions – NG groups 1.   Can you describe the planning process your group had to go through to create the NG? 2.   How the community members were involved in the process? 3.   What role does the NG play in the community? 4.   What kind of partnership do you have with the City of Vancouver? 5.   What are the key elements for a NG to succeed? 6.   How does a community group successfully maintain itself over time? 7.   How can the city demonstrate to interested communities how to establish NG? 8.   What are the group’s current strengths to implement NG? 9.   What are the group’s weaknesses to implement NG? 10. What are the opportunities available to maximize the strengths you identified? 11. What are the barriers that limit your NG and could become worse in the future? 12. Do you know the existence of other NG in the city? 13. What recommendations do you have for those groups who want to start a NG? Interview questions – City of Vancouver 1. Since the program started, what are the most relevant accomplishments? 2. What are the procedures and requirements to create a NG? 3. How is the planning process for the designing and implementation of NG with the community?  4. How does the City approaches the following topics related to greenways: a. Public involvement b. Jurisdictional boundaries c. Property rights d. Funding 5. What’s the relationship of this initiative with other initiatives such as City Greenways? Green streets? Greenest City Action Plan? Or others? 6. What kind of communication tools, if any, does the City use to reach out more communities? 7. What are the city’s current strengths to implement NG? 8. What are the city’s weaknesses to implement NG? 9. What are the opportunities available to maximize the strengths you identified? 10. What are the barriers that limit NG and could become worse in the future? 11. What do you think are the key elements for a NG to succeed? 45


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