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

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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    Neighborhoods	
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  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.  i  Acknowledgments 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.  ii  Table 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……………………………………………………........... 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. Methodology…………………………………………………………………………... 3.1 Literature Review………………………………………………..…………… 3.2 Use of Case Study……………………………………………….…………… 3.3 Data Collection………………………………………………………..……… 3.4 Research Limitations…………………………………………………………. 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………………………………………….. 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…………………………………………………….……….. 6. Recommendations……………………………………………………………………..  1 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 9 10 10 10 11 12 13 13 17 19 21 23 23 26 31 31 32 33 35 37  7. Conclusions……………………………………………………………………………..  41  References……………………………………………………………………………........  42  Appendix A – UBC Behavioral Ethics Review Board Approval…………………………...  44  Appendix B – Interview Questionnaire……………………………………………………..  45    iii  List 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  iv  List 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  v  1. 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.  2  2. 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),  3  • 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.  4  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”:  5  • 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).  6  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 nongovernmental 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).  7  2.3.2 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.  8  2.4 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.  9  3. 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.  10  3.3 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  12  strategies 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.  13  4. 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  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. Percentage of total immigrant population (before 1961 to 2006)  !"#$  '("!$  %"&$ '(")$  ))"*$ '%")$  +,-./,$'0('$  '0('$1.$'0!#$  '0!'$1.$'0%#$  '0%'$1.$'00#$  '00'$1.$2###$  2##'$1.$2##($  * Source: BC Stats, 2006.  Figures 3. Statistical data on visible minorities as in 2006. 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.  15  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.  16  4.2 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 multiuse 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.  17  	
    In 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 (  	
    There 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  *Source: City of Vancouver (  19  Table 1. Description of existing Neighborhood Greenways (NG’s) Name  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 culde-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  * Source: City of Vancouver (  20  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 Requirements • 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. * 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).  21  Figure 6. Description of planning process  Organized group and idea submission Collaborative planning and design  Project Proposal  (City & Community)  Determine whether available land (owned) by Engineering Services  Design implementation (City)  Project and Budget Submission to Council for Approval  City’s support when needed  Community maintenance  * 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.  22  5. 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 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 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  Figure 7. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood  industrial warehouses [that] was neglected” – Volunteer at Atlantic  Greenway (Photo: Author)  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 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 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  24  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 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 interesting  property  neighborhood  value  more  There is s sense of order and safety It responds to neighborhood Needs  *Source: Author     “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       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:  “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  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  Figure 9. Food gardening at Atlantic  vulnerable to these problems adapt public spaces to a  Neighborhood Greenway  form of NG to mitigate the impacts of such issues in the  (Photo: Author)  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  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 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 • F u n d i n g t h r o u g h t h e E a s t Va n c o u v e r To u r o f P r i v a t e G a r d e n s ( 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  *Source: Author  27  “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  “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 4  As 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). “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  28  Table 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,  29  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 Neighborhood	
  Greenway  Minimal	
  support  Required	
  attention  Cedar Cottage      Communication Funding Con-lict	
  resolution  John Street     Communication Funding  Atlantic       Communication Funding Collaboration	
  City-­‐group Partnerships  Napier  ✓  .  * Source: Author  Figures 12 and 13. Atlantic Neighborhood  Figures 10 and 11. Napier Neighborhood  Greenway (Photo: Author)  Greenway (Photo: Author)  30  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.  “We spend so much time working in the  “We get to know our neighbors...there is  greenway so we have a chance to meet people  a value in community bonding with the idea  that are regular users of the greenway”-  of a Village” – Volunteer at Atlantic  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  31     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: “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 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  There are also the perceptions of contributions from volunteers with different skills that also reinforce the activities the group does in the greenway. “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  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  “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  Figure 14. Cedar Cottage Neighborhood  the neighborhood. I think what we have is still an  Greenway  injured community and that is kind of sad” – Volunteer  (Photo: Author)  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. “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  “I got mad at one of my neighbors because he didn’t trim trees properly” – Volunteer at Atlantic  demographics, with an atmosphere of respect for everyone, even if you don’t speak English”- Volunteer at Cedar Cottage  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  “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 Figure 15. Napier Neighborhood Greenway’s Blog (Photo: Penny Street - Volunteer)     At the same time, there are opportunities to build other partnerships with local institutions  such as churches, community centres, or local businesses:  “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     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:  “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  34     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 GrandviewWoodlands, 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. “There  “Currently  are there other opportunities to  there  use the greenway: the stone soup  development  is  a  planning  process  of  the  and entire  festival or authorized yard sales, bicycle  neighborhood led by the City of Vancouver,  sales, etc. We make sure there are a lot of  this can be an opportunity to promote the  positive activities in the greenway” –  greenway”- Volunteer 1 at Napier  Volunteer 4 at Napier  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. “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       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  Table 7. Preliminary SWOT analysis  Strengths  • 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  Weaknesses  • 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  • Use of social media to communicate activities and • • • • • •  connect people Diversity within the community Community events (e.g. work parties, City cleanup 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  Threats  • • • • • • • • • • • • •  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  * 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.  36  6. 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,  37  litter 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, GrandviewWoodland, 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  39  support 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 rightof-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).  40  7. 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.  41  REFERENCES • Ahern, J. (1995). Greenways as a planning  ✴ Urban Landscape Task Force (1992).  strategy. Landscape and Urban Planning  Greenways, public ways. Final report.  33, 131-55.  ✴ Understanding Vancouver:  • British Columbia Statistics (2006). British  Columbia immigration and diversity  census/2006/index.htm  profiles. Available at  • Cooper, M. (2006). Social sustainability in  h t t p : / / w w w. w e l c o m e b c . c a / w b c /  Vancouver. Canadian Policy Research  communities/facts_trends/profiles/2006/  Networks. Ottawa, ON, Pp. 86.  region2/greater_vancouver/vancouver/  • Crawshaw, P. (2009). The future of  greenways in Sydney. University of South  • Bryant, M.M. (2006). Urban landscape  New Wales. Available at  conservation and the role of ecological  greenways at local and metropolitan  schools_and_engagement/.../_notes/  scales. Landscape and Urban Planning 76,  5A2_41.pdf  23-44.  • El Adli Imam, K.Z. (2006). Role of urban  • City of Vancouver  greenway in planning residential  ✴ Engineering Services:  communities: a case study from Egypt.  Landscape and Urban Planning 76,  greenways/index.htm  192-209.  • Erickson, D. (1997). Implementation of  metropolitan greenway networks: seven  greenways/neighbourhood/  case studies. Planning and Zoning News,  ✴Greenest City Action Plan (2011). Final  Michigan, US. 15-20  report.  • Friends of Czech Greenways. Available at  ✴Greenest City 2020:  gw.html  ✴ Social planning:  • Hellmund, P.C. and D.S. Smith (2006).  Designing Greenways: Sustainable  socialplanning/initiatives/multicult/  Landscapes for Nature and People. Island  index.htm  Press, Washington, DC.  42  • Hoover, A.P. and M.A. Shannon (1995).  Regional Planning. Faculty of Graduate  Building greenway policies within a  Studies. University of British Columbia.  participatory democracy framework.  • Quayle, M. (1995). Urban greenways and  Landscape and Urban Planning 33, 433-59.  public ways: realizing public ideas in a  • Ignatieva, M.; Stewart, G.H.; Meurk, C.  fragmented world. Landscape and Urban  (2001). Planning and design of ecological  Planning 33, 461-75.  networks in urban areas. Landscape and  • Ryder, B. (1995). Greenway planning and  Ecological Engineering 7, 17-25.  g ro w t h m a n a g e m e n t : p a r t n e r s i n  • Linehan, J.; Gross, M.; Finn, J. (1995).  conservation? Landscape and Urban  Greenway planning: developing a  Planning. 33, 417–432.  landscape ecological network approach.  • Searns, R.M. (1995). The evolution of  Landscape and Urban Planning 33,  greenways as an adaptive urban landscape  179-193.  form. Landscape and Urban Planning 33,  • MacDonald, E. (2008). The efficacy of  65-80.  long-range physical planning: the case of  • US Department of Interior (1995).  Vancouver. Journal of planning History,  Economic impacts of protecting rivers,  1-39.  trails, and greenway corridors. National  • Miller, J.R. (2005). Biodiversity  Park Service. Fourth Edition. Available at  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  43  APPENDIX A - UBC BEHAVIORAL ETHICS REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL  44  APPENDIX 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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