Greenway to the future? : the use of greenways in road management : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University
Traditionally, roads have been viewed adversely in regard to the environment, and are considered one of the most serious threats to the landscape fragmentation process. This thesis examines the applicability of the greenway concept in New Zealand for enhancing the roading network, while providing connections to the surrounding landscape. Derived from the discipline of landscape ecology, the greenway concept advocates for a spatially structured landscape where corridors and stepping stones are designed to connect isolated patches. Several methods have been used to gather information for this thesis. A comprehensive literature review provides a general overview of the greenway concept and the landscape and roading management regimes in New Zealand. Three case studies are investigated in two research phases. Firstly, institutional documents relevant to each case study are analysed to identify policy constraints and opportunities for greenway application in these areas. Map analysis constitutes the second analytical phase. The connectivity concept is applied to each case study area to determine the extent of connectivity within the case study landscapes, and the future implications of utilising roads as greenways in New Zealand. Several conclusions were reached in this thesis. The greenway and connectivity concepts may be more applicable to significantly modified and fragmented landscapes than landscapes which are less modified. The following benefits may be derived from applying these concepts to New Zealand roads and landscape. First, connections between landscape elements are enhanced. Second, the connectivity concept can be used to prioritise landscape elements which require conservation. Third, the greenway and connectivity concepts can be used to mitigate the adverse environmental effects of the roading network. However, the greenway and connectivity concepts are limited in their ability to influence road design - due to the overriding requirements of road safety. Greenway roads require extensive policy coordination between the agencies involved in landscape and road management. While DoC and regional councils offer potential opportunities to achieve such integration in New Zealand, the present policy situation reveals significant gaps in coordination, despite comprehensive requirements by the Resource Management Act 1991. Therefore, the application of the greenway concept to roads and landscapes in New Zealand requires changes within the present management regime.