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Multifunctional greenway networks in the rural-urban fringe – a potential way of accessing highly productive agricultural areas

Gyllin, Mats; Haaland, Christine; Larsson, Anders; Peterson, Anna


The effects of urban sprawl is growing in some expansive regions dominated by highly productive arable land. New residential areas are established on former farmland, creating new environments that are difficult to access for the new population, as well as for other visitors, equestrians and the already struggling wildlife flora and fauna. The southernmost region of Sweden is a typical example with urban areas expanding into vast, open agricultural fields, leaving little space for recreation or biodiversity. A special problem is the growing number of horse owners, who find it increasingly difficult to access the landscape in a safe and suitable manner. In a multi-disciplinary research project, the potentials of the 'greenway' concept as a stabilizing sustainability factor in the urban-rural fringe are investigated regarding aspects of regional planning, farming economy, local biodiversity, local recreation and cultural heritage. A few narrow greenways already exist in the region of southernmost Sweden, but their potential has not been fully exploited, as they are almost entirely aimed at providing footpaths and riding paths, and in some cases are not directly connected to residential areas. Funding is another problem, since there are no regular subsidies that cover this particular area. The main focus of the project is to create design models that integrate the functions mentioned above in networks of narrow strips that would still allow for efficient crop production as well as urban expansion

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The XXIII European Society For Rural Sociology Congress Vaasa, Finland 17-21 August 2009: RE-INVENTING THE RURAL BETWEEN THE SOCIAL AND THE NATURAL