Workshop at UMass Amherst Jan. 23 Will Focus on Creating a New England Greenway Network

AMHERST, Mass. - U.S. Rep. Robert Weygand (D-Rhode Island), the first landscape architect elected to the U.S. Congress, and David Burwell, president of Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC), will be the principal speakers at a University of Massachusetts workshop to be held Sat. Jan. 23 at Hills Center. The day-long workshop will focus on the creation of a New England greenway network. The event is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the profession of landscape architecture.

Weygand will speak at 10:15 a.m. in Hills room 105. Prior to his election to Congress three years ago, Weygand previously served as lieutenant governor and was instrumental in the creation of the statewide Greenway Plan for Rhode Island, along with legislation to implement the proposal.

Burwell will speak during lunch, from noon-2 p.m. at the Newman Center. RTC has been a major force in converting more than 10,000 miles of former railways into bike trails in the last decade.

The workshop is sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects, whose Centennial Community Assistance Team (CAT) is directing the effort to create, disseminate, and promote a plan for a New England greenway. Julius G. Fabos, UMass professor emeritus of landscape architecture and regional planning (LARP) and a well-known authority on greenway planning, is co-chair of the CAT project. Mark Lindhult and Robert Ryan, both of LARP, and Valdis Zusmanis, a Boston-based landscape architect, are also project co-chairs.

Greenways are conservation lands or areas used for recreational or cultural purposes. A greenway network is formed when such areas are linked together.

Says Fabos: "During the 19th century, landscape architects focused on park design; in the 20th century, the emphasis was on preserving open space. As we move into the 21st century, the major thrust will be greenway planning. In New England, 50 to 80 percent of the network of greenways and green spaces has already been established. What we need to do now is make connections between them to create a regional network. We hope to devise a framework that will serve as a model for America."

About 80-100 individuals, including members of the CAT advisory board from the six New England states, students, and professionals, are expected to attend the workshop.