The City of Roanoke, Virginia prizes the high quality of life that its citizens enjoy, and the City’s leaders and department staff recognize that health and the physical environment are key components. Health may be thought of in two ways: as the wellbeing or fitness of the ecosystems which comprise the urban environment and as the wellbeing or fitness of people living in Roanoke. There is one place in particular where the intersection of environmental health and human health is most obvious, and that is a greenway. The regional Roanoke greenways effort has been enormously successful and well-received by the public. Through their volunteer network of 500+ members and over 23,000 cumulative man-hours, this trained volunteer catalyst provides the backbone of our greenways & active-transport system. In fact, greenways and walking/biking trails ranked first among regional citizens for park facility needs in a survey of Roanoke residents conducted for the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update (2007).
This case study was submitted to the Alliance for Innovation for consideration at the 2010 Transforming Local Government Conference.