JOURNAL OF URBAN PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT, vol.140, no.1, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
The protection of natural areas is one of the key factors considered in the development of urban areas, which also provides significant recreational opportunities for citizens. Furthermore, these protected natural areas are also important because they are habitats for living beings. The integration of a city with the natural environment will support social and economic development and improve the ecological structure for sustainable urban development. In this regard, greenways and ecological networks are habitats of living beings. Greenways also limit urban development. In this study, greenways were created for Malta by using Euclidean distance mapping (EDM) so that sites in Malta would be protected from urban development. The protected natural areas of Malta were integrated with cities by the EDM method. EDM is an application of a geographic information system (GIS) and was used to restrict urban development with natural areas. In this study, an ecological network was established with the EDM method among the protected areas of Malta. One of the most important results of this study is the connection of landscape areas of Malta that are very highly sensitive and highly sensitive with highly valued landscape areas through a greenway network. Another important result was that sensitive landscape area crossing over the island in the southwest-northeast direction overlapped the buffer zone formed by the EDM. The EDM method revealed that highly sensitive landscape areas of Malta can be preserved. EDM will make it possible to holistically approach the protected areas of Malta. It is concluded that greenways created by the EDM method contributed to sustainability of the protected areas and preserve the sensitive landscape areas of Malta. As a consequence, this method created a series of connected greenways that will both limit urban expansion and offer Malta a more livable environment.