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This paper examines research and theories which support the argument that within the context of the urban ecosystem, natural areas such as parks, greenways, and stream corridors as places for recreation and leisure have potential to provide a multitude of benefits to the health and quality of life of people living in and visiting urban environments. These benefits contribute to those which are already being realized in more natural areas, such as restoration from mental fatigue and improved sense of wellbeing. This is important because most people in the United States and many other parts of the word live in urban areas, and the number is growing (Grimm, Feath, Golubewski, Redman, Wu, Bai & Briggs, 2008). To ensure that this growing population has access to opportunities that could contribute to a healthy and satisfying quality of life, all potential resources for recreation and leisure, such as those mentioned above, should be explored for possible utilization.
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