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Delivering these benefits can have wider socio-economic consequences as restored urban water bodies create an attractive environment which encourages recreation, boost physical and mental health, encourage business investment and tourism and enhance property values. This contributes to green infrastructure, local biodiversity action plans, wellbeing and regeneration goals (Natural Scotland – Scottish Government (2015)). In addition, defining benefits more accurately (both direct and indirect benefits in terms of ecosystem services) often supports decision-making for restoration projects in cities.

Many restoration measures taken (e.g. reopening covered rivers, water quality improvements that enable bathing) have resulted in significant changes in the way citizens and visitors experience the blue elements of cities (rivers and lakes). Waterfront amenities are more and more highly appreciated and urban river and lake restorations can be a good way for improving accessibility to water.

The case studies reviewed in the Annex to this report provide evidence of how restoration of rivers and lakes in European cities can contribute to better quality of life and urban regeneration.

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