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Urban freshwaters, biodiversity, and human health and well‐being: Setting an interdisciplinary research agenda

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The findings of a national workshop that explored the social and environmental impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the role of urban freshwaters for improved public health are discussed. Bringing together the collective expertise of academics, practitioners, policy, and user‐groups from urban aquatic ecology and human health backgrounds, this commentary develops a progressive agenda for future research by synthesizing current understandings and knowledge of urban aquatic biodiversity relative to health‐related ecosystem service outcomes, from a cross‐sectoral and cross‐disciplinary perspective. Key areas include (a) a need for greater interaction between sectors to maximize opportunities for collaboration and to promote the cobenefits (both environmental and health) associated with urban freshwater ecosystems; and (b) the need for a unified understanding and operationalization of the definition of aquatic biodiversity across sectors and disciplines, to improve our understanding of whether actual freshwater biodiversity or the perception of biodiversity is important for maximizing gains in health. Methods of valuation relating to ecosystem services and resource allocation and investment in urban freshwaters are critical in ensuring that research addresses the pathways and contexts within which health and environmental benefits from blue space can be maximized. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Value of Water
Summary of the discussions and outcomes of the urban aquatic biodiversity and human health workshop within a conceptual framework showing the key challenges, outcomes, and future directions relating to an interdisciplinary cross sector working agenda to understand the role of biodiversity for health and well‐being‐related ecosystem services
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