Restoration of degraded lands in urban areas increases the ecologic, aesthetic and economic value of these areas and contributes to quality of life in cities. This study explores public attitudes towards restoration of a derelict urban streamside corridor. Data for this study were collected using a social survey among users and neighbourhood residents of the Çayboyu area in Isparta, Turkey. The survey compared the previous and present situation of the survey site in order to reveal the influence of stream restorations on public perception and use of derelict urban landscapes. The results identified a dramatic change in public perceptions between the previous and present situation of the area. Following the restoration works, the Çayboyu area has become one of the most popular and intensively used green spaces in the city. The survey results suggest that restoration of derelict lands increases the value of such areas for people and enhances their uses for recreational purposes in urban areas. Therefore, it is vital that urban planners and local authorities should encourage restoration of derelict and unused urban areas and preserve them as green spaces to meet the amenity needs of urban people. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.