The Nature of Recreation is a handbook through which the reader/participant can learn to discover what he really wants and needs in the way of recreation. By stressing the concept of performance components as an analytical tool, and with the aid of questions and exercises, the book enables the reader to identify and articulate his recreational needs—and maybe those of his neighbors down the street or across town, depending on the scope of his social imagination. Originally created to accompany and supplement the exhibitions on Frederick Law Olmsted mounted by the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, this book goes beyond the scope off traditional museum catalogues and so extends the scope of the genre. In this respect, the book is designed and planned to lead a full life independent of an exhibition. And should the reader come away from it determined to voice his newly acquired analytical skills and constructive demands as a participating citizen, it will be to the benefit of us all and truly in the spirit of Olmsted.