Under the BCA Open space means a space on an allotment, or a roof or similar part of a building complying with D2.12, open to the sky and connected directly with a public road.

A more general definition is designated land that allows either active, or passive recreational use only. Land, the planning authority wishes to keep in an underdeveloped condition and is often a buffer to or adjacent to built up areas. The urban and non urban open space networks are a key element of a city's character and important to social well being.

A city's level of satisfaction with the level of open space provision they enjoy is shown by their level of usage. A good use is more than 90% of the city's residents visiting a district park at least once, and more than 70% visiting a neighbourhood park.

Local neighbourhood parks have traditionally been located within 400m of each residential dwelling. Individual district parks serve a catchment area of 25 000 to 50 000 people, and town parks are located at town centres serving 50 000 to 100 000 people. Many of these parks and other activity nodes are connected by a well developed pathways that enable safe pedestrian access. There may also be an extensive cycling network.

See public open space