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Danielle Sinnett, Katie Williams, Morag Lindsay and Carol Dair

Good quality public open space (POS) is now an essential component of neighbourhood planning and design. The impact of the quality, design and maintenance of POS on their use has been documented. However, the role that the surrounding neighbourhood might play in encouraging the use of POS has received little attention. This research uses data from 13 relatively new ‘sustainable’ developments (that is, developments with more sustainable features than the norm) in the UK to determine the impact of the design and quality of the neighbourhoods on their residents’ use of POS. Logistic regression was used to analyse data from a survey of the physical characteristics of the neighbourhoods along with responses to a household questionnaire. Results suggested that those living in well-integrated, dense neighbourhoods with a number of uses were more likely to use POS than those living in neighbourhoods without these features. Residents with greater access to play facilities and parks, and those in neighbourhoods with attractive features, or where the development is in keeping with local character were also more likely to visit POS. The study illustrates the importance of a number of elements of urban form and neighbourhood quality in influencing the use of POS.