This chapter focuses on the importance of taking a strategic policy approach towards planning green infrastructure in the UK, which is based upon social user needs, rather than upon just a physical land use perspective. The different categories of green infrastructure are summarised and cross-referenced to the types of people likely to use them and the sorts of active and passive recreational activities undertaken. For green spaces to be usable and appropriate to user needs, first it is important to consider how they link to surrounding residential areas, socially in terms of the demographic requirements, and spatially in terms of connecting route ways. Second, the internal layout and design is discussed. Third, the range of facilities and amenities needed to enable visitors to create accessible, comfortable and safe green spaces are considered. Management factors are raised which will ensure that city-wide strategic policy objectives related to equality, diversity and accessibility are fulfilled. The principles of the RTPI Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit are presented for application to green space policy-making. If green spaces are not planned to be welcoming places with the needs of all users in mind they will soon become underused and subject to vandalism, crime and antisocial behaviour, thus reducing the chances of achieving strategic green infrastructure policy contributing towards improved health, education and sustainability. Sociological awareness must be integral to green space policy-making.
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