In its report Green Spaces, Better Places, the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce (2000, 2002) identified increasing public awareness of the value and public benefits of urban green spaces, particularly in improving the health and well being of local people and supporting the regeneration of towns and cities. As such, the Taskforce asserted that parks and green spaces foster community pride and social cohesion, by providing opportunities for voluntary and community activities, for the socialisation of vulnerable groups and for building community cohesion, 'by getting people to engage with each other in partnerships and friends groups, and by bringing together communities in shared spaces …' (p. 12). There is certainly some empirical evidence to support this assertion, with Ravenscroft and Markwell (2000) finding that urban green spaces are very well used by ethnic and other minority groups, and that such spaces function well at the local level as shared community places. However, they also found that parks and green spaces can be socially exclusive and divisive, with few people willingly travelling out of their immediate neighbourhoods to visit different or better parks. Since, historically, most of the larger and higher quality parks and green spaces are in the 'better' areas of cities, vulnerable and socially excluded groups can be denied the very access that such spaces seem to offer. This is certainly recognised by the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce, which reported a 'worrying decline' in the quality of 'too many' urban parks and green spaces. In particular, there are increasing problems of poor public image, poor quality, inadequate and badly maintained facilities, perceptions that parks are unsafe, unwelcoming and socially inaccessible (see also Greenhalgh and Worpole, 1995). This is consistent with Massam's (2002) analysis of the potential for promoting quality of life through statutory planning and other interventions. As Massam argues, it is widely assumed that variations in the quality of lives of individuals, groups and societies can be identified and prescriptive measures developed to eradicate them. Yet, in parks planning and management there is little agreement about the construct of people's quality of life, beyond it having an internal (psychological) component triggered by an external (environmental) stimulus. The provision and management of urban parks and green spaces is - largely intuitively - based on providing this trigger. Recent research in the English city of Brighton & Hove, conducted as part of the European Framework V Greenspace research programme, found that in many cases the provision of parks and open space has not made this connection to people's quality of life. Self-complete questionnaire survey results indicate that this is, at least in part, connected with a failure at the planning level to recognise that people value different park attributes in different social and spatial locations. Thus, whereas people tend to value aspects of connectivity at the very local level (using green spaces as a route to work, to school or to the shops) and sociability (community involvement) at the neighbourhood level, they still see a role for parks and green spaces at the city level, as a facility for visitors and as part of the place image of the city. This paper seeks to explore how people understand and attach these different attributes to parks and green spaces - recognising centrally that a single park or green space could serve simultaneously all three (and more) functions to a local resident. From this analysis, the paper will then seek to determine the lessons that can be learnt for the planning and management of urban green spaces, reflecting in particular on the degree to which it is possible to cater simultaneously for a mix of values (for each individual and for communities collectively) in a single space or linked network of spaces.