In this paper, a mathematical model was developed to determine the standards of a unit park area per person in a neighbourhood park based on social-cultural and economic conditions of a town or a city in a country. This way, a different dimension was given by the issue of looking at the unit size required in a park having attendants from different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds. The model involves only the small-scaled recreational activities such as sitting-resting in neighbourhood parks. Studies dealing with the factors affecting the use of open green areas where individuals utilize during leisure time were evaluated. The parameters used were determined and checked as to whether they could be used in this study, and based on the results the model was developed for a neighbourhood park. The model was applied in Trabzon as a case study and the unit area required in a neighbourhood park per person was calculated. The optimal size of a neighbourhood park for the city of Trabzon has been found as 1.22-1.52 m(2)/person for the provision of basic facilities and in the case of having all the facilities required for the optimal size of a park it is 3.61-4.08 m(2)/person in the survey. Standards, both basic and best case as identified with this study for city parks in Trabzon, suggest that the current standards for park size in the public improvement regulations are not appropriate. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.