It is evident that parks and gardens bring important social, environmental and economic benefits to urban ecosystems, and that these contribute to guarantee a better quality of life for urban inhabitants. Also, in addition to its effect on local citizens, the quality of the green areas and their state of conservation also influences tourist activity, affecting the global image of the locality.
The design, construction and maintenance of parks and municipal gardens in Spain currently faces the double challenge of not only updating services to meet new territorial and social realities which in many cases would require an increase in resource allocation, but also achieving this in an economic context of declining municipal budgets.
Municipalities allocate on average 2.7% of their total budget to the maintenance of parks and gardens. This represents a market worth 835 million euros in Spain of which 70% corresponds to public sector contracts. In addition, there are approximately 13,000 workers employed in the provision of gardening services in the public sector in Spain.
Institut Cerdà has prepared a report on public-private collaboration in the conservation of green areas. The provision of these services can be done either directly by the administration, or indirectly, through the hiring of private entities (mechanisms of public-private collaboration) or through a company owned by the public administration and by the private sector. In any case, the current legislation indicates that these services must be carried out in a way that maximizes their sustainability and efficiency.
In these cases, public-private collaboration (which in no case implies the waiver of public ownership) by the municipality allows access to specialization, flexibility, and R&D&i of the private company. This, in turn, translates into higher quality and more efficient parks and gardens service.