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Urban parks: do you know what you're getting for your money?

Explores whether more funding guarantees better quality parks and urban green spaces.

For decades, parks were deprived of investment. Their quality declined. Now, more resources are being ploughed back into parks and urban green spaces. And quality seems to be improving.

But is it really that simple? Does more money guarantee better parks? Does 10 per cent more funding lead to 10 per cent better quality?

Urban parks: do you know what you're getting for your money? started a discussion with local authorities and others on how resources for parks and green spaces are spent and how this relates to quality and value for money:

Paying for parks: eight models for funding urban green space followed on by considering the main ways of funding the management and maintenance of urban green space.

Conclusions

  1. the importance of assessing the existing quality of parks and green spaces, and to set clear and measurable aspirations for future quality
  2. the difference between cutting budgets and making efficiency gains is not always appreciated
  3. increases in national funding do not necessarily lead to more resources at a local level
  4. the level of local importance does not always carry through the decision-making hierarchy, with parks and urban green spaces slipping down the agenda as financial decision-making moves onto a higher and more strategic level
  5. the importance of a corporate strategy and a strategic approach as an expression of political commitment
  6. some local authorities are gathering useful data and managing strategically
  7. strategic planning is essential for the effective use of resources.