Public authorities that seek to transfer the cost of managing green spaces to the private sector face apprehension about the extent of community input in managing of public green spaces in cities. In practice, the governance arrangements for managing public green spaces are neither a purely private or public sector responsibility. They are part of complex and contested governance schemas that involve multiple stakeholder groups with varying interests and responsibilities. This paper proposes a simple framework to support different modes of governance appropriate for the management of public green spaces in cities. The framework classifies stakeholders’ desires for engagement based on ecosystem service characteristics defined on a spectrum of excludability and rivalry. The framework is applied to case studies in Australia and Canada. Finally, we discuss the new insights for governance arrangements for public green space management in cities.