Through a national survey of urban local authorities in England, this first chapter in Part Two explores the approaches of English local government to the management of external public space. It is the first of two linked chapters that explore current and developing practice in England from the perspective of what the public sector is actually doing to manage public space. As such, it focuses on what was referred to in Chapter 4 as the state-centred model of public space management, the model that is still dominant throughout the world today. The discussion begins by introducing the local government context within which public space is managed in England and briefly explores evidence for a decline in the quality of public space and the services charged with its management. Next the research methodology is discussed for this and the next chapter. The third and main part of the chapter reports on the outcomes from the national survey itself, whilst a fourth section links the findings to a related study to gauge the opinions of key user groups on the state of public space management in England.