It is generally accepted that the conservation of cultural heritage requires the involvement of multiple players across the public, private and nongovernment sectors, not only to initiate and carry out conservation but also to sustain the place. However, the practical means and mechanisms to achieving this are only recently becoming the subject of literature. The conservation of the historic urban environment poses specific and urgent challenges that require a multidisciplinary approach, where conservation actions are embedded within economic, social and environmental development strategies. The private and third sectors are increasingly playing a pivotal role in these processes.
As part of the Historic Cities and Urban Settlements Initiative, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has recently undertaken a small research project leading to a literature review examining the role and use of public-private partnerships in achieving conservation outcomes. The review drawings together the available literature and provides a bibliography that will provide much needed information and assist in advancing the field through enhanced understanding of the concepts behind public-private partnerships and how they have been used in achieving sustainable conservation outcomes. Public, private and non-profit sectors are already working together in a multitude of ways to secure economically viable outcomes for heritage places, however there is potential to enhance this with improved knowledge of what constitutes successful partnerships and what other factors need to be in place to facilitate their success.