Whether a project is a city, county, state, or a national one, there can be factors that inhibit that project’s progress. Public programs may experience budget cuts or face bureaucratic red tape due to numerous layers of decision makers. Oftentimes, governments have to focus on other projects. Now, private companies can help as part of public-private partnerships. These partnerships can pursue certain projects. For example, projects could be about revitalizing an area or creating new job opportunities. Additionally, they may involve updating an entire city to meet the demands of a “smart” future .
The Center for Strategic and International Studies has defined public-private partnerships as “an approach to solving development problems through a coordinated and concerted effort between government and nongovernment actors, including companies and civil society, leveraging the resources, expertise, or market efforts to achieve greater impact and sustainability in development outcomes.”
Such partnerships can yield economic development. This includes bringing neglected structures and spaces back to life, promoting tourism and creating jobs. Essentially, it’s anything that positively contributes to an area. In these partnerships, public and private entities join forces. They use shared knowledge, development expertise, and capital. Sometimes, the partnerships are short-lived, lasting only through physical completion of a project. Other partnerships are extended to cover operations or debt repayment.
With the same vision for creating change through a project, the public entity and the private company realize benefits. The community served by the project also wins. Here are two use cases that illustrate the benefits:
Use Case 1: Revitalizing a Landmark
When St. Louis first opened Gateway Arch in 1967, it was cast as a symbol of modern expansion and growth. By the beginning of this decade, however, the Eero Saarinen-designed landmark suffered from corrosion and discoloration. And, the surrounding park had seen better days.
The Arch has long represented St. Louis’s efforts to look forward. Therefore, it’s appropriate that a public-private partnership to revitalize the monument’s grounds would become the cornerstone of the city’s continued advancement. The $380 million project is led by the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, a nonprofit, and Enterprise Holdings, Inc., the car-rental giant. Together, they are working with city officials to redesign the park and make the waterfront area more accessible. By connecting the park to downtown, the partnership hopes to generate more tourism opportunities.
According to Curbed , the effort “involves collaboration between developers, the city, and multiple parks departments, including St. Louis, Missouri, and the National Park Service. Private funding for the endeavor totaled $221 million, the largest-ever private donation to a national park, fitting considering how important the Arch and grounds have become to the city’s image.”
The Gateway Arch Park revitalization project illustrates how a public-private partnership can promote a positive economic outcome. Yet, this partnership is only one of many projects transforming St. Louis. More than $7 billion in development projects are now in the works. These range from new hotels, condos, and the Cortex Innovation Community to a $30 million renovation of Soldiers Memorial and $3.1 million in improvements to stately Forest Park . These public-private partnership-fueled projects seem set to ignite an economic boom.
Use Case 2: Transforming Cities
Another area where public-private partnerships are making themselves felt is the movement to bring cities into the 21st century. Today, many developed urban areas are looking to incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can connect traffic lights, streetlight systems, and video cameras. Yet, city officials may not be sure how to start the process. Also, they may be struggling to see how to transform their areas through the latest technology. Now, with the assistance of disruptive technology companies, they can develop “smart” cities .
For example, Wipro Limited is a leading global information technology company that works with public sector leaders around the world to transform urban areas for the modern age, creating new jobs and stimulating the economic environment in the process. According to Naveen Rajdev , Wipro Limited’s chief marketing officer, a “smart city is one which works to provide its citizens more time to do things which they like. It is not about more sensors, but it is about reducing traffic on the road. It is not about more cameras, but it is about public safety. A city which uses technology to effectively make life better for citizens and help citizens be safe and happy is probably a smart city.”
The company provides urban leaders with the technological knowledge, skill set, and strategic understanding of how to design a smart city from existing infrastructure, including “transportation, utilities, building management, security, and other city assets — using data, analytics and next-generation technology and communication systems.”
Stimulating Economic Growth and Positive Development
But, it’s not just a story of advanced areas becoming even more advanced. Public-private partnerships are also stimulating economic growth in developing areas. In Nigeria, for example, such partnerships are solving the energy poverty problem. This is improving life quality in formerly underserved areas.
Whether they focus on making old things new again or exploring entirely new technological frontiers, public-private partnerships are bringing the economic development juice. Public sector leaders would do well to seek out private sector partners who can help them pour some of it into their area’s cup.
This article was originally published on Due.com.