Public-Private Partnership for Successful Urban Development [Part 1]
In part 1 of this article, we tackle the subject of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and how they can play a main role in the success of Urban Development and in building livable and smart cities for the population. In the second part, we will mention the different types of PPPs and the challenges that might hinder their work, and we will suggest some solutions for them.
Cities around the world are constantly developing and improving their services and infrastructure. These include drinking water, sewage systems, transportation, Internet and communication, among many others. These improvements often require constant investments, especially partnerships between the public and private sectors. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a tool that helps improve and develop a city’s infrastructure. They allow large-scale government projects, such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, and housing to be completed with private funding.
Here is how PPPs can help create livable cities and achieve success in Urban Development:
1- Technology and communication: Today, technology and innovation are both the two main features in all societies around the world. Innovation here includes the creation and use of new products, services, and processes that can be of benefit to the economic development, income growth, and competitiveness in the cities. This is where PPPs are beneficial for both the private and public sector, as the private sector is capable of providing funding and new technologies for the public sector to implement and install them in the cities, such as light sensors, different kinds of traffic sensors, air quality sensors for the detection of pollution, and other devices that can help develop the communication infrastructure in the city, which could lead to the city becoming a smart city.
2- Water and sanitation systems: With water becoming an increasingly scarce resource, cities and their local governments are looking for new ways to provide sustainable and clean water sources for their citizens. PPPs can play a major role in this regard, as they can help in increasing efficiency and water availability through water management, or through the development of new water sources and water treatment systems. In this particular sector, improving access to safe and clean water cannot be done without massive investment. This is why PPPs can be a successful tool to achieve equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water around the world, and provide access to adequate and equitable sanitation.
3- Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency aims at eliminating energy waste in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. This includes providing sustainable energy resources that can help build healthier and eco-friendly cities. Governments can collaborate with private sector enterprises and companies to achieve this goal, as the private sector can create innovative and healthy ways to reduce energy usage in buildings. This includes the ability of the private sector to provide more funding and more renewable energy sources for the city, such as wind turbines, cool roofs, green roofs, solar panels, renewable hydropower, and geothermal plants, among others, to help provide all of the heat, electricity, and hot water for the citizens.
4- Public spaces: Public-private partnerships have always played a role in creating, preserving, and managing public spaces and parks. This is where the government enlists the help of private institutions and companies to help build the city’s public parks and green spaces. When done right, the private sector can take on a public space that is not generating enough money for the government and convert it into a productive asset. This can be achieved by creating public spaces that are accessible for people of all capabilities. Successful PPPs can also help create more activities for the citizens, which would later on enhance the connectivity between the citizens and create a sense of place for them.
5- Walkability and urban streets: All cities around the world are aware that to encourage people to walk more, they should make walking interesting, comfortable, and most importantly, safe. To make sure that this goal is achieved, local governments often choose to work with the private sector to create quality sidewalks, streets, parks, and plazas. The private institutions and companies can here create wider sidewalks and walkways for the public and provide attractive sites to encourage the citizens to walk more. These sites can include markets, local businesses, parks, or other touristic sites.
6- Public transportation: Local governments always want to create good and attractive public transit for the people, with the aim of reducing traffic congestion and pollution in public areas, and creating more livable cities. This is why public-private partnerships are considered one of the most effective ways to build and implement new transport infrastructure or to renovate and maintain existing transport infrastructure facilities. One way the private sector entities can help with this issue is by building Bus Rapid Transit systems, which can help people get faster to their destinations and reduce private transport. The public-private partnerships can also lead to the creation of metros, trams, and railways. In fact, PPPs in railways can bring opportunities for investment, efficiency in operation and the use of modern technology, which could also lead to more profit for both local governments and private investors.
7- Playgrounds and schools: Private participation in education has increased a lot in the past years around the world. The private sector can help the government provide some of the services that lead to producing education, such as providing training sessions for teachers and setting and designing the curriculum. On the other hand, public-private partnership could lead to the private sector managing and operating public schools, helping the schools evolve, and providing better education. The partnerships between the public and private sector can also help in creating better playgrounds for the kids and children, which helps boost their imagination and creativity. The playgrounds need to be well-planned, fun, accessible for all, and safe, so that the children can play safely.
Public-private partnerships are an important tool for governments that are seeking to expand, improve, and develop the infrastructure of their cities and to deliver social services for their citizens. PPPs help boost economic growth and create smart cities, and can lead to poverty reduction, more innovation, and increased competitiveness. And while implementing successful PPPs relies on the abilities of individuals to complete their tasks and achieve the cities’ goals, the main goal behind the collaboration between the public and private sector is to find solutions for the infrastructure challenges the cities are facing nowadays.