Public-private partnerships key to city innovation (ShutterStock image)

Public-private partnerships key to city innovation

Public-private partnerships can help foster innovation in local government, according to panelists at the Jan. 24 Mobility Talks. The Department of Transportation’s 2016 Smart City Challenge committed up to $40 million to Columbus, Ohio, the winning city, which was complemented by $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. Other cities that entered the challenge were able to leverage $500 million in private and public funding to help them deliver on their Smart City visions.

Such initiatives should be continued under the Trump administration, panelists said.

Cities are struggling with public-private partnerships, according to Dominie Garcia, a senior associate with Booz Allen Hamilton who has worked on smart city initiatives. However, the increasing number of government chief innovation officer positions and smart city initiatives have changed the way cities approach industry, he said.

One way companies can start off on the right foot working with local governments, according to Justin Holmes, the director of corporate communications at Zipcar, is sharing their data, which can help build trust between the private and public sectors.

“If we can have an open and honest dialog with a city about what they’re looking to achieve, we can very often get to a place where we can share data that will help them better evaluate the success of that program,” Holmes said.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

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