Financing smart cities: One way to bring private sector money to public projects

Tue, 2013-06-25 09:07 -- Jesse Berst

The press release below suggests a way around the single biggest obstacle to smart cities -- namely, how to pay for them. P3 Global Management brings private capital to bear, funding projects outright in return for a share of the revenues that result.

bill clinton financing smart citiesThere have been many attempts to allow private ownership of public infrastructure. Very few have succeeded in North America. There is a great reluctance to allow private funds to own core infrastructure. And a great reluctance to allow private companies to profit. Getting this kind of mechanism to work demands that we change the attitudes of policymakers and the public. They must move away from the vague sense that it is somehow "wrong" if someone makes a profit improving public infrastructure.

This firm has enlisted Bill Clinton to help them change those minds. If it succeeds, the whole sector will benefit. Perfecting a better business model will unleash a torrent of projects that are currently stalled as they search for public funding. -- Jesse Berst

P3GM Commits To Smart City Solutions At Clinton Global Initiative

Transforms Media & Technology Infrastructure Investments

NEW YORK, June 21, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- During the Clinton Global Initiative held last week in Chicago, Illinois, a new city-focused economic commitment was announced that will change the landscape of public-private partnerships in America.  Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Co-founder and Chief Development Officer of P3 Global Management (P3GM) and his team work with cities to modernize their urban landscapes to be more technologically connected and enrich experiences for residents, businesses and visitors, driving economic development by attracting jobs, creating new non-tax revenue streams for cities and promoting tourism.

"Traditional infrastructure in the U.S. has failed to keep up with 21st century needs. Financial restrictions have forced many municipalities to focus on providing basic core services, limiting investments in media, technology, and sustainability upgrades—what we call 'smart city' solutions", said Mr. Fernandez de Cordova during his address. During the conference President Bill Clinton remarked that "Over the last 30 years, what we (the U.S.) have lagged behind consistently is getting private sector investment for public infrastructure, even though it can offer a very handsome rate of return."

P3GM brings private sector funds and resources to bear, financing infrastructure improvements with no cost to cities. P3GM is committed to developing transparent partnerships with accountability, financial remuneration, and social benefits to the cities they serve. Mr. Fernandez de Cordova continued, "Our 2013 Clinton Global commitment further commits P3GM to developing smart city public-private partnerships in the U.S. Through these partnerships, we will identify, fund, and execute capital projects that will implement a range of smart city solutions such as networked LED street lighting, increased broadband access, interactive informational kiosks, and public Wi-Fi hotspots."

Founded in 2011, P3GM is committed to enhancing cities through continuous innovation. Investing in municipal infrastructure, P3GM helps increase asset value and generate new revenue streams for cities, counties, transit agencies and commercial projects with tangible community benefits. To learn more about P3GM visit them on the web at


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.