Tag Archives: public-private partnerships

Integrating Sustainability and Economic Development

17 Apr

Promoting environmental sustainability and pursuing economic development strategies have typically been considered two separate and (often) competing goals. But times are changing, and a growing body of evidence supports the notion that sustainability typically delivers more enduring and broad-based economic returns. Cities across the continent are beginning to wed environmental sustainability to economic development, looking at investments in a sustainable economy as one tool to build broad-based prosperity. Continue reading

Transportation Innovations Down South

20 Mar

The sequester has taken some of the wind out of the sails of efforts at federal transportation reform. With funding sources running dry, potentially game-changing transportation improvements are left on the table or scrapped completely. Those that do pass have to contend with continuing hurdles of opposition. What to do when the feds are scaling back? We’ve decided to pack our bags and head to South America: a place where winter comes in June and transportation innovations come year-round. Continue reading

Chicago Infrastructure Trust Embarks on its First Project

14 Dec

“As long as our city rests on a 20th century foundation, we won’t be able to compete in a 21st century economy,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He made that observation when noting that Chicago is suffering from limited resources to help build and maintain its vast infrastructure network of roads, bridges, transit, schools, and other public facilities. As the Mayor announced last spring, the Chicago Infrastructure Trust is aimed at luring private investment to help fund public infrastructure projects. Now, the trust is launching its first project. Continue reading

Pay for Success Bonds

16 Nov

Image from Darby / John-Michael Maas: http://vimeo.com/41784209

Governments are looking at new financing tools to entice private investment to fund social service programs. The financing scheme, in theory, works like this: (1) a social service innovation promises to ameliorate a social ill in a way that reduces costs for government agencies and taxpayers; (2) an investor, wooed by the promise of said program forks over cash to fund the effort; (3) the program promises to deliver results at a minimum quantitative threshold (e.g., reduce chronic homelessness in a neighborhood by 5%); (4) if the program meets the minimum threshold, then investors recoup their initial investment; and (5) if the program exceeds the minimum threshold, then the investor sees a return, based on the overall savings to the government. In a nutshell, that’s how Social Impact Bonds should work. Continue reading

Cluster Science: New Approaches

14 Sep

So what can Los Angeles do to better nurture emerging industry sectors? Entrepreneur and investor Richard Hull offers some solutions that may be applicable. First, he suggests that LA appoint a “performance director” that would be responsible for coordination, communication, and making timely connections to accelerate the startup process. This would connect startups to “local incubators, experienced local entrepreneurs, investors and other local business startup resources.” Continue reading

Harvesting Kinetic Energy

18 Aug

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will soon be harvesting additional energy from its rail system by taking advantage of regenerative braking. The technology, widely used in hybrid vehicles, converts the kinetic energy of the vehicle into electricity that can be used later. Continue reading

How California’s Clean Tech Ecosystem is Coming Together

19 Mar

Image from the Danish Wind Industry Association: http://www.flickr.com/photos/45030669@N02/4136599974/

California is the nation’s undisputed leader in clean-tech investment and innovation. The state attracts about $2.8 billion in clean-tech venture capital, amounting to 57 percent of the $4.9 billion invested nationally. All of this is encouraging news for a nascent sector trying to establish itself in a weak economy. Continue reading