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Cities 'need public-private collaboration'

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Public-private partnerships will be critical to efforts to adapt cities for the future, according to a World Economic Forum report.

The Inspiring Future Cities and Urban Services study, by not-for-profit body the World Economic Forum and professional services firm PwC, predicts a period of major urban change around the world.

It says that collaborations between goverments and the private sector are needed to make the most of the way cities were changing in response to urbanisation, population growth, technology and climate change.

World Economic Forum urban development lead Alice Charles said: “We are likely to see the biggest industrial shifts in a generation, changing the way we work and live in the urban environment.

“Innovations such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and next-generation robotics will shift models of work and production in ways that are impossible to predict.

“Cities and businesses need to be adaptive. Public-private collaboration will be required to enable cities to navigate the path of this urban transformation.”

The report said administrations will be unable to address the increasing demands, changing demographics and ageing infrastructure of global cities without support from the private sector.

“While city administrations would need to lead such phases as policy-making, planning and monitoring, the private sector may play a significant role in others, including design, implementation, operation, maintenance and financing,” said the report.

“Governments can create an enabling context for the private sector to participate by ensuring a stable regulatory environment and efficient administration, and by creating a reliable dispute resolution mechanism.

“The private sector, on the other hand, can build trust by engaging with the public sector and local communities, and by conducting itself ethically.”

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